Monday, July 30, 2018

2018 elections: The lies, promises and the drama

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ZANU PF party supporters gathered and waited for long before their leaders arrived to address them in Marondera Central recently.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
With the DJ now being the centre of attraction playing the famous and highly-politicised track Kutonga Kwaro by Jah Prayzah, a Ford Ranger Double Cab arrived, sending the crowd into delirium.
The rally began, and a top official stood up and made a speech.
“After Grace Mugabe got involved in politics, the disbursement of CDFs (Constituency Development Fund) became problematic. Grace used the money to construct her private schools. The fees at the schools are exorbitant such that if we all contribute money we will not even pay for a child,” the top revolutionary party official said, attracting a loud applause.
The July 30 watershed election has left politicians highly charged resulting in the electorate being consumers of falsehoods and promises.
As the clock ticked towards today, a moment that will see Zimbabwe casting their votes, political rallies had become a haven of big pledges and promises all meant to lure voters.
Last month, Zanu PF politburo member and Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri told a gathering at Nhakiwa in Uzumba that he had pledged his retirement package to the people of Rushinga if they garnered more votes than Uzumba.
Uzumba is traditionally known as a Zanu PF stronghold.
“Uzumba is known for its massive voting numbers, but this time, it will be Rushinga. I told them that I have set aside my pension money so that I can buy 30 cattle to be distributed across the province if they get more voters than this area,” he said.
MDC Alliance and Zanu PF have been battling to convince their followers that their parties do have support from the Western countries.
Upon launching his campaign, Chamisa told his followers of his dream of a modern Zimbabwe with spaghetti roads and bullet trains.

However, the utterances have been used by Zanu PF leadership in de-campaigning the 40-year-old opposition leader, describing him as a dreamer.
Chamisa has also been blasting Mnangagwa’s popular mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business”, saying the statement is vague and a threat to the natural resources of the country.
“You heard my brother, Mnangagwa, say Zimbabwe is open for business. I said my brother, do not use unnecessary English statements. You will sell this country in broad daylight. You cannot open business to everyone. You attract enemies,” Chamisa told a rally at Mahusekwa growth point in June.
With Zimbabwe experiencing an ailing economy that has spawned widespread unemployment, politicians have been selling their strategies to resuscitate the comatose economy.
Mnangagwa has claimed that over $20 billion has been injected into the economy through foreign direct investments.
Zimbabwe Partnership for Prosperity president Blessing Kasiyamhuru has promised to build a $150 billion economy within the first five years if he wins the election, while MDC Alliance partner Tendai Biti said Zimbabwe would become a $100 billion economy voted into power.
“We are going to deal with the rail system. You heard the president (Chamisa) talking of bullet trains. We were in London recently, underground London. This is what other countries are doing. But Zanu PF has promised us some railway that links Harare and Chitungwiza for 40 years, but nothing has come to fruition … We want to grow our economy, to a $100 billion dollar economy,” Biti said in Mahusekwa.
However, this election has not fallen short of hate speech, especially between Zanu PF and MDC Alliance.
Speaking to journalists during the Centre for Investigative Journalism in Zimbabwe workshop in Harare recently, Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko said despite a peaceful atmosphere during this campaign, major political parties were still using slogans laden with hate speech.
“The slogans have elements of hate speech. Zanu PF still says ‘Down with someone’, the MDC is still saying ‘Rovera pasi’. At one point, President Mnangagwa likened MDC supporters to puppies. That is hate speech,” she said.
While addressing supporters in Mutoko, Mnangagwa described opposition supporters as “puppies” and urged his supporters to “feed them with sadza to silence them”.
This election has not fallen short of drama, with MDC Alliance women across the country fasting every Friday as they prayed for Chamisa’s victory.
A few months ago, National Patriotic Front candidate Masango Matambanadzo addressed a rally in Kwekwe while on the shoulders of his bodyguard.
The social media platforms have been hilarious with clashes between the MDC’s “Nerorists” and Zanu PF’s “Varakashi” squaring off as they defend their parties.
However, the country recorded a historical shocking incident in which Mnangagwa and other top officials escaped death following a blast during a rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo in June.
Two people died, while 47 others, including Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, were left injured.
On the other hand, Chamisa was lucky to be unhurt after the stage fell while addressing his supporters in Hwange.
Today, the electorate will go to the polling booths to cast their ballots, and results there after will only speak which promise, lie or truth they listened to and decided to follow.