Last week, one of the choices presented to the masses was Dr Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru of the National People’s Party.
The electorate no longer ululates at every utterance made by politicians, no longer drools over every slogan.
It is no longer hypnotised by every photoshopped campaign poster.
Zimbabwe’s voters increasingly question the legitimacy of every promise that politicians make, and this is in part due to a shrinking information deficit occasioned by the proliferation of social media.
For all political players, lack of access to the media is a myth. No party can this time around claim they were beaten at the polls because they could not disseminate their messages to the electorate.
Apart from local mainstream media, political actors have access to international media and social media.
It is only a matter of picking the preferred medium and for the political players to claim their space on the right platform by sending the right messages.
The national public broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, has been on a whirlwind tour interviewing several aspiring presidential candidates.
Some of them sound very sophisticated and intelligent, some, not so much. Last week, one of the choices presented to the masses was Dr Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru of the National People’s Party.
The national broadcaster’s Roderick Mashingaidze reminded the nation that there was someone called Joice Mujuru, and the latter expressed her gratitude that ZBC had come to her after seemingly being “banished from even seeing my shadow”.
You could tell that she was very happy to have the ZBC crew at her home, to get the opportunity to present her party’s position on national television.
With viewers from across the country and beyond watching, this is how she used the prime slot she was given when asked about her stint in Government:
“You guys really surprise me. Why do you want to focus on the past? I have been talking to the media about this. When l was the Vice-President of this country, l didn’t have any executive powers. You know the one who is in charge calls the shots.”
Fair enough. Blame it all on former President Mr Robert Mugabe. Maybe he will get the chance to redeem himself when it is National Patriotic Front’s turn to go on ZBC.
But we must ask Mujuru this: why should the people of Zimbabwe vote for you? You say you had absolutely no executive powers for ten years and yet you neither quit the job nor tried to change the status quo.
You were happy to stay on the payroll, weren’t you?
She tried to justify herself: “I had programmes that identified with me. I did programmes with the grassroots.”
“Do you know why the 2013 elections were so free and uhmmm, clean? It was because l was the kingpin…”
So, Dr Mujuru the Vice-President had no executive powers but she was still able to ensure that the 2013 elections were violence-free and credible?
Anyway, she continued:
“This nation needs a mother to heal. You need a mother to heal.” A stereotype was thrown in for good measure. “Even when you get sick, you need a nurse.”
That statement says a lot about Mujuru. Are nurses female? What’s with the stereotypes? And from a fellow woman too!
We have been down this road before so many times. While women empowerment is one of the noblest ideas ever implemented by the human race, it should not be thrown into every conversation to put women at an unnecessary advantage because what it actually does is place them at a disadvantage.
It creates the impression that women want positions of leadership because they hold one “qualification” — that they are women.
It is absurd.
The nation does not need a “mother” or a “nurse” to heal it. It needs wise and strong leadership, whether from a man or a woman.
Zimbabwe needs someone who can produce results by working hard and being accountable to the people.
Anyway, Mashingaidze did his part. We don’t know what part Mujuru did.
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