Vote for economic prosperity

Clemence Machadu 
An ideal leader for a country such as ours must guarantee the country’s democracy and freedom which was restored to Zimbabweans after many gallant sons and daughters had struggled for years with others ultimately paying for it with their blood.

Howdy folks!

The election season is upon us and it is that time of the half-decade when Zimbabweans get to give fresh mandates to leaders of their choice.

And certainly, all eyes will be glued on the country to see how we are going to pull it through.

Folks, an electoral system based on universal suffrage; free, fair and regular elections; as well as equality of votes are some of the essential principles of good governance which bind the State and all institutions or agencies of the Government of Zimbabwe.

A reading of Section 67 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe shows that every citizen has the right to free, fair and regular elections for any elective public office and to make political choices freely.

But for one to enjoy this right, they have to be registered to vote. Did you register to vote folks, or you want others to choose the leaders on your behalf?

But maybe the words of Plato might give the matter a better dimension.

The Greek philosopher is on record saying, “One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

You see, participating in the elections by voting therefore gives you the power to decide how Zimbabwe should be run.

If you have concerns about the way you want Zimbabwe to be governed, voting gives you the opportunity to make a contribution towards realising that goal.

You cannot afford to be on the side-lines.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has made reasonable progress towards ensuring that the elections are a resounding success and has already stated that polls should be conducted between 21 July and 21 August, with results expected within five days as provided for in the Electoral Act.

It is also interesting to note that over 5,3 million people have so far registered, although registration is still ongoing.

This number has already surpassed the 3,4 million registered voters we had in the 2013 elections.

This obviously shows that citizens of this great nation are increasingly developing interest in participating in processes to shape their future.

But nearly two million people who are eligible to vote are yet to come out and register, given that Zimbabwe has a projected voter population of at least 7,2 million.

However since voter registration is not compulsory under the country’s law, we might not get to that number.

It also appears that he or she who wins the hearts of women in this watershed election will automatically become president.

Women constitute 54.5 percent of the electorate with the remaining 45,5 percent being males. What this hypothetically means is that if all women were to vote for a particular candidate, he or she will win the top job of becoming the most powerful person in Zimbabwe.

On the other hand, if all men were to vote for a particular candidate, he or she will unfortunately lose the election, having failed to attain the 50 percent plus one vote.

Winning the hearts of women is therefore crucial in this election.

Other interesting dynamics in this election are that those aged between 18 and 34 constitute 43,5 percent of the voter population.

These are basically the youth as defined by the constitution, which says people between the ages of 15 and 35 are youths.

However those under 18 cannot be included as they are not eligible voters.

In my view, this age group could be bigger but many of them are probably part of the 1 913 395 eligible voters who have not yet registered to vote.

Some young people who are eligible to vote might be in school and with no proper information on the process.

According to Zec, the 35-59 age group constitutes 42,9 percent of the electorate with the remaining 13,6 percent composed of those aged 60 years and above.

Folks, the most critical question in an election is who to vote for and why.

This is a very important decision that requires time to make.

You really cannot decide on it the minute you step into the voting booth. You should give yourself time to review the candidates, their political parties and manifestos, and it is a process that starts now.

Folks, in choosing a presidential candidate one has to consider whether the person has good leadership qualities to enable them to lead the country towards political and socio-economic development.

It is also important to consider the policies of that candidate’s party in key sectors of the economy such as agriculture, mining and industry as well as their plans for the economy at large.

Folks, you don’t vote for someone just because they are young or old.

Some might be young on the outside, but behave like 94-year-olds. Some might be old but have young spirits. So age on its own is really nothing but a number. What is really important is someone’s capacity and ability to deliver effectively.

Folks, you should be able to justify your vote.

For instance, will your preferred candidate be able to provide hospitals, clinics, schools and other infrastructure to enhance the living conditions of Zimbabweans?

Zimbabweans need a presidential candidate who will ensure the creation of more jobs for the youth as well to enable them to contribute meaningfully to national development.

Also ask yourself whether the political party of that candidate has the capacity to accelerate the country’s socio-economic development.

However, if it a party that is always bickering, marred with infighting and gross confusion, what gives you zvivindi zvekuvavhotera?

Can they be trusted to run the whole country, if they fail to run their parties or respect their own rules they have set for themselves?

Will they be able to respect the rules set by the entire people of Zimbabwe as a collective?

Folks, it is important to vote for parties that fully realise and are consciously alive to the important fact that the agenda of the people of Zimbabwe is far much bigger than their personal or parties’ agendas.

Voters should be scared of people who choose resort to violence all the time, whether they are at funerals or having their own meetings.

An ideal leader for a country such as ours must guarantee the country’s democracy and freedom which was restored to Zimbabweans after many gallant sons and daughters had struggled for years with others ultimately paying for it with their blood.

Someone who has been tried and tested and has the ability to take Zimbabwe to the next level.

But at the end of the day, your vote is your right.

Vote for what you think is the best for you and for someone you really believe in.

If it happens that you do not really support anyone on the ballot, at least vote for someone you think might a difference.

At the end of the day all we want is progress.

What is therefore important to keep at the back of the mind is that misplaced votes can deter the wheels of development, and result in worsening socioeconomic ills.

Therefore don’t make the grave mistake of having a clueless person placed into Government. Choose someone who is able to deal with the economic, social and political problems and move the country in the right direction.

My steeds await, let me ride back to the country.

Later folks!

 

Clemence Machadu is an economist, researcher and consultant. He writes for The Sunday Mail in his personal capacity

 

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