The Sunday Mail
Finally, Zanu-PF’s election campaign machinery has been set in motion. This comes a fortnight after the party’s manifesto was unveiled.
The manifesto, themed “Unite, Fight Corruption, Develop, Re-engage and Create jobs”, is guiding the ruling party accordingly.
It is that theme that has set the tone for the party’s rallies and its election message as witnessed yesterday at two star rallies held in Manicaland at Sakubva Stadium and Murambinda Growth Point.
The Zanu-PF message is not complicated, that is why it resonates with the ordinary person on the ground, the one who is struggling to withdraw his or her money from the bank after a long day of manoeuvring in pot-holed roads.
The electorate needs food; they need jobs, medication and a good transport system.
Government is therefore seized with all this.
However, what is most interesting is that there has been a shift in the way Zanu-PF is preparing for the forthcoming elections, both in terms of strategy and the message.
The ruling party has gone through various phases, some that threatened to devour it.
Ultimately, all the phases managed to cleanse and solidify the well-oiled machine that stands today, with politically mature members having emerged after finding each other.
The season of ordinary politics where politicians had earned themselves the unenviable reputation of making unrealistic promises and then breaking them is over.
It is now a season of peace and tolerance.
A season of action and delivery.
Indeed, Zanu-PF is selling practical realities and immediate realities, not dreams and hopes as one Tendai Biti once grudgingly admitted.
This particular campaign is anchored on a reformist agenda, building on the fact that Zimbabwe is open for business.
This advancement of political ethos has seen the President consistently discouraging violence, hate speech and the use of anti-people slogans.
We have therefore witnessed an absence of hate language on the inter-party political landscape.
While political parties differ in ideologies, Zimbabwe unites us all.
As the general elections draw nearer, the whole nation is in agreement that free and fair elections are required to charm international investors and cement the upcoming economic boom.
President Mnangagwa has therefore pledged that the upcoming plebiscite is going to be free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful.
It is not mere rhetoric; concrete measures are being put in place to guarantee this.
The Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise, which is expected to plug any loopholes in the electoral process, has been a huge success, with potential voters in excess of 5 million having registered to vote.
The electoral body, the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), has since availed the provisional voter’s roll for inspection.
ZEC has been continuously engaging political parties all the way.
Observer missions from Sadc and the European Union have already been in the country for pre-election assessments with more international observer teams expected soon on the same mission.
This is the first time in 16 years for the EU to be involved in Zimbabwe’s electoral processes.
They are not going to be disappointed. ZEC has also revealed that there are close to 120 political parties that have registered to contest the 2018 elections.
This shows that the political field has indeed been opened up.
Even more interesting is the fact that the MDC-Alliance has mainly been campaigning in rural areas ahead of the polls.
The opposition camp has already been to several Zanu-PF rural strongholds on countless occasions, yet not a single case of political violence has been recorded.
As Zimbabwe marches to the Promised Land, all peace-loving Zimbabweans deserve to be applauded.