The Sunday Mail
After months of politicking, the 2018 harmonised elections have been held.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has won the Presidential vote and Zanu-PF has won a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
These were probably the most keenly followed elections by Zimbabweans at home and abroad and the international community since 1980.
This is because Zimbabweans across the political landscape are tired of the counter-productive and divisive type of politics that we have experienced as a country for close to two decades.
I think that we can all agree that the pre-election environment was the best that we have experienced as a country.
Prior to the elections, people could freely communicate their political views and openly debate the direction the country should take.
This was unprecedented, because previous elections were largely characterised by fear and sometimes violence.
However, this time round, we all followed the rallies of the dozens of contesting parties and we all listened to what the various political leaders had to offer at national, parliamentary and ward levels.
I must mention here that MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa put up a good fight.
Given the untimely death of his predecessor Dr Morgan Tsvangirai, and the scarcity of campaign resources on the part of the MDC-Alliance, Chamisa had the unenviable task of leading a shaky coalition and uniting a divided party in a do-or-die election.
Given the circumstances, he was probably the best man for that job, and he did the best job that he could. Although, I have publicly critiqued Chamisa’s political decisions before, I can say that his performance in the 2018 election will go down in history as one of the country’s closest contests.
Nevertheless, having said that, it is also indisputable that the efforts of Nelson Chamisa and the MDC-Alliance were inadequate to outmanoeuvre the well-resourced and well-structured Zanu-PF machine.
Furthermore, the Zanu-PF “dandemutande” campaign strategy is one that delegates authority from the party President and Central Committee members, right down to the branch and cell levels of the party.
In essence, Zanu-PF effectively conscientised its own members to vote for the party en masse.
Perhaps where Zanu-PF could have performed better is in the area of mobilising youthful “new” voters.
What the 2018 Presidential election result shows is that traditional Zanu-PF members voted for Zanu-PF en masse, but youthful “new” voters voted for the opposition.
This is particularly true in the Harare and Bulawayo metropolitan provinces.
Those are the areas where Nelson Chamisa’s message hit home, and, consequently, those are the areas where Zanu-PF has to work the hardest going forward.
Nevertheless, now that our elections have come and gone, I think we should take time as Zimbabweans to reflect and reunite under the realisation that we are all Zimbabweans despite race, region or political creed.
That is what is most important, and that is what should take us forward.
We do not what violence, we want peace. We do not want divisions, we want unity.
In this light, it is important for our leaders across the political divide to continue calling for peace.
Now that the elections are over, let’s all unite under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF and work to move the country forward.
To that end, the famous Nelson Mandela quotation from his book “Long Walk to Freedom” comes to mind: “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”