THE 2013 presidential election will present Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) with possibly his best chance to become President of Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai’s only obstacle at the coming presidential election is President Robert Mugabe, leader of Zanu PF, who poses the greatest challenge to his presidential ambitions.
Losing to Mugabe during the crunch 2013 presidential vote will have Tsvangirai waiting another five years before he can get another shot at the presidency.
Five years can be a long time in politics, and the political dynamics within political parties usually change and one wonders if Tsvangirai could still possess the same political power, presence and clout he has now.
For Tsvangirai, thus the 2013 presidential election presents a do-or-die affair.
Tsvangirai probably knows it will be political suicide not to finish off Mugabe now.
The PM should not under estimate the power, charisma and tactical attributes that moulds Mugabe’s 33-year legacy as Zimbabwe’s president, and the funding that usually engross his election campaigns. What with unaccounted for diamond money?
The 2013 presidential election, while with some 28 political parties already protruding, would actually be a contest between Tsvangirai and Mugabe.
The other leaders, save for Welshman Ncube, Simba Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa, will not pick much during the presidential elections.
Presidential elections are just weeks away, hence the PM has to pick up his game.
This is not DStv’s Big Brother reality show, but political reality and Tsvangirai should come out in the open and make a stand on whether he is standing in the coming race or not.
It will be to the PM’s disservice to behave like a chameleon, drifting back and forth on whether he would contest or boycott the poll.
This is confusing the precious voter who is frantically trying to register so as to vote for him.
Instead, the PM should take his campaign a gear up. We haven’t seen much of his campaign glitters.
Remember the days of the red cards and red whistles?
That was a powerful campaign which introduced a brand, the MDC.
The whistles and red cards ambushed Zanu PF and people got arrested for possessing those small gadgets.
Mugabe is already on the overdrive, and using ZBC, especially ZTV as his campaign pad.
It is no secret that Zimbabweans, regardless of political affiliations watch ZTV news bulletins as it broadcasts current local news.
Mugabe’s brand is also being sold through radio stations which are all favourable to the liberation fighter.
From the broadcaster’s content, Tsvangirai should know that the ZBC and its radio stations have endorsed Mugabe as their preferred horse and they are running with it.
There is no space for him.
But for a clever politician living in a world that has gone cyber, Tsvangirai can take his campaign to unimagined heights using several marketing leverages from ambush to paid campaign adverts.
At the moment Tsvangirai should be worried about his brand; how it should be presented to the people; its packaging and all the sounds that will accompany his star rallies.
Is there a presidential campaign team in place? Is Tsvangirai rehearsing for his star rallies? Are there any rallying party campaign songs that supporters can sing?
What of the paid billboards dotted around the city, the outdoor television adverts — we do not see Tsvangirai in any of these?
There is need for another red whistles and red cards ambush, indeed an upstage. A campaign that is dynamic, captivating, intelligent and creative. We haven’t seen it yet nor is it coming?
Why on earth would prophets and pastors launch their own television stations while the MDC cannot?
A television station owned by the MDC could have been operational by now. We have Angel operating his, and there are several mediums to broadcast. This is a cyber-world!
Remember Mugabe’s 2008 presidential campaign? His campaign posters painted every available space in town with glossy expensive posters.
Although the sight of every wall having his poster looked ugly — it sold a brand.
There was presence and everywhere you went you met that campaign poster. You met Mugabe.
Those posters — forget about who paid for them — caught many people and even the MDC by surprise.
Mugabe has the advantage of using helicopters to cover rallies in distant towns while Tsvangirai will have to use the roads. Mugabe will have the police covering his star rallies in numbers and starve Tsvangirai.
Mugabe may have something up in his sleeves this year.
Remember his image has already been computer doctored into campaign music videos dominating ZTV and his voice used and mixed in recording of songs praising him.
One thing that Zanu PF officials have mastered is praising and selling Mugabe.
While at times comments towards Mugabe are too flattering, these guys are doing their best to market their brand — Mugabe.
Webster Shamu, Simon Khaya Moyo and even Joice Mujuru have gone a step further as they usually turn up at star rallies and crucial meetings wearing party regalia — be they designer shirts. They are proud to carry Mugabe’s image and market him wider. And the Gushungo label will for sure be introducing new anu PF designer clothes, all meant for the presidential election.
It is time that MDC officials, after the legislators’ vote, put their heads together and rally behind one “good horse”.
They should not be ashamed to campaign for him.
Why are MDC top officials not too keen to be seen carrying their president’s image during presidential campaigns?
MDC officials should know that they are all rallying behind Tsvangirai…this is just like a goods train and the PM is the engine, all these guys are the wagons. It is Tsvangirai who is pulling all these officials and he needs their support.
But all is not lost for Tsvangirai’s ambitions to be President of Zimbabwe. After all, the late great reggae star Bob Marley sang: Time will tell.
Now or never
…Tsvangirai enters home stretch