HARARE – In two weeks’ time, the people of Zimbabwe take to polling stations, where they intend to entrust leaders with their vote to serve for the next five years.
Two political parties MDC and Zanu PF are at the epicentre of the battle. One is a “tried party” that has been in government for the past 33 years, while the other has been struggling to take over reigns for the past 13 years.
The parties’ released manifestos contain interesting and exciting policy proposals and it is the people who will choose which of the two parties get their votes.
But as Zimbabweans focus on the election, uncertainty shrouds the country’s future after election results are announced.
For the past 33 years, Zimbabweans have known one president, Robert Mugabe who has been propelled by Zanu PF at most times through violent conduct and voter rigging.
As of now, MDC and Zanu PF are ready for battle and campaigns on the ground are swelling and showing pointers to a do-or-die political contest.
Leading the two main political parties in the campaign are Mugabe, 89 and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a 61-year-old former trade unionist.
But, who will the people trust with their vote?
For the past five years the parties have been in an “unholy” union, filled with drama, power struggles and drawbacks following a 2008 bloody and disputed election.
But, as the election fever reaches its pitch level, both parties are confident of taking over the reins.
In recent years, Zanu PF officials have been on record saying the country cannot be taken through the pen — suggestively referring to the ballot box.
The security forces, through their commanders, have been dodgy on whether they would support Tsvangirai if he wins the presidential race.
They say the PM is not a liberation war cadre; hence he could not be saluted.
It is against this background that many Zimbabweans are uncertain of what the future holds for them — if the coin lands on the other side.
While Mugabe is a witty old charmer, age and past blunders weigh heavily against his political career.
There is another thought to Mugabe’s intention to give up the presidency as he has previously indicated that he will relinquish power in the event Tsvangirai wins the forthcoming elections.
But, some have doubted his sincerity, following his ?security sector reform denial.
If Mugabe’s party is to be voted back into power, its political hegemony will be extended with a further five years, clocking 38 years in power.
The party’s leader Mugabe would be 94.
Mugabe gets into the campaign oozing with confidence based on his liberation war credentials, the land reform and recently his indigenisation programme.
Tsvangirai on the other hand is preaching political change and a revitalisation of the ailing economy to create more jobs and the opening of closed factories.
As people go for polls on July 31, images and shadows of this past experience clouds their conscience, yet they are uncertain of what change would bring.