Choice between past and future


DURBAN – The July 31, 2013 harmonised elections offer Zimbabweans two choices, of either remaining in the past or moving towards the future.

It is a choice whether to keep on staying in bondage or moving to freedom and development.

The Israelites had the choice between Egypt (the land of slavery) and Canaan (the Promised Land).

The Israelites needed Moses to escape from Pharaoh, and the question is who can be our Moses as we attempt to cross the Red Sea before us on July 31?

The nature of these elections is not just about representation, but a break from our suffering past choreographed by acts of hyper-inflation, grotesque violence, bread and fuel queues, erosion of pensions and life savings, corruption and self enrichment by public officials and a journey towards the future where a new beginning made distinct by progress and development, access to food, a well a well-resourced education, good public transport infrastructure and where a  violence-free society beckons.

It is a choice between evil and good. 

Since the 2000s, Zimbabwe has been a state of transition to democracy and July 31, presents the last mile towards fulfilment of this transition to democracy.

In this whole matrix of the harmonised elections it is the presidential election that matters most.

This is so given that the new constitution still retained the Executive Presidency though with minimal trimming of power.

In other words Zimbabwe is a presidential republican state and not a parliamentary democracy.

This means for a successful capture of state power, there is need for a pro-democracy movement to capture the presidential vote to make sure that there will be a transition to democracy.

The pro-democracy movement is characterised by the two MDC formations, MavamboKusileDawn (MKD), Zanu Ndonga, Zapu and other political formations outside Zanu PF, except for a few political parties funded by Zanu PF just to create confusion within the pro-democracy movement.

There is need to have a closer analysis at the available political formations outside Zanu PF and their realistic chances of handing it an electoral defeat.

Within the pro-democracy movement it is the two MDCs, Zanu Ndonga, Zapu and MKD that can be taken seriously as these have had a credible electoral history.

They have managed to prove through an election that they have a social base that can be built upon to advance the cause of democracy and development in Zimbabwe.

It is for this reason that a grand coalition was necessary in this election.

However, the case for the coalition failed as the leadership within these political formations failed to unite.

Thus there is the MDC-T, MKD and Zanu Ndonga coalition and the MDC-Zapu alliance on the other side.

The failure by the leadership of the pro-democracy movements to unite means that the voter is the final arbiter.

The voter has to make an informed choice and move with the coalition that is most likely to defeat Zanu PF.

It is time for voters to choose between the MDC-Zapu coalition and the MDC-T, MKD and Zanu Ndonga coalition.

In this election numbers matters most.

It is that party, which will mobilise a high number of voters to vote for it that, will manage to capture state power and effect a democratic transition.

•To be continued next week.

Chirimambowa is a political economist based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.

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