As Zimbabwean leaders Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai argue about the date on which to hold harmonised elections, Zimbabweans must use the time to take a very close look at aspiring candidates and weed out chancers and charlatans.
This time around, Zimbabweans are obligated to elect meaningful representatives who are dedicated to their constituencies.
The MDC ought to be commended for holding their ongoing primary elections and confirmation exercise peacefully.
What amuses me the most is the growing list of non-performers who failed to get outright endorsements to contest in the primaries. But it was a good start at making our elected leaders accountable to their constituencies.
I am also very impressed by the fact that the MDC is trying to stamp out vote buying, knowing as we do that some of these people have a lot of money that they would not hesitate to splash around to buy a few votes to put them into parliament.
But this is just a start; we need to do more.
The people of every constituency must watch their aspiring representative thoroughly. We are honestly tired of calling morons “the Honourable MP” when they are all but honourable.
For years, Zimbabweans have been patient and have given their support to various trialists and political upstarts: all in the hope of taking control of the direction in which our country is moving.
But alas, for years, in spite of the fact that the nation has always produced notable sons and daughters, they all end up being disappointments, charlatans who quickly forget the grandmothers and uncles who sent them to school and the rank and file who sent them to represent them in Parliament.
Our brilliant sons and daughters are literally being bought for a song!
My advice to Mr Tsvangirai is to stand firm and mean what he says. He should, by all means, avoid favouritism that will render his efforts at running his party democratically while electing candidates of people’s choice a charade.
It is a dicey exercise and Mr Tsvangirai must not be intimidated.
Tsvangirai told over 1,000 candidates vying for the 210 parliamentary seats in Harare that the party will not tolerate any incidents of using cash to buy votes in the election.
“Anyone found in breach of the offences will be dismissed on the spot,” he declared while urging the candidates to strive to have their names associated with good deeds and not entice people to vote for them based on their financial strength.
Under ZANU-PF, we have suffered as we saw money change our representatives into bootlicking morons who never give a hoot about the constituencies they represent.
When our elected parliamentarian goes to parliament to call Mugabe the son of God; when our elected official insults his own parents by wishing he was Mugabe’s son; when a cabinet minister writes to Mugabe and signs himself as “your ever obedient son”, and when an elected lawmaker bursts into tears after being given a gift of a portrait of Mugabe, then we know we have made wrong choices.
Such trash must be thrown out of parliament.
But we do not need to wait for that. We must now scrutinize all of our aspiring candidates in all parties at the very start. We must compare them against each other and, that way, we will get parliamentarians who do not necessarily put their party above the constituency but listen to the people and take the people’s message to parliament.
We should never again regret choosing a leader like we are doing now with Mugabe.
So, Zimbabweans must start at the beginning. Let us be discriminating when we choose and vote for that councillor. Let us be brutal as we investigate that person who wants to be our Member Of Parliament.
People in all the constituencies have the responsibility to elect people of substance, regardless of their party affiliation. They should not be rushed or swayed by a political party’s campaign rhetoric but must study each candidate carefully and make up their own minds based on what information they get about the candidate.
I do not care about the political affiliation of my MP; I want an MP who will remain part of the constituency and who will stand by the people because the people own the political parties not the other way round.
I applaud Tsvangirai’s statement to his aspiring candidates and urge him to show us that he means business. It should not just be lip service; it must be crowned with action because it is something of benefit not only to his party but to the nation as a whole.
I applaud the people in whose constituencies some sitting MPs were reminded of their below par performances. All MPs must always remember that the day will come when they have to stand before the people to renew their mandate and Zimbabweans certainly are not going to slip on the same banana twice.
It is my hope that this peaceful and democratic exercise spreads across all constituencies and across all political parties in Zimbabwe.
And kudos to the MDC that they managed to do this in a peaceful manner. Our politicians must realise that in politics, there are no enemies but just opponents. We need tolerance and honesty to give our beautiful country the best of what it deserves.
Zimbabwe deserves the best representatives from among its citizens from whatever political party. As long as we have honest, descent officials who put the nation first before political affiliation, we will be fine.
I dare be hopeful because, to be honest, we no longer have much other choice.
Good luck, Zimbabwe.