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Zimbabwe 2018: Why vote?

It is very uncommon to talk about politics without reflecting in some way on the essence of the role of elections. The beauty of politics is engraved in elections, campaigns and voting. The election period is a moment when many things happen, and many promises empty & sincere promises come to table. One cannot help but wonder about and question the need to cast a vote.

It is Zimbabwe's first ever elections since the military takeover, and perhaps 'handover', in November 2017. The biggest question on every street is what exactly do we need to know before we vote? In less than a week's time Zimbabwe is going to have its most significant elections since the 1980 Independence elections.

Voting is the instrument and symbol of a free person’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country. The whole discourse of elections is engraved in directing rationally the irrationalities of men and women, the correction of imbalances, the representation of the masses and the building of bridges for the current and future generations to come. To the eligible youth, what is the true definition and conceptual understanding of casting a vote and partaking in general elections?

I am very certain that elections are about way more than emotionalism or where our loyalty and hearts lie. Elections are made possible because they are fueled by you and me, the old and the young.

In the past, elections have been drowned in intimidation, violence, rigging and bloodshed. Our narrative is very controversial given the drastic shift of Zimbabwe's socio-economic and political transformation from Africa's bread-basket to one of the world’s poorest countries.

In this age, things are changing fast. Gone are the days where one would consider yesterday's ingredients to be relevant in today's menu. An old saying goes 'if you don't vote you get the government you deserve'. Through elections we will either get an administration that will roll up its sleeves or curse our expectations. Zimbabweans have moved now to an era where we value substance over superficiality from those elected into office.

It is very unwise to rely on social media for an understanding of the Zimbabwean situation, let alone of the elections. But it is mindful to be aware of what is really transpiring from the grassroots level up the way to the top and beyond borders. In voting decisions, ears that do not listen usually accompany the head when it is chopped off. What really does matter as we go to cast our votes? Do we care about comprehensive health access & affordability, availability of employment, the prevalence of peace, sustainable development, social inclusion, youth mainstreaming and the fight against corruption?

These July 30 elections linger on; who is giving Zimbabweans hope? Is it Emerson Mnangagwa or Nelson Chamisa, Joyce Mujuru or Thokozani Khupe? A delegation of 'The Elders' led by Kofi Annan was in Zimbabwe recently working with political players to table and reflect on the essence of these elections, at the same time as international players to be election observers, namely The European Union, the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

I concur with John F. Kennedy who once said, 'let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Our energy should not be used to fix the blame on the past rather let us accept our own responsibility for the future'. Following Kofi Annan's address, he urged the youths to go and vote. To add my name on the list, figuratively, voting is not granted by any party, it is a constitutional right.

As youths, let us not be like the cat that wants a fish but is afraid to get its paws wet. We reap what we sow. Elections belong to the people, if we decide to turn our backs on the fire and burn our behinds, then we will just have to sit on our blisters and endure the outcome of our actions. Yes, they say, one needs the opinions of others and the inclusion of an independent mind to have a fair ground of decisive thinking and process.

Let us play our role in bringing equality, justice and peace for all. It is not just the politicians and world leaders, we all need to contribute as it is our duty. Over and above, may the presence of God's hand be visible & may we honor our liberty and the right to peaceful, free, fair and credible elections.

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