Monday, 24 October 2016


Advocate Fadzayi Mahere
The Norton by-election appears to me to be a foreboding of things to come. I note a lot of joy from several quarters around the election outcome.

Unfortunately, I cannot say I can join in the celebration because there are so many gaps in information that render it exceedingly difficult to understand the definition of "independent", let alone the full import of the victory. Like all of us, I am *desperate* for change but I also wonder whether there is value in being so desperate that we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to think carefully about what our expectations for an electoral strategy in 2018 are or whether at all there is one. Is it perhaps possible for our desperation be balanced with a well-crafted, issue-driven electoral strategy by the opposition?

Or is that asking for too much right now?
Is there a spokesperson on behalf of the opposition/independents/a political analyst/knowledgeable citizen/prophet that is able to communicate to the electorate exactly what is going on?
1. Has a coalition been formed yet? Is NERA meant to be the coalition party - or is it merely a loose lobby campaign for "free and fair" elections? Is a coalition on the cards or is it simply not going to happen? The word "unity" has been bandied about repeatedly - is it possible for us to understand exactly what or who we are uniting around?

2. Did the MDC-T boycott the election due to the absence of reforms? If that is correct, why did one of its vice-presidents go and campaign on behalf of a non-MDC candidate? If the MDC formed some sort of alliance with the 'independent' candidate, is there any reason why the 'independent' did not join the MDC-T to ensure that they enjoy a common legislative agenda when participating in Parliamentary business? And to prevent the said candidate from then reverting to its previous party? Or otherwise dumping those who helped attain the victory?

3. If the MDC did not boycott the election, is there any reason why its own candidate wasn't the choice to run in this election - given that it has a history (bar 2013) of having an electoral foothold in Norton? Has it struck some deals perhaps? If so, with whom? Or is it a secret?
4. What position did People First take on the matter, if any?

5. Is it the collective opposition position that the election was "free and fair" in accordance with the position taken by NERA on the electoral integrity?

6. What sort of candidates can the electorate look forward to in 2018? Is it going to be the case that we will be compelled to vote in support any non-ZANU PF candidate? Or will an attempt be made to set out an issue-driven policy agenda that will sell candidates to the public and justify a vote?
7. Has serious consideration been given to the possibility of ZANU-PF factional discord contributing to the victory in the Norton by-election? There is celebration amongst the ZANU PF-Lacoste faction following the victory in Norton which is, with respect, difficult to ignore. Has the opposition managed to rule out the possibility that all non-ZANU PF players involved are being used as pawns in a larger, more sinister factional agenda? If this has been ruled out, what basis was used to so rule this out?

Will anyone be able to respond to these concerns or are we meant to be blindly agreeable to whatever position, no matter how unpalatable, is foisted upon us by the politicians taking part in the 2018 election?

Surely, we are entitled to ask? There is time (although it's fast running out) for the opposition to get its house in order but it's very hard for the ordinary citizen to be confident that such order exists currently. It would be sad if the votes we cast in 2018 were reduced in value only to protest votes.
Let's make Zimbabwe great again.


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