Time to stop voting for frogs, baboons and donkeys


This year is not only the 33rd year Robert Mugabe has been in power. It is also another election where issues do not matter, where people’s needs do not matter, but where only what matters is who gets to power.

Frog, baboon or donkey, it doesn’t matter. Our elections have been reduced to two people- Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. Even the so-called alliances have nothing to do with who is the better candidate, but who can win.

But after 33 years, it is now time to say No to Frogs, No to Baboons and No to Donkeys. Some people might ask: What am I talking about?

The entry into politics of the Movement for Democratic Change, while it brought about a multiparty system did not really bring about real democracy in the sense that it did not bring about the election of the best candidate to serve the people.

It actually protected the non-performers from the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front because they now knew that they could not be challenged by a better person from the same party, and allowed mediocrity from the Movement for Democratic Change as candidates rode of the back of the Change/Chinja slogan rather than on their own capacity or ability to deliver service to the people.

In the 2 000 elections, people voted for the MDC and not for the party candidates. In some cases people did not even vote for the MDC, but they voted to get Mugabe out.

This prompted intelligence boss at the time, Nicholas Goche, to comment to United States embassy officials that in the urban constituencies, if the MDC had put a frog people would have voted for it.

Indeed, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu who had done wonders for Mpopoma as a ZANU-PF MP was told bluntly before the 2 000 elections “chinja usavi”- that is change the party or we are not going to vote for you. And he lost to Milton Gwetu.

This trend continued two years later. This time it was then Vice-President Simon who told the people of Chivi: “Even if we put a baboon in Chivi, if you are ZANU-PF you vote for that baboon.”

We had a repeat six years later and this time it worked. One woman from Nkayi remarked: Given a choice between a donkey and a ZANU-PF candidate, people would vote for the donkey.

Look, where that landed us. We had a government that lasted four years and failed to implement what it was supposed to implement in 18 months in four years. But, we must thank them for stabilising the economy, thus making life more affordable and more predictable for the average Zimbabwe.

We had legislators, who viewed their seats as jobs, even clamouring for pensions to the last day, better salaries and cars.

It looks, we are going the same way this year because no one is asking any of the legislators what they are going to deliver? How they are going to deliver when they failed last time or over two decades?

Let’s not do what the people of Egypt did. They chose the wrong candidate because they did not like the alternative. One year later, they removed the person that they voted for undemocratically because they were suffering worse that they were before.

My spiritual leader always tells me: “Don’t marry the wrong girl because the one you love is ugly.”


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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