Saturday, July 27, 2013

Zimbabwe Election Campaign 2013: My Observations

Three days to go to Zimbabwe's elections and never a dull moment to the election campaign. I thought I'd share with readers a few snippets of some of the goings-on in this crucial election campaign.

ZimboNames: Foreign readers trying to follow the action will quickly be perplexed by some of the English-sounding first names they encounter. You see, in Zimbabwe, names like Reason, Jealous, Hatred, Lovemore and Witness are actually common first names. So in our political circles we have Reason Wafawarova (a political analyst), Psychology Maziwisa (a publicity guru for the ruling party ZPF), Stylish Magida (an opposition politician), Lovemore Madhuku (who runs a leading NGO), Jealousy Mawarire (a polittical operative) and Kisnote Mukwazhi (a Presidential aspirant). 

Party Colours: All the political parties have their own colours to identify themselves, but the party-colour that has really piqued my attention is the bright-red worn by the main opposition MDC-T. In the picture below is the MDC-T's youthful organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa (dressed up as an Oakland pimp, in matching red shoes, suit and tie), dancing with the party faithful.

The British: Yes indeed, the British bogeyman has to make an appearance in these elections. Speeches made at campaign rallies of the ruling-party ZPF always site the Brits as the cause of most of the country's woes. It's the British this, and the British that. A Martian listening in on the radio would presume that these were the British elections! 

The First Ladies: Not only are the Presidential candidates duking it out on the campaign-trail, but their spouses are engaged in a bitter campaign of their own. After all, it's their husbands' jobs that are on the line. The incumbent, Amai Grace Mugabe, has gone for the jugular and I'm scoring it (boxing-style) 7-5 in her favour against her rival Elizabeth Macheka.  Below is a pic of the incumbent busting a move at a rally.

Below is a pic of the well-coiffed and manicured contender, Lizzy Macheka, on the campaign trail.

The SADC Observers: Many observing teams are being sent to observe these elections, with the A.U being the most prominent. SADC will also be sending its own observing-team, and no doubt, they will be observing the action...from the safety of Harare's local bars. You can always count on the SADC observers to catch up on a little gossip with their revolutionary comrades in Harare and to partake in a little (second) wife-chasing. After the elections are over, of-course, the SADC observers will deem the elections to have been "free-and-fair"...and all this "observation" will have come about without ever having left the comfy safety of Harare's watering holes.

The Numbers (just don't add up): A statistician would lose his mind trying to reconcile the figures being put forward by our electoral committee (Z.E.C). With an electorate of 6.4 million, why is there any need to print 8 million ballot papers? In some constituencies the number of registered voters are higher than registered residents. And when the votes are tallied, I'm sure some winning candidates will have received more votes than there are registered voters (in their constituency)! Tallying up the numbers in any African election is always fraught with difficulties, and let's only hope that a fair modicum of vote-counting is achieved in these crucial elections. Having said that: may the best man win! 


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