After months of politicking, the Zimbabwean 2018 harmonized elections have officially come to an end.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has won the Presidential vote, and ZANU-PF has won a two thirds majority in parliament.
These were probably the most keenly followed elections by Zimbabweans at home and abroad and the international community at large since 1980.
This is because Zimbabweans across the political landscape are tired of the counter-productive and divisive types of politics that we have experienced as a country for close to two decades.
I think that we can all agree that the pre-election environment was the best that we have experienced as a country.
Prior to the elections, people could freely communicate their political views and openly debate about the direction the country should take after the polls.
This was unprecedented, because previous elections were largely characterized by fear and sometimes violence.
However this time round, we all followed the rallies of both the MDC-Alliance and ZANU-PF and we all listened to what the various political leaders had to offer at national, parliamentary and ward levels.
I must mention here that the MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa put up a good fight under the circumstances.
Given the untimely death of ex-prime minister Dr Morgan Tsvangirai and the scarcity of campaign resources on the part of the MDC-Alliance, Nelson Chamisa had the unenviable task of leading a shaky coalition and uniting a divided party into a do-or-die election.
Given the circumstances, he was probably the best man for that job, and he did the best job that he could.
Although I’ve publicly critiqued Mr. Nelson Chamisa’s political decisions before, I can say that his performance in the 2018 election will go down in history as one of the country’s closest contests.
Nevertheless having said that, it also indisputable that the efforts of Nelson Chamisa and the MDC-Alliance were inadequate to outmaneuver the well-resourced ZANU-PF machine.
I’ve argued elsewhere and I will state again here that politics is more about power than it is about popularity.
Furthermore, the ZANU-PF “dandemutande” campaign strategy is one that delegates authority from the party president and central committee members right down to the branch and cell levels of the party.
In essence, ZANU-PF effectively conscientized its own members to vote for the party en masse.
Perhaps where ZANU-PF could have performed better is in the area of mobilizing youthful “new” voters.
What the 2018 presidential result shows is that traditional ZANU-PF members voted for ZANU-PF en masse, but youthful ‘new’ voters voted for the opposition.
This is particularly true in the Harare and Bulawayo metropolitan provinces.
Those are the areas where Nelson Chamisa’s message hit home, and consequently those are the areas where ZANU-PF has to work the hardest going forward.
Nevertheless, now that our elections have come and gone, I think we should take time as Zimbabweans to reflect and reunite under the realization that we are all Zimbabweans despite race, region or political creed.
That is what is most important, and that is what should take us forward.
We do not what violence, we want peace. We do not want divisions we want unity.
In this light, it is important for our leaders across the political divide to continue calling for peace.
Now that the elections are over, let’s all unite under the leadership of president Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF and work to move the country forward.
To that end the famous Nelson Mandela quotation from his book ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ comes to mind: “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
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