Reluctance in registering to vote shows distrust in current political players

I said it before – and, I will say it again and again.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

I can totally understand the immense frustration amongst some sections of our Zimbabwean society – as they wonder why there appears to be an unwillingness or reluctance by most Zimbabweans, especially the youth, to register to vote.

Indeed, there is every reason for the apparent impatience and eagerness for change on the part of a people terribly sick and tired of the ruling ZANU PF decades-long kleptocracy – whose misrule, mismanagement and corruption has driven millions into indescribable poverty and suffering.

I am one of those – as my utter disgust and revulsion with the political elite, whose propensity for stealing, killing and destroying is sickening and knows no bounds – is the main reason I never tire writing all my articles, as I speak for the oppressed.

I am also hungry, in fact starving, for change – since, no one who is sincere can deny that ZANU PF has overstayed and outlived its usefulness to Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans.

This regime should have been gone as far back as 1990.

If that had happened, I genuinely believe – in the presence of a competent legitimate alternative – our standards of livelihoods would have been some of the highest on the planet.

However, as much as there is a desperate desire for change – there is always a grave danger in change just for the sake of change.

I have said this before – if not managed properly, desperation can be the most dangerous place to be for an individual – since that is where one’s sense of judgement is severely impaired, and can easily lead to seriously flawed decisions.

I am always careful never to make any potentially life-changing decisions when feeling desperate – since there is a high likelihood of regretting later.

Just look at how thousands, if not millions of Zimbabweans excitedly celebrated the military toppling of long-time dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe in November 2017 – despite knowing fully well who was likely to take his place, since we had all been intently following the bitter fierce factional fighting within ZANU PF.

Yet, only a few months down the line, scores of unarmed civilians lay dead on the streets of Harare – shot in cold blood by the very same people so many had regarded heroes not long before, and some were already declaring. ‘Mugabe was better!’.

I was tempted to say, ‘I told you so’ – since, I had warned Zimbabweans not to involve themselves in ZANU PF internal fights, as none of these people were good for us.

Those are the terrible results of making decisions out of desperation.

As a matter of fact, experts assert that desperation, anxiety and exhaustion impact a person’s judgment just as negatively and adversely as someone under the influence of illicit drugs and alcohol.

Therefore, as much as this may disappoint or even anger all those amongst us eager for change in Zimbabwe – I do not necessarily fault all those reluctant or not overly enthusiastic in registering to vote.

Why should they?

Let us remember that elections are akin to a multiple choice examination – whereby, one is expected to choose only from the available alternatives on the list.

So, what is an individual supposed to do when the choices listed do not meet his or her expectations?

If it is an election, the voter is then forced to either simply cast a blank ballot paper or deliberately spoil it – but then, why bother voting in the first place?

It would be folly for anyone to assume that, at any given time, there will always be a favorable choice of candidates on the ballot paper – from whom, every voter will definitely find one to cast a vote in favor of.

That is not always the case.

Therefore, why would anyone be overly eager to register to vote when they do not see any viable choice amongst the competing political players?

For instance, it would be very arrogant for anyone – no matter how much we may desire change in Zimbabwe – to automatically conclude that the opposition CCC, or any others available, are the obvious alternatives to replace ZANU PF.

It then does not make any sense when we find those expressing so much bewilderment, exasperation and even outrage as to why there are those not registering to vote – especially as the nation fast heads for the 2023 harmonized elections.

Let us be brutally honest with each other here.

There is no single political party currently operating in Zimbabwe that has instilled enough confidence in ordinary Zimbabweans as to their ability to take the long-suffering citizenry out of the dire economic and political situation they are seemingly trapped.

For some of us in urban areas – we are already experiencing first-hand the deplorable conditions under opposition leadership – most characterized by appalling service delivery, and endless reports of corruption.

I will not even go into the most troubling traits of intolerance also exhibited by the opposition to voices of criticism  – making its very hard to distinguish them from the pariah brutal oppressive ruling ZANU PF.

As such, this logically leaves many without any real trust for either the ruling and opposition camps.

Both have dismally failed the people of Zimbabwe – each side appearing intent in pushing the ordinary citizenry deeper into the abyss of poverty and suffering, turning each waking moment into a daily struggle.

Therefore, except for diehard fanatical supporters – who will stand by their favored parties and leaders till death, regardless of how much they mess up – the rest of Zimbabwe only vote on the basis of which candidate they are convinced has what it takes to move this country to the next level.

Unfortunately, such a person or political party has been elusive ever since the country attained independence in 1980 – except, possibly for the late Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, with Dumiso Dabengwa, and a few others.

That is exactly the main reason I have never been a member, supporter or sympathizer for any political grouping in Zimbabwe – on top of my already established belief that politicians are never in it for the people, but their own self-seeking desires for power, influence and even wealth.

The electorate are simply available convenient pawns for the fulfillment of these goals.

In politics, elections and governance nothing is ever black or white.

It can never be – if you do not want ZANU PF, then the obvious choice is CCC, or any other opposition for that matter.

I have absolutely no ill-feelings for all those actively urging Zimbabweans, particularly the youth, to register to vote.

However, in so doing, let us also not lose sight of the very real probability that this reluctance and unwillingness to register could be as a result of a strong distrust for the current crop of political players.

They may not see hope in any of those available.

Instead of merely concentrating on pushing people to register – under the flawed and arrogant assumption that a viable alternative for Zimbabweans is already present – our political parties should be focusing more on cleaning up their stained and tainted images.

We have already experienced the leadership of all the main political parties in the country – whether at national or local government level – and, they have terribly failed to impress and instill any confidence in the population.

Why, then, would anyone be eager to vote?

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: [email protected]

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