With the 2013 elections in Zimbabwe this statement has become apparent; considering the quality and depth of the Manifestos availed. Save for the usual political bickering, personality and character attacks, in my perceptions the manifestos are void of depth and substance.
With unemployment rate beyond 70% (though debatable), there was no concise mention of “how” the jobs will be created. It was mentioned as an outcome of development policies like privatisation, indigenisation and taking all parties words for it; they are all hoping for private sector investment. How will the private sector be harnessed, I saw no clear strategy for the PPP initiatives or something like it! Social service and public service support was also guaranteed after elections. I could not conceptualise the modus operandi for it; is it going to be private sector initiative, social economy given more room to manoeuvre or public office support?
In the social sector, not even a single word was mentioned of equity? The orphans (now over 1,000,000) about 10% of Zimbabwe’s population, the widows, people with disability, crime, social cohesion, peace and conflict transformation, let alone research and development. I have seen and deduced that all political parties are tramping on the dividers hence no need for conflict transformation at all cost. We have Matebeleland parties, Mashonaland and Manicaland. We have urban and rural parties. What are the efforts to harmonise and unify people? The policies proposed are also reactionary and emotive to protect these turfs.
What Zimbabwe needs is an electoral education system, this should also include policy education and vote of no confidence in political parties before an actual election. Coming from food security, with right based approaches dominant it would have been best when there was small indication of how right to food will be codified and legitimised. I think social service has been left to citizens far too long.
I truly believe the electorate was caught napping. They have to vote for someone in office, which was done peacefully. Though regrettable that a million eligible voters did not participate due to stringent registration process, and a rigid voting system as has been mentioned.
Otherwise the peace is something commendable.
Taurai A. Mutassa, Zimbabwe
(for more on the elections check this article at theguardian)