HARARE – Prominent businessman Shingi Munyeza has urged Zimbabweans to go out in numbers to vote in the key national elections expected mid-2018.
In a statement dubbed Advice and Warning from the Watchman released yesterday, just over a year before citizens head to the polling stations to determine the makeup of the next State government, Munyeza — owner of the upmarket Ocean Basket and News Café restaurants franchises in Zimbabwe — called on Zimbabweans to make their voice heard.
“Ours is a constitutional democracy and the only way to change government is through the ballot box — those eligible to vote must register when registration opens,” Munyeza said.
“Ensure you vote when the time comes…during this time you will be given all sorts of enticements to vote for certain political parties, please get whatever is on offer but separate the gift from you vote.
“Always know that your vote is your secret no matter what tricks are used on you blend in your safety and security is threatened.”
The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe president chastised urban Zimbabweans for low voter turnout in previous elections at 30 percent compared to rural voter turnout of over 70 percent.
“Ultimately, its individual candidates that form a government, vote for the individual and not the party,” the 50-year-old businessman said.
Munyeza said the ruling party (Zanu PF) “will never reform itself out of power.”
“So, plan to participate in an uneven electoral system,” he said, adding that using social media as a platform to campaign was a futile exercise as “10 percent of the voters are not on social media, concentrate on your grassroots structures.”
The Zimbabwe Head of Christian Denominations vice-chair also had a few words for the ruling party who are set to field the soon to be 94-year-old President Robert Mugabe in the upcoming elections.
“It is evident that you are entering another election with all the ingredients of ‘bhora musango’ — the nightmare of March 2008 can be relieved,” he said, referring to the historic 2008 election when a clique of disillusioned Zanu PF members urged the electorate to vote for them only and not Mugabe in what became known as “bhora musango” (kick the ball off the field).
“Your worst enemy is not your political opponents but the economy,” Munyeza said.
Critics accuse Mugabe of wrecking one of Africa’s most promising economies through policies such as violent seizures of white-owned commercial farms and disastrous money printing.
“There are no signs that this is going to be fixed, you will lose against the economy, don’t intimidate or command it,” he said.
“Indeed, without your proposed presidential candidate, the party will disintegrate into at least three formations; it’s too late for succession fights.”
Mugabe retains unrivalled support in Zanu PF, which is grappling with factional fights as party officials manoeuvre for advantage in a post-Mugabe era.
“People are not stupid, therefore avoid making nauseating and abusive statements to the voters, these statements will backfire in due course,” he warned.