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Bankruptcy of Mugabe’s campaign

A POLITICAL campaign is an organised effort to influence the decision-making process of a specific group.

Any political campaign is made up of three elements — the message, money, and machine. The message is a concise statement saying why voters should pick a candidate. Fundraising techniques include having the candidate call or meet with large donors, sending direct mail pleas to small donors, and courting interest groups who could end up spending money on the race if it is significant to their interests. Finally, machinery represents human capital, the foot soldiers loyal to the cause, the true believers who will carry the run by volunteer activists.

Successful campaigns usually require a campaign manager and some staff members who make strategic and tactical decisions while volunteers and interns canvass door-to-door and make phone calls. Large modern campaigns use all three of the above components to create a successful strategy for victory.

On February 24, President Robert Mugabe had a birthday interview on ZTV. Among the questions asked by the interviewer was: “Why should I vote for you?” The very long answer he gave was not good enough to convince his supporters. He then made tasteless, uncouth and vulgar remarks about Simba Makoni. Mugabe is supposedly a family man and statesman for that matter.

Since then, he has been insulting other candidates. If he was a marketer competing for customers, he would have failed dismally. Zanu PF has been running full page colour adverts in the Herald full of insults, personal attacks and negatives because the party knows that it has a dismal record. Everyday, the Herald and its sister newspapers publish stories quoting Zanu PF luminaries launching personal attacks on Makoni. Is Zimbabwe a personal possession?

Mugabe participated in the liberation struggle against colonialism, led Zimbabwe since Independence in 1980, “delivered” land to the people and is now aged 84, what more does he want to deliver? What more can he do when he is past the retirement age by 19 years and will be 89 at the end of the term he seeks?

I wonder why his message is not about renewal or fixing the economy. It lacks a proper understanding of the economic challenges faced by the country. Basic commodities shortages, escalating prices, unemployment due to the shrinking economy that has led companies to operate unprofitably, reduce capacity and are now shedding labour or paying sub-economic wages.

Zanu PF’s message is that of a liberation struggle against colonialism. Mugabe after so many years has not trasformed himself to deal with post-colonial challenges.

The language being used by Zanu PF and its presidential candidate is a clear indication of dirty tricks being used against opposing candidates and meant to drive away attention from the economic mess.

Levi Mhaka,

By e-mail.

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