ZANU PF has begun rolling out a dirty electoral grand plan to systematically reclaim control of local authorities led by the MDC-T, while making new spurious promises ahead of the 2018 general elections as the embattled ruling party targets the main opposition’s traditional urban strongholds to win the crucial polls, as reported by this paper last week.
Editor’s Memo,Dumisani Muleya
Apparently, the recent suspension of Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni is part of the wider electoral strategy by Zanu PF to seize control of MDC-T-led local authorities, particularly Harare, Bulawayo and other major municipalities.
Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, who is also Local Government minister, is spearheading the crackdown on MDC-T-run councils, while his party comes up with impressive but deceitful electoral promises as it did in 2013.
After MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai flexed his political muscle recently when he rallied his supporters in a massive demonstration in the capital against President Robert Mugabe’s leadership and policy failures as well as economic and social problems, particularly unemployment, poverty and suffering — hallmarks of Mugabe’s corrupt and incompetent regime — Manyenyeni was booted out.
Some of Zanu PF’s electoral promises, which undoubtedly won’t be fulfilled, include providing 900 hectares of land for the construction of 20 000 housing units for youths; construction of new townships in Harare and Bulawayo; spearheading allocation and development of state land to reduce the 1,5 million housing backlog; provision of efficient and reliable services by local authorities; eliminating corruption; availing a concessionary funding facility for women and youth projects; job creation; affordable healthcare and primary school education; poverty datum line-pegged salaries for civil servants; and payment of US$2 000 gratuities for war veterans.
In the run-up to the 2013 elections, Zanu PF came up with threadbare promises which, as you would have thought, turned out to be pie in the sky. Actually, most of them were just so impractical and absurd that they were simply ridiculous — similar to a promise to build a bridge where there is no river.
Incredibly, Zanu PF promised to create 2,2 million jobs by 2018; unlock US$1,8 trillion value from exploiting idle assets in the custody of parastatals — whatever that means; transfer US$7,6 billion into hands of previously marginalised people through indigenisation; eliminate corruption; build 50 000 low-income housing units; rehabilitate 1 250 public houses and buildings; create 2 500 shell factories, flea and vendor market stands; build 310 clinics and 300 schools; and capacitate Sedco with US$300 million to fund innovative women and youths initiatives.
Of course, none of this materialised. In fact, the economic situation has got worse than it was in 2013. This means Zanu PF lied. And more lies are now being wheeled out ahead of the next elections. That is typical of politicians.
They think about the next election. That’s how they differ from statesmen. A politician, like Mugabe, always thinks about the next election, while a statesman like US President Barack Obama thinks about the next generation.
Basically, that is why Zimbabwean voters now have a deep and profound distrust of all politicians. With every election, promises are made and lies are told. The lies may be told in the form of false promises or through mudslinging and character assassination. Indeed, all politicians lie, but some lie more than others.
Well, sometimes the reason politicians lie is because some voters don’t want to hear the truth. They easily believe lies, rather than the truth because they want to hear what they want to hear. So, unscrupulous politicians take advantage of them.
But when politicians renege on their promises, they are not simply being economical with the truth; they are deceiving the public and betraying trust — and such betrayal must be punished in the next elections through the ballot.
As American author and satirist Mark Twain once said, politicians and diapers should be changed frequently and all for the same reason!