Advocate Fadzayi Mahere (pictured) has offered herself as a candidate for the Mount Pleasant constituency parliamentary seat. There was a lot of grumbling by various people on social media with a lot of people decrying her decision to stand as an independent.
MDC-T supporters feel this move takes away from their “big tent” approach, which is consolidation of all opposition forces against Zanu PF
What we have is a case of people feeling spurned because Mahere has come into the public sphere and led spirited efforts at active citizenship. Her energy and profile will be a boon to any political organisation and she has decided to bank on the strength of her personality.
She made an analysis of the available political parties and felt that their ideas do not resonate with hers. This is the main reason they are not happy with her as they feel she is not endorsing their political affiliations and is not interested in joining them.
If our political parties were to view giving people the best candidates for the constituencies rather than filling seats with party members, there would be merit in making a deal with Mahere and not contesting in that constituency and allowing her to represent the constituency.
Idea-wise, she is better than the incumbent MP Jaison Passade and the former MP Jameson Timba. However, the partisanship and polarisation in our society takes away the merit of such moves. Some people were criticising her father’s history as a senior government official, saying it makes her a Zanu PF product. There is nothing wrong with associating with Zanu PF.
Established political parties have got structures that will guarantee them competitiveness in elections. A lot of commentators were questioning the chances of an independent candidate succeeding, but the facts are that Mt Pleasant is an area with a high level of social media penetration and this should enable her to run a viable political campaign. Traditional ways of communication and canvassing for support have been supplanted and her idea to engage volunteers and do campaign outreach efforts should give her good prospects of winning.
For our systems to work better, our people need to stop being beholden to political parties, in cases where a preferred political party chooses to field a proverbial monkey to stand in a constituency. The logical thing is to select the best candidate available. Big political parties can recover from electoral losses and such decisions will enable them to field better candidates in future.
During election time, it is worrying that when analysing candidates, there is little focus on type of candidates, but focus on parties and a lot of proverbial goat skinners get put in positions of authority. When things like this happen, constituencies suffer, hence voters should be more discerning instead of engaging in blind partisanship.
The merits for Mahere’s case in offering herself as a parliamentary candidate are that she has made several public overtures to change mindsets and highlight shortcomings in our society. Her professional background shows that this is a person who is not just being opportunistic, but is cognisant of the challenge she has taken on. Her articulation of points of law will be useful in the business of the legislature. Our legislature and main political parties are not short of legal skills and this is what makes her position admirable as she chose to showcase herself and not ride on political party support. She could be an objective voice in deliberations in the August house. What she is offering the constituency will be interesting to learn.
Her challenge at present is she is targeting a constituency before the delimitation exercise, meaning the current boundaries may be redefined. But all the same, her stance is commendable as she is offering herself for public office and willing to participate in the corridors of power to bring change.
We need more people like her. This polarised and divisive zero-sum approach based on interests of big political parties will not improve our national processes. In this instance, it will be good for the underdogs to prevail. — khuluma africa.
Mubonderi is managing director at Pahlani Secretaries & Administrators.