Will Posters, Regalia, History or Change Persuade The Zimbabwean voter?

From the deceptive posters of aging candidates wearing chubby faces 30 years younger than their current selves to pledges of slashing council debts building rural mansions and creating a million jobs.

From the fascinating party regalia, wrapped around gyrating bottoms of excited grannies, to the truckloads of mealie-meal and rare goodies, seen once every five years by intimidated, starving villagers.
 
Such has been the intriguing story of an acrimonious but exciting brief campaign period ahead of Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections Wednesday.
Bused, trucked, scotch-carted and wheel-barrowed, forced and voluntary crowds have dominated campaign rallies addressed by protagonists.
Exchange of plain insults, calling each other old, sick  or ugly and threats of 2008 violence form part of the persuasion, although peace prevails.
Incumbent and aspiring first ladies have rendered their support vigorously.

Mugabe, 89, has seen his octopus grip on power slip with each passing election since 1999, when MDC was formed.

He is a leader with a rich political history which has turned into a psychological burden to him.

His indigenisation mantra may not find many takers from Zimbabwe’s poor villages who voted against him in 2008 even when he had parceled out more tangible gifts of land in the past 13 years.

Some voters will ask “What can this old man do for us now that he has failed to do in 33 years of his rule?”

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,the March 2008 winner,has been a gritty and unrelenting fighter but has glaring deficiencies if it comes to strategy.

Perhaps his biggest undoing has been his weaknesses for the fairer sex.

But have Zimbabwean politics evolved far enough for candidates to be judged on the basis of their moral scope?

Tsvangirai is blamed for over dependence on external friends to dislodge Mugabe but still remains a highly marketable brand to the electorate.
He has been in the trenches for too long. Will his juicy change message finally land him at State House this time around?

Welshman Ncube ‘s vote could be seen by many even in his own Matebeleland stronghold as a wasted one as his erstwhile comrade Tsvangirai for now holds the better chance of upstaging Mugabe, the common denominator.

Dumiso Dabengwa seeks to draw capital from the former Zapu nolstagia among die-hard loyalists. Period!

The day of reaping what one sowed is only a few hours away.

Will it be the opinion surveys that have dominated executive discourse in Harare’s uptown halls; the near abstract indigenisation promises to Zimbabweans by Zanu PF; MDC-T’s JUICE or Ncube and Dabengwa’s devolution promises, or will it be the people who have recovered their power, long stolen by the pot-bellied politician, who will carry the day?
Zimbabweans must call upon their own deep conscience. This election must be about the future and the future of this once great nation.
 
 
Nkosana Dlamini is a Harare based journalist. Views expressed in this article are his own.