By Nobleman Runyanga
The MDC Alliance is in the campaign mode and it has been gathering people for rallies. The alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa’s message has exposed him for who he is — a political novice.
He was in Chinhoyi the other week where he promised the electorate bullet trains.
This betrayed the fact that despite being a young candidate, who is expected to know the world better and use this knowledge to come up with a message that resonates with the concerns and anxieties of the largely rural Mashonaland West Province, he is all about charisma, which is not supported by political maturity and experience.
His age compared to that of his ZANU-PF counterpart, President Mnangagwa, has been touted as his major advantage and attraction, but it has turned out to be his major undoing.
Any politician worth his salt would know that what the people of Zimbabwe want right now is not the luxury of bullet trains, but addressing basic issues such as the availability of basic services, the revival of the economy and the creation of jobs in order to improve their livelihoods.
A Chinhoyi resident would want potholes in his town’s roads fixed and the industry in the provincial capital to roar into life before dreaming of a bullet train.
Bullet trains and all other trappings that come with developed economies are all good, but all in good time. The fact that President Mnangagwa’s thrust has been re-engagement and economic revival indicates that he knows the root cause of Zimbabwe’s economic challenges.
Chamisa has promised to remedy the ongoing liquidity crunch, whose main symptom is the ongoing cash shortage, within two weeks. He may be a jack of many trades such as law, theology and marketing, but his message has exposed him as badly lacking in the basics of economics.
A genius is not someone, who knows everything, but the person who knows where to get information that he does not know. He may be charismatic, but political genius is definitely not one of his gifts.
The events of the past few weeks have exposed Chamisa to the reality that following the MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai since 1999 does not translate into political wisdom.
He has learnt that while defying tertiary authorities during student demonstrations could have earned him frenzied support from fellow students, convincing people to vote for him to lead the nation is a different kettle of fish, especially if one does not have concrete policies to address their problems.
Since letting Zimbabweans in on his bullet trains fantasy, many people have analysed his claims and demonstrated that the time that he said the train would take to travel between Harare and Bulawayo was impractical and a falsehood.
One would have thought that after it was pointed out to him that he was feeding Zimbabweans with naked lies packaged as a campaign rally message of development, he would do away with the bullet trains promise in subsequent meetings, but not so for the excitable opposition leader. He repeated the same message to the people of Cross Dete in Matabeleland North Province last week.
With opposition presidential election candidates of this calibre, the electorate really needs to beware.
It needs to weigh candidates’ track records and assess their campaign messages.
In the name of change, some people of Harare and other towns such as Chitungwiza voted into council people, whose main aim was self-enrichment through open corruption, selling residential stands at undesignated locations and awarding of tenders to cronies.