The Zanu-PF primary election season is upon us, along the way teaching a lesson or two to the party’s opponents in the forthcoming harmonised elections. The major beneficiary of such lessons is MDC-T’s controversially appointed leader Mr Nelson Chamisa.
Chamisa now knows that the delusional belief that taking off first from the starting line doesn’t necessarily mean one will be the first to cross the winning line.
He is also learning through the Zanu-PF primaries that lying, chicanery, deception, and being naïve does not amount to winning elections.
It is evident that Zimbabweans are shifting their attention to Zanu-PF, the real deal, leaving Chamisa, who seems to think that being young and inexperienced is the ticket to the presidency, in a quandary.
Everyone, including Chamisa himself, wants to get hold of that list of the ruling party’s approved candidates for the primaries.
We realise that by announcing the dates and the candidates for the primaries, Zanu-PF changed the game and swept the carpet from under Chamisa’s “clay” feet.
Soothsayers like Chamisa had predicted what they termed “a bloodbath” in Zanu-PF primaries, as they expected some prospective candidates to be purged because of so-called links to the vanquished G40 cabal.
Yet, the ruling party had another trick up its sleeve. All prospective candidates, as long as they met the criteria, were given the green light to contest.
This way, Zanu-PF refused to play ball according to its opponents’ wishes.
The ruling party went on to introduce another game changer — the prospective candidates will campaign in teams, no lone rangers because the party is a unit.
Through this campaign method, members will remain loyal to the party and not to individuals. If we have acrimony in the Zanu-PF primaries, then we are likely to have the same problems in the national elections and it is good that the ruling party is aware of that.
Hotly contested primaries should not result in acrimony, but help strengthen the winning candidate, as all direct their efforts towards ensuring the party wins.
We view the huge interest demonstrated by the prospective candidates in the primaries as a show of democracy within Zanu-PF.
It is a fact that people care more about what happens in Zanu-PF as compared to any other political party because they know it holds the future of this country.
This is why no one is talking about the MDC-T’s prospective candidates, or its primary elections, despite that Chamisa has held several rallies across the country.
A party that exposes its candidates to the electorate, like what Zanu-PF is doing, enhances its chances of winning an electoral contest, as compared to a lone ranger who specialises in addressing disjointed rallies.
Once Zanu-PF gets it right in its primaries, then the ground is set for a resounding victory in the national elections.
But it is important for the Zanu-PF primaries to help safeguard internal party democracy.
Primaries that are not properly and well managed can be destructive to the well-being of the party ahead of the harmonised elections.
Zanu-PF officials should ensure that ballot boxes are in place well before election date and that there are set times when voting will take place.
Transport for carrying voting materials should be arranged now, instead of a last-minute rush. The primary aim of the Elections Commission set up by the ruling party should be to ensure that logistics are in place for smooth primaries.
Information about the polling stations and voting procedures should be relayed on time to avoid allegations of rigging.
The ruling party has passed the first important stage — that of selection of candidates — with flying colours.
The momentum should be maintained until the announcement of the results after Sunday’s voting.