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Elections: Your choice is your right

Get out Zimbabweans. It is your right. Cast your vote!

SUNDAY DISCOURSE WITH DR LINDIWE CHOPAMBA-MUTIMUSAKWA

The good and compelling reason you must cast your vote first and foremost, as citizens of a democratic country, is it is your inalienable right to elect the kind of a leader you want to take you and your country forward.

You have heard them at rallies, hopefully you have read their party and individual manifestos, you have seen and heard them during debates, so election day is your day to change your destiny, when you get into the privacy of the voting enclave.

We have had many elections before, but never before has an election held so much potential and inherent risks for our country.

Let us keep and observe peace. Elections come and go, leaders too come and go, but the citizens remain. No leader is worth dying for. This is an election not war.
Commitment to a political party must never be placed before our commitment to the higher authority — God.

When we join a group, political party or a church, we are telling the world who we are. We must understand that we are defining ourselves.

Do we vote for those who promise to uphold the Constitution but intentionally and inevitably trample on it? Do we continue to vote for those who have repeatedly shown that they lack personal integrity? How can immoral people, who cannot be trusted, lead us anywhere but to destruction? When the wicked rule, the people mourn.

When we enter the voting booth and vote for that alternative candidate, we are taking a stand. We are saying that we will not be an accomplice in the slaughter of innocent people, the starving to death of the helpless and poor among us.
Our vote will not mean victory. It may not make any difference to anyone else. We will be in the minority, and minority has always been the lot of those who choose obedience to God rather than submission to the rule of man.
Whether in the lion’s den, the fiery furnace or voting booth, we need to take a stand. Our choices may be meaningless to others but I believe it means something to God.
Some people do not value casting their votes; election is too serious and precious an event to be left entirely in the hands of political parties and politicians.
Now the time has come for us to get involved in the democratic process of the nation we all love so much and for that we should all come out and cast our vote.
Showing up at the poll station on voting day sets a good example for others.
Remember, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, your children observe all that you do and will learn from your example, right or wrong as it may be.
Discuss the candidates with your families and make a point of mentioning your vote.
Negativity, backbiting and blistering accusations cause nothing but division between the candidates and their respective parties.
Negativity causes division; it brings out the worst in people, hate, discrimination, injustice and violence.
This election should emphasise unity, highlighting the positives and proposing plans to build upon them.
The leaders should not be divisive and arrogant in their attacks.
We are a country which has been through so much for the last 30 years or so such as Entumbane Massacre, Gukurahundi just to mention a few, financial collapse and overall deterioration in our quality of life.
We are a nation which needs to embrace the attitude of love, compassion, patience, understanding and charity in our everyday lives.
It certainly isn’t easy to do but we must make an effort to incorporate these traits as part of our national character.
That being said, we must vote with our conscience, vote for what is right and just not only for ourselves but for the common good of the country.
We must not allow the political rhetoric to influence our beliefs. The negativity of the campaign must not force us to vote for the lesser of the two evils.
Whether we like it or not, we are our brother’s keeper. We all have a vested interest in one another. We want all to succeed and contribute to the safety, stability and prosperity of our country.
All of us recognise the importance of leadership when we vote for our political leaders. We all realise that it matters who is in the office, so we must participate in an election to choose the best candidates.
Avoid wasting your vote
Every political party’s beliefs change over time, so should your vote. If you blindly vote for any political party simply because you have always voted that way in the past then in my opinion, there is a good chance that your vote will be wasted, the ultimate outcome will not be what you intended.
Vote for the person, not the party
You must be sure that the person you are voting for truly represents your beliefs. You need to know your candidates well.
Do not cast a hope vote
A sure way to waste your vote is voting for a person or party in hope that they will change in the direction you desire. Voting for them just encourages them to continue down the path they were going. Actually voting for them just increases the speed with which they proceed in the direction they were going, not your direction. A hope vote is a wasted vote.
Do not vote for the lesser of the two evils
How are the candidates going to get the message that you are unhappy with their representation if you continually vote for them and they continue doing what you do not like. Rewarding someone for doing what you do not want them to do is a setback.
The alternative would be to vote for a third party candidate if one is available and they represent what you believe in.
Investors recognise the importance of business leadership when they say that “A good leader can make a success of a weak business plan, but a poor leader can ruin even the best plan.”
Leaders set directions for the rest of us; they help us see what lies ahead. They help us visualise what we might achieve and they encourage us and inspire us. Without good leadership a group of human beings get lost in their arguments and conflict, because we see things differently and lean towards different solutions.
Leadership helps to point us in the same direction and harness our efforts jointly.

*Lindiwe Chopamba-Mutimusakwa is the author of A Graveyard of Buried Hopes

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