Editor’s Memo: Move away from populism

Faith Zaba

THE country is abuzz with excitement and anticipation, as the nation gears up for the upcoming elections, slated for August 23.

The election campaign started in earnest this week with local government, National Assembly and presidential candidates filing their nomination papers on Wednesday.

Zanu PF will tomorrow launch its 2023 election manifesto in Chipinge, Manicaland province, while the main opposition party, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is yet to announce the date for the unveiling of its policy proposals.

The presidential election is pitying the incumbent, President Emmerson Mnangagwa against CCC leader Nelson Chamisa and independent candidate Saviour Kasukuwere, among other aspirants.

Zimbabweans are anxiously waiting for the launch of the parties’ manifestos.

A manifesto is a publication issued by a political party or candidate before a general elections. It contains the set of policies that the party or candidate stands for and would wish to implement if elected to govern.

Election manifestos are important, as they provide valuable insights for understanding the policies and programmes of various political parties.

Manifestos are not there for display. They should be critically scrutinised to see if the parties’ or individual candidate’s agendas are according to hopes and aspirations of the citizens. The media has a greater role to play in this regard.

It is, therefore, imperative that political candidates and parties embrace a new approach to their campaigns. Zimbabweans are yearning for a transformative political landscape where issues take centre stage, hate speech is abandoned and the rhetoric of populism gives way to clear policy proposals.

 It is time for Zimbabwean politicians to change the way they package their campaign messaging and truly address critical issues facing the country, providing voters with concrete and enticing policies.

As a nation, we are tired of populist appeals, which have become all too familiar in political campaigns. These often overshadow the pressing challenging facing the majority of Zimbabweans that demand immediate attention.

In this election, we want to see leaders who prioritise substance over empty promises. We need leaders who have a deep understanding of the issues at hand — leaders who present clear and viable policies to address these issues.

It is time to move away from flashy slogans and grandiose rhetoric, and instead, present well-thought-out proposals that offer real solutions to the problems that Zimbabweans face daily.

We want clear policies that address social and economic challenges drowning the country.

One key aspect that needs to be addressed is the state of the economy. Zimbabweans are facing numerous economic challenges, including inflation, unemployment, and a lack of foreign investment.

We do not want quick fixes. We want comprehensive economic plans that focus on sustainable growth, job creation, and attracting both local and international investors.

The politicians should outline specific policies, such as investment incentives, infrastructure development, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

As citizens, we should be asking questions like what health care plan are they offering, what is their housing plan, etc.

Zimbabwe's electorate deserves more than vague promises and generalisations. Political parties should articulate their specific policy proposals, clearly stating what they offer potential voters.

Whether each party is addressing economic inequality, healthcare, education, or infrastructure development, politicians must provide concrete plans and strategies.

This approach will allow voters to make informed choices and hold candidates accountable for their promises once elected.

The campaigns should be issue-driven.

Politicians must ask themselves how deeply they connect with voters?

Zimbabweans are yearning for leaders who prioritise their welfare and who are willing to work tirelessly to bring about positive change.

This can only be achieved through open and honest discussions about the critical issues facing the nation. These upcoming elections present an opportunity for politicians to reshape the political landscape of the nation.

It is time that politicians prioritise the well-being of the people and work towards a prosperous and inclusive future for all and for the sake of future generations.

This is not only my dream but that of every Zimbabwean.

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