Zanu PF primary elections a show of democracy Zanu PF has perfected the art of internal democracy

Prosperity Mzila

Last weekend Zanu PF held primary elections to select its candidates for this year’s harmonised elections.

This proved beyond doubt that the party is a democratically-run political institution.

It is a party whose activities are premised on its constitution. It is a political outfit which is rooted in the Pan-African ideology that fosters democracy and solidarity among people to ensure socio-economic and political progress.

The primary elections served not only as a mirror of democracy, but also as an indicator that Zanu PF walks the democracy talk.

President Mnangagwa is on record calling for peace and discouraging violence as the country approaches the forthcoming elections.

The primary elections gave people an opportunity to choose their council, constituency and senatorial representatives without duress, violence or vote buying.

The representatives were equally given ample time to campaign for support freely without intimidation or violence. The elections process sailed through smoothly with no cases of violence reported.

The ruling party did not disenfranchise those who failed to cast their ballot on Saturday by denying them the chance to participate in internal democracy citing the 4pm closing time.

The party extended voting time by opening polling stations from 7am to 1pm the following day to ensure that no members were left behind.

The primary elections proved that party members are astute and knowledgeable in terms of how to deal with politicians who feel entitled and yet are very undeserving due to complacency.

The internal elections gave the voters power to choose the leaders they feel deliver and work hard for the betterment of the people.

Some representatives had become very comfortable and too lazy to attend to the anxieties and concerns of party members in their wards and constituencies.

They took the voters for granted. The recent primary elections presented an opportunity for the voters to choose their best performing leaders.

With over 4,5 million cell members countrywide, a huge voter turn out for the primary elections was witnessed, thanks to Zanu PF’s dedication towards the strengthening of the party structures from cell level right up the provincial level.

It did not come as a surprise that many party bigwigs fell by the wayside as party members were just tired of unfulfilled promises.

They just want better. They want representatives who are in sync with President Mnangagwa’s developmental thrust which seeks to improve the quality of the people’s lives.

According to the preliminary results, more than 30 former sitting MPs and councillors had fallen by the way side as voters decided to elect into office new and more promising candidates.

This has sent shockwaves down the spines of many, even in the opposition.

The primary elections were an internal party process, but the people who cast their votes are the same people who will demand accountability to aspiring MPs from Zanu PF, CCC and MDC-T among other political parties vying for seats in the upcoming plebiscite.

Voters are now more discerning when it comes to making choices that will affect them in future.

They are asking for deliverables and as such urban MPs and councillors, most of which belong to CCC and MDC-T, are most likely not to retain their seats as they have failed to ensure the delivery of basic services. Most urban areas have lost their lustre and status of yore due to the negligence by their representatives.

Those candidates who still think that people will remain inclined to political affiliations will be in for a rude shock this time around.

People have evolved. They do not care anymore whether a candidate is from the opposition or not. What they are demanding is service and an improvement to their lives.

This is the reason why the likes of CCC’s Murisi Zwizwai, who had become a life MP in Harare Central, but has done virtually nothing to serve the constituents, are quacking in their boots.

President Mnangagwa has led by example.

Since his inauguration, he hit the ground running and moved to ensure that he addressed people’s plight and fulfilled his party’s manifesto promises.

If the President gets into his office by 6am, then the ministers and councillors have no business being at home at that time.

President Mnangagwa has maintained his hard work ethic and has tried to encourage the ministers to pull their socks through the performance contracts system.

Either the ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of departments shape up or they ship out.

It would appear from the events in the just-ended Zanu PF primary elections that the people have also adopted the President’s stance as far as their demands are concerned.

The precedent of a peaceful, non-coercive election was set during the Zanu PF primary elections and it is expected to be carried through to the harmonised general  elections.

A peaceful election is possible and President Mnangagwa has stressed the need for peace and tolerance every time he addresses the nation.

The call for peace means that all political parties will have ample time to freely campaign and mobilise voters within a free environment.

It also means that people will freely vote and the elections will be held in harmony because, just like President Mnangagwa said, we are all Zimbabweans first before belonging to Zanu PF or CCC.

Zanu PF deserves a big hand of applause for conducting its primary elections in a mature and exemplary way.

First of all, CVs were well received and reviewed.

All candidates that had criminal records were struck off at party level to save the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) the trouble.

The vetting was thorough.

Secondly new and youthful aspiring candidates were allowed to participate, giving Zanu PF a dash of youthful contenders.

This has a renewing effect on the party and it also rebrands the ruling party from the usual to a renewed.

It blows away what other opposition parties have been claiming that they are the custodians of youthful contenders.

It cannot be over-emphasised that President Mnangagwa walks the talk of democratic processes, upholding human rights and developing his country.

President Mnangagwa is a man who does not cut corners in his mandate to deliver the Zimbabwe that we all aspire for – the Zimbabwe that has hard workers who are willing to develop the country brick by brick.

People’s mind-sets have to develop beyond party lines and realise that Zimbabwe is for all Zimbabweans and that it can only be developed by its own people.

The primary elections were an open book from which everyone – the opposition included – has learnt big lessons.

Zimbabwe has indeed come of age.

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