By Trevor Makonyonga
Social media platforms over the past 72 hours have been awash with congratulatory messages for the Zambian president elect, Hakainde Hichilema. Most of the posts from Zimbabwean youths are sincere considering that the Zambians have managed to get something they never had, a free and fair election. Zambia has managed to have seven transitions of power whereas in Zimbabwe the only time power was transferred the army was involved. One would have to understand why the Zimbabweans are envious of Zambia.
The fair truth is that Zimbabwe youths will always have nightmares when it comes to elections because of the nature of the environment in the country. In the 2018 election, the Chegutu constituency had a dispute in which Dexter Nduna of Zanu PF lost to Gift Konjana but a “technicality” landed Nduna in the House of Assembly regardless of his loss. Voting is a painful and frustrating process for many because even when the ruling party loses, they can still declare themselves as winners.
2008 is a classic case of when an election victory won’t count. After the MDC victory in March 2008, there was an unforeseen wave of violence that crept in the nation. Many people lost their lives, and this was a clear message on the extent of which the current regime is ready to consolidate power. To further scare of any tide of democracy, the 1st of August 2018, shootings also sent a negative vibe towards any potential voters. There have been further actions like abductions, kidnappings and arrests that frustrate any possibility of real democracy in Zimbabwe.
The definition of “sell-out” and patriot are evidence of what the political spectrum is like in Zimbabwe. The truth is that most people dread the results that election periods bring. Most Zimbabweans is in serious poverty and the sad thing is that the powers of the day seem to be divorced from the realities in the streets, their concerns are on consolidating power at all costs.
MDC-A leader, Nelson Chamisa, summarised the hopes of many youths in the country during Mmusi Maimane’s on Monday Twitter conversation. Chamisa referred to the Federation when Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe were one nation under colonial rule but in his speech, he was speaking of the waves of change.
“What we are seeing now is a new federation of democracy, citizen participation in defining the destiny of nations. It started in Malawi and swept into Zambia and now we can smell the sweet scent here in Zimbabwe. It is coming,” said Chamisa.
In yet another Twitter conversation that was held by the winning UPND youths on Monday night, Zambian youths explained how they actively participated in the politics of their land. In Zimbabwe, it’s impossible to exercise the same because of the political environment. Most youths are afraid of the aftermath of their actions because of the violent examples sent previously by the ruling party.
It remains scary to venture in any form of defiance to the regime henceforth the victories in Zambia could as well be the closest Zimbabweans will taste any form of change. However, it is important to register to vote and hopefully one day it shall count.