By Tafara Shumba
President Emmerson Mnangagwa will, starting this Saturday, embark on ‘thank you’ rallies to express his gratitude to millions of Zimbabweans who voted him into power in a democratic election.
His first port of call is Mashonaland West Province, not because of any special reason but he just has to start from somewhere. Some have started speculating, talking about knocking at former president’s door steps. Mashonaland West or any other province does not belong to an individual. What people always fail to understand is that once a person becomes a president, he ceases to be a provincial entity but a national one. President Mnangagwa is the president of the republic; he is the president of everybody, even Nelson Chamisa. So he is not knocking at anybody’s door steps.
The people of Mashonaland West deserve to be thanked just like any other province. They contributed 313 000 to the whooping 2 460 463 aggregate votes that saw President Mnangagwa romping to a victory against his closest rival, Chamisa of the MDC Alliance party. The Mashonaland West electorate, according to Zanu PF Provincial Chairman, Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi, has never doled out such votes to anyone including the former president who hails from that province. The province defied the general thinking amongst some political analysts who anticipated a protest vote against President Mnangagwa over the ouster of former president Mugabe. However, the province rose above parochial politics. It understood well the circumstances surrounding the resignation of the former president in November last year. For that reason, the province deserves a thank you.
When Zanu PF indicated that they were going to begin their thank you rallies, issues of necessity began to be raised. Chamisa has already started the same programme but nothing was raised. President Mnangagwa has all the reasons to conduct these thank you rallies. It is within our tradition to appreciate a good act extended to you. A good turn deserves another.
Instead, the issue of necessity must be raised on Chamisa’s thank you rallies. Election is a game of numbers, thus the electorate did not give Chamisa enough votes to win the election. It is therefore not necessary to move around thanking the electorate who did not vote you into power. They are just thinly veiled mobilisation rallies for the planned demonstrations which are gradually losing buyers owing to the reckless utterances in which Chamisa scolded the supporters who demonstrated on his behalf.
President Mnangagwa’s thank you rallies are very necessary. Even in the Bible, Jesus was excited by one of the 10 lepers he had healed who came back to give thanks. It pays dividend to sincerely thank your supporters. At the same time, it is politically costly to be ungrateful, worse still calling your supporters stupid no matter they had done the stupidest act.
President Mnangagwa will take that opportunity to explain to the grassroots supporters what his government is doing to stabilise the economy that is currently characterised by high prices of basic commodities, and foreign currency shortages among others. The electorate has been fed with wrong information by social media. The rallies provide the President with the opportunity to undo the misinformation and also take a review of the promises he made during campaigns ahead of the July 30 elections. A lot has been done despite some lies being peddled to discredit the new dispensation.
The argument pushed by those who are against these rallies that they are costly does not hold water. They want to give an impression that Zanu PF draws money from the national treasury. Zanu PF is an independent entity that has its own treasury and sources of revenue. The only money it draws from government is that which is provided for in the Political Parties (Finance) Act. MDC got its share which it is currently using to fund its activities, including the thank you rallies. So it’s not anyone’s business to tell Zanu PF how it must spend its money. They are doing what they budgeted for.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.