Mavaza: Elections Are Here. Don’t Vote With Your Stomach.
13 June 2023
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By Dr. Masimba Mavaza | As we count down to the day every Zimbabwean is waiting for, the 23rd of August, the polling day, Zimbabweans must make intelligent decisions when voting in the August 2023 elections.

We must bear in mind that the general election is another opportunity for citizens to contribute actively towards meaningful change and to endorse their approval of what has defined them all along.

It isn’t possible to sell an item and still dictate to the buyer how to use it. Once the vote is purchased, you can’t ask how they will use what you have sold. In that aspect, one must vote with his dedicated thinking and not with his stomach. The 2023 elections should not be decided on stomach but on tangible evidence of development. Zimbabweans have to realise that the only way to see a developed Zimbanwe is to ensure that they vote with their brain and not their stomach, because a night with hunger is better than four years of pain and struggle.

ZANU PF, through its leader, ED MNANGAGWA, has set a deadline of 2030, which has become a vision to raise Zimbabwe to a middle-income economy. In 2018, after getting the mandate of the people, MNANGAGWA and his team hit the ground running. The next election gives us an opportunity to rewrite the destiny of this country. So, the decision we make on the 23rd of August will be with us for another five years, which is long enough to make the country better or worse.

Zimbabwe can become a better nation only when citizens are intentional about having realists as leaders. Citizens must vote for those who have shown passion for development. In the last five years, under the wise leadership of Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe has seen great structural and infrastructure development. All major highways have undergone rehabilitation.

The country has made strides in the reengagement process. What has been started in the past five years has to be finalised. The current situation of high inflation rates taking food away from the table is just a little inconvenience that will come to pass. We must never vote with our stomachs. We must look beyond the inconvenience and march on to reality. “The only way we can leave the trenches is by putting into power individuals who are realists, not just PowerPoint presentations and well-written manifestos that end up in the dustbin of history.”

We need leadership that has an automatic balance between talking and showing work. Anyone can rant and make promises, but we have to be intentional to ensure that we let those who know how to bring these visions to life. In these times of little mishaps, we will have some sardonic souls in other parties who are prone to observe that, as dinner time approaches, they are particularly prone to vote, not with their head or their heart, but with their stomach.

If you vote with your brains, you will make defeat a little less likely. It is your due diligence that will give Zimbabwe a life-time chance to ride on the development train. Of course, the price rise could prove to be rather short-lived, so your vote must not be motivated by hunger, for hunger is only temporary. The brain is primarily for feeling, not thinking.” Gut instincts must not drive voting and election campaigns, but realistic promises should motivate your choice.

Having realised how hard it is to change voters’ gut feelings, opposition politicians have tried to play through emotional association and use hunger as a factor. Zimbabweans must know that joy comes in the morning. Gut voters confound pollsters because the gut is capricious. These are the voters who feel deep down that they understand what has been done and what will be done by giving ZANU-PF an opportunity to finish what they have started.

Zimbabweans must vote for ED because they “know” he is inspiring, trustworthy, and clearly “wise.” We are all gut voters, in a way, in thrall to hidden forces that drive decision-making, whether we are casting a ballot, dating, or shopping. We are aware of what we think, but not why we think it. And we tend to imagine we are more consistently rational than the experimental evidence suggests. In this aspect, our guts should tell us that a job started must be finished. Our politicians’ orientations are also much more fixed than we might think. Voting is not just emotional; it is also “rapid, instantaneous, and involves largely conscious processes.

We have always believed in Zanu, so changing your beliefs involves changing the whole architecture beneath.” It is true that the single strongest non-rational determinant of voting behaviour is party affiliation—not necessarily official membership, but a sense of belonging. It is a “social identity” as much as ethnic, religious, or national identities. It is “a sense that you are part of a certain group, and the fate of that group bears on your own view of yourself.

The failure of ZANU PF lies squarely in your hands, so be associated with success. Vote wisely for development and continuity. In the voting booth, political preference is an automatic, emotional process driven by the lingering influence of earlier, equally biassed political judgements and the desire for continuity. The majority of voters on August 23 are urged to choose the candidates and ballot initiatives that most neatly align with their values, concerns, and priorities. Don’t be guided by your stomach or pocket in choosing the next president. From Gyang Bere, the Jos Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Kaigama, has asked Nigerians not to be guided by their stomachs and pockets but by their hearts and heads when voting in the 2023 elections.

He stated this in his New Year message yesterday, cautioning Nigerians to be wary of predatory politicians who would use religion, ethnicity, and regions to divide citizens. The cleric, who quoted from Philippians Chapter 4, verse 8, urged Nigerians to be guided by the biblical counsel of Apostle Paul in their choice of political parties and candidates. He advised that money and stomach infrastructure should not be the motivating factors in voting. We have a duty as Zimbabweans to come out, each one of us, queue up at our polling units, conduct ourselves peacefully and orderly, and cast our votes for continuity and continuation. As for the choice of political parties and candidates to vote for, we should be guided by the counsel of St.

Paul, which says: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). In choosing who to vote for, let your head and your heart guide you, not your stomach and your pocket. Ignore the current financial problems; they will all come to pass. Politicians who are on the campaign trail now should do so without hatred, bitterness, incitement, or misinformation. They should exercise caution so that they do not make wild and unrealistic campaign promises that, deep in their hearts, they know are not workable.

We must all realise that 2023 is a year of golden opportunities for Zimbabwe. We must not miss or misuse the chance the forthcoming elections will create to choose leaders who will lead the country to greatness. Those jostling for elective offices must be more responsible in playing politics with the best interests of the masses at heart. With your vote, 2023 will be the year of a turnaround in Zimbanwe’s fortunes.

Zimbabweans must not miss or misuse the opportunity to choose leaders with focus and compassion who will continue to lead our country to greatness. “Our politicians should realise that we don’t have any other country but Zimbabwe. Consequently, this reality should inspire them to be more responsible in playing politics with the best interests of the masses at heart. Therefore, our speeches and conduct should focus on encouraging our people to build a Zimbanwe where equity, justice, and fairness will reign supreme. Nyika inobakwa nevene vayo. ” While we look forward to having a better Zimbanwe, let us continue praying that the Lord will strengthen our present political leaders to oversee the elections and a successful continuation in office in 2023.

Finally, we urge the government to do more to stop the downward trend of our economy by checking the sources of leakages and wastage of our national resources in 2023. Zimbabweans must participate in the electioneering process and ensure they cast their votes in the forthcoming general election. Winston Churchill, perhaps the greatest political leader of the 20th century, once said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” In a political and cultural era in which information regarding nearly every subject is widely available at the click of a button, one would think that Churchill should rest easy in his grave; the “average voter” has more access to knowledge than ever before, making their voting decisions far more informed than was previously the case. The purpose of voting is not to express your fidelity to a worldview. It’s not to wave a flag or paint your face in team colours; it’s not to recite slogans; it’s to produce outcomes. – [email protected]