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Opinion / Columnist

Zimbabweans deserve substance, not show

20 Mar 2018 at 10:00hrs | Views
Sometimes we Zimbabweans are left wondering if Nelson Chamisa is auditioning for a reality show rather than campaigning to be president of our republic.

Only a couple of days ago, 'Pastor' Chamisa said he would like to turn Victoria Falls into Las Vegas. That a person who prides himself on his strong Christianity would want to turn one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a sight which breathtakingly leads visitors to a Godly experience into a den of sin, debauchery and gambling, speaks volumes about his deep set beliefs.

So far, apart from some wild statements about turning our country into a casino, there have been almost no substantive policies or vision from the admittedly dapper and charismatic MDC leader.

Whenever he is interviewed, one can almost play bingo with the amount of times he mentions how young he is and how much older is his opponent, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

When asked in a recent TV interview to explain his political outlook and vision, Chamisa's response was that the president "doesn't have the energy of young people." He repeated this formula at least four other times in the interview which only lasted a few minutes. He didn't once enter into any type of vision for Zimbabwe or its citizens, even though he had an audience desperate to hear it.

That he fastidiously avoids any substance displays the shallowness of Chamisa's ambition.
Therefore, it is no surprise that yesterday he challenged the president to a TV debate.

Those of us who have watched presidential TV debates from around the globe know they can be great spectacles and shows. The sniping, the back-handed compliments, the stage-managed entrances and exits, are all great for viewing figures. However,far too frequently democracy and the right to make an informed decision with one's vote are the biggest victims.

Presidential TV debates are all about the show and no substance. They are all about who has the better 'gift of the gab'.

Quite frankly I don't care who has the better one-liners. If I wanted zinging one-liners at someone's expense I would go to a comedy club, I certainly wouldn't choose the purveyor as my president, commander-in-chief or head diplomat.

No, a TV debate tells us little that should inform our decision.

We have been given a precious gift in theseupcoming open, free and fair elections, and we dare not waste it on who has the sharpest suit, the widest smile or the tackiest lines.
This is not Miss World.

These are extremely serious elections which can define the future of a new Zimbabwe. We need to hear from the respected leaders' clear and in-depth policies on the economy, jobs, housing and health issues, among other issues which deeply affect us.

We did not take to the streets in November, potentially risking our lives in a peaceful revolution against dictatorship to have it replaced with a game show of the lowest denominator.

Democracy is a gift we have waited many decades for. It is not an absence of dictatorship but an opportunity for us, the people, to elect a leader we believe most reflects our ambitions and hopes.

For that we need to understand where each of the candidate's stands on the issues.
We need substance over style. We need a leader over a showman.

A TV presidential debate will give us the latter, whereas Zimbabweans are desperately crying out for the former.

Source - Charles (Student), Bulawayo
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