HARARE – Does Welshman Ncube inspire optimism? Does Morgan Tsvangirai inspire hope? Both erstwhile social democrats and presidential candidates are trying to win the support of voters by de-campaigning each other.
Politics can either be about building up or tearing down. The latter approach has dominated the two candidates’ campaign against each other in recent weeks and the holiday campaigns was a new low.
Policies that will shape our future were neglected for hand-to-hand combat aimed at tearing down the character of each leader and their parties with them.
This is not to excuse their opponent President Robert Mugabe, who has previously used harsh denigration against his rivals, but has toned down during the coalition years.
But we are bewildered when Mugabe’s challengers Tsvangirai and Ncube go much too far instead of uniting against a common enemy. Ncube and Tsvangirai must know that the politics of reciprocal character assassination is twisted.
We demand debate, critical policy detail not this name-calling by pro-democracy leaders whom we expect to be talking about forming an electoral coalition.
The burning character wars are starving us the voters of oxygen.
Such dysfunctional priorities lead to public contempt for politicians.
The number of Zimbabweans trusting politicians to look after their interests is dramatically thinning.
After all their sound and fury, Tsvangirai and Ncube look set to continue unfurling these hostilities this year, an election year. Most Zimbabweans shudder at the prospect. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Tsvangirai’s vision of hope and change won office for the MDC in 2008, even the presidential vote.
The just-ended US election showed us how successful campaigners of modern times behave.
For all their differences, all conveyed messages of hope.
We want Ncube and Tsvangirai to do more to rekindle the belief that we can regain our place in the sun.
Maybe that is beyond our leaders.
It is high time Tsvangirai and Ncube threw the switch to positive, we want to see them explaining policies they have designed like JUICE and plans that fit with those values and their strategy for the nation.
They should at least try to show respect for each other, the body politic and voters.
There is no need for branding each other village politicians or privileged elites.
And if they want to win over more Zimbabweans, Tsvangirai and Ncube should try focusing on issues that matter to them.
Offer a better way forward and let voters judge leaders’ characters from their public records. That is what we hope against hope to see this year, not this name-calling. Daily News