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Reply to Mutsa Murenje – Why Independent candidates are wasting our time

By Richard Chimba

On July 4 2017, Mutsa Murenje’s opinion titled Why Independent Candidates Are Wasting Our Timewas published.  It looked like an appropriate topic to educate the public as the 2018 elections draw near so, I eagerly read the article seeking information for reference as I decide who to vote for next year.

Advocate Fadzayi Mahere
Advocate Fadzayi Mahere

The article seemed to be directed towards Nkosana Moyo and Fadzayi Mahere who recently announced their candidature in the 2018 elections as independent runners.  The two have been criticised and applauded various stakeholders but that is to be expected in any system with democratic semblance.

Murenje said the article would credit criticism towards independent candidates but allocates three quarters of space to justifying his credentials to comment on the issue. I believe this justification was to appease his self guilt at writing a bigoted autobiography, pretending that it was political analysis.  

For example, the writer gives us a narration of his academic excellence from as early as secondary school through undergraduate studies and now at postgraduate level and after about six paragraphs of narration, Murenje says,

“He reads my writings and tells me I am more of a “Professor” than a “Dr” because I love writing. When I received a German Academic Exchange Service scholarship to read for a Master of Science in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies at the University of Ibadan’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Nigeria, I visited my brother in his then Harare office.”

“He looked beyond the qualification I had in mind and told me that there was nothing to wait for. He believed that, because of my interest in writing, I’d not have difficulties working on a doctoral disquisition. As per his ‘prophecy’, I am working on just that, having spent the past eight months in Africa.”

Only having stroked his own ego for about ten paragraphs, ending with the two above, does he seem to address the issue of independent candidates. In my opinion, this is only one way in which Murenje has wasted the readers’ time in this article.

Unfortunately, in an attempt to tackle the issue at hand, Murenje starts by awarding the political terrain in Zimbabwe to political candidates he believes “know our political terrain better.” Never have I read such vanity from a political savant of his stature.

Needless to say this is the only argument against independent candidates presented in a close to 15 paragraph write up at this point.

The article goes on and as I read Murenje’s conclusion, I noticed he had only one main point which he expressed in one sentence saying he would join politics later and to be effective, would have to join “an established political structure to aid in this regard which was a functional prerequisite which continued to be ignored by people like Fadzayi Mahere and Nkosana Moyo.”

A declaration buttressed only by many paragraphs proving the writer is learned.

We cannot accept such abuse by writers like Murenje. In a democratic process we want as many to stand up against any form of monopoly and dominance which you seem to be endorsed Murenje’s comments.

If Mahere and Moyo are mistaken, the ballot will bring them down to earth. However, Murenje’s efforts seem to be focused towards candidates rather than addressing voter apathy. What is needed in the next election is participation of the electorate who are wise enough to know castles in the sky.

Instead of riding the two entrants’ wave into the political matrix, Murenje should have just announced himself as a prospective candidate in the near future. Now we know that another scholar will join an established political party in the future, so what?

I did not see why independent candidates are wasting our time in the 2018 election and because of that I applaud Mahere and Moyo for standing up  while Murenje and like minded give ownership of the struggle to a few political actors who have disappointed over the years.

Zimbabweans lets register to contest and vote in 2018, it is our constitutional right!