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‘Funding grassroots to register and guard the 2023 votes remains key’

By Deborah Harry

You can never do anything in politics so long as you don’t have the funding. This is a statement uttered by many political observers. In party politics, in order to get public endorsement, a political party needs to ensure their message reaches the people, and then when it’s time to vote, the political party has to encourage it’s votes and the general public to go out and vote.

People queue early morning on July 30, 2018 at a polling station in the Harare suburb of Chitungwiza during Zimbabwe's 2018 general elections to elect the president and members of Parliament. (Photo by ALEX MCBRIDE / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX MCBRIDE/AFP/Getty Images)
People queue early morning on July 30, 2018 at a polling station in the Harare suburb of Chitungwiza during Zimbabwe’s 2018 general elections to elect the president and members of Parliament. (Photo by ALEX MCBRIDE/AFP/Getty Images)

All these statements describe what happens in an election in a democratic country, or a country like Zambia whose military refused to rig the election in favour of the then sitting president.

In the case of Zimbabwe, those of us in the opposition have to work extra hard to get people to register and vote because the Zanu regime has done it’s best to try to divide and control the opposition.

They have created a political environment that discourages people to go out and register and vote. This is why the drive to get people to register and vote is ever so important this time around.

Back to the issue of funding. Many people fail to realise the importance of having money in politics. Why do you think, Zanu is able to have a firm grip on power? Because they use state resources which they loot from the country, Zanu is able to campaign vigorously in every town and city.

They also use these state resources to bribe people in the military, judiciary and ZEC which oversees elections. In order to defeat such a dictatorship, the opposition will need to raise money to mobilise people to register and vote.

The fact of the matter is we are on our own, the only things we have in our favour are our feet and the little in our pockets so we need to make use of those. We need to mobilise young and old people to go and vote. Admittedly, that is often difficult.

For example, many people live far from registration centres but want to vote. This is where money raised from fundraisers in the opposition should come in and sponsor bus trips for voter registration in every ward in the entire country.

Some people in the diaspora are already engaged in such mobilisations, and we need to keep it up and spread the movement to every ward.

If people are not on the voters roll, they will not be able to vote the change they want in 2023 and this will be bad at the ballot. Nothing is more important now than voters’ registration, let’s focus on that.

Deborah Harry is the Organising Secretary of the MDCA (Reading Branch, UK)

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