BY SYCORAX TIYESA NDHLOVU
Although some political parties have already declared themselves as winners in the August 11, 2016 presidential and general elections, it’s said that ‘victory remains in balance until the last minute.’ Such an expression reminds all political parties and their respective political candidates of the need to mobilize more registered voters to come in large numbers to vote for the political candidates of their choice.
For example, while campaigning in Chongwe, United Party for National Development (UPND)’s leader, Hakainde Hichilema disclosed that why he hasn’t been winning in the last four presidential elections he contested was because many of the voters who support him don’t turn up in large numbers to vote for him.
With regard to chances of winning in an election, what is true to Mr Hakainde who is commonly known as HH can also be true to any other political candidate or political party.
The former soccer commentator and ZNBC broadcaster, late Isaac Mulinda used to say: ‘Wina azalira’ meaning that in every game, there is a winner and a loser; and the latter always cries for losing. Are you planning to lose or to win in the forthcoming polls?
With Amended Constitution’s clause demanding a winning presidential candidate scooping 50 per cent plus 1 of total votes cast; and with nine presidential candidates contesting in the next elections, each presidential candidate and his or her party should work hard; or else we might lose or have a presidential re-run.
This implies that every political party and each political candidate should mobilize registered voters to turn en masse on August 11, 2016 polls to vote for political leaders of their choice.
So far, little civic education is seen in most communities. Through various print and electronic media, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is doing a lot to inform and educate voters on the importance of exercising their right to vote. But such civic education isn’t for ECZ alone. One hopes that many other civil society organizations (CSOs) are also doing a lot of civic education through public meetings and through community radio stations reminding Zambians; especially registered voters of their rights to vote for political leaders of their choice.
Therefore, each political party participating in these elections should work hard day and night using all available strategies and tactics to ensure your supporters come in large numbers to vote for you and your party presidential candidate.
It’s not helpful to assume that the civic education ECZ and others are doing is enough to attract many votes to your candidature or to your political party. ECZ speaks to the public and to registered voters in general. You should speak to and convince your supporters to make a deliberate effort to go to the polling station on that day to vote for you and your presidential candidate!
A political candidate or a party can predicate his, her or its chances of winning or losing respectively depending on available statistics.
For instance, ECZ registered close to 6million registered voters. Now count the number of registered voters in your ward, constituency or in the country for ward councellors, members of Parliament (MPs) and for presidential candidates respectively. Calculate the number of political candidates at your level(ward, constituency or presidential level). Now check the fraction or percentage that supports your candidature from the total number of registered voters in that area.
Presidential candidates should calculate such figures of registered voters who support them starting from each ward, constituency up to the national level.
Such simple calculations can help you foresee your chances of winning or losing in the forthcoming elections. Have you already done so? Are you likely to win or you are heading for a loss in the forthcoming polls?
It’s not too late to increase your votes! Just work extra hard; even in the last minutes. You might find that while the pendulum was in favour of another political candidate, lastly, from your hard work in political campaigns, voters might trek to your candidature or to your party’s presidential candidate.
This implies that political campaign teams at every level should work extremely hard. Yes.
The political campaign agents should also strive to attract more votes at the grass root levels.
Use even door-to-door political campaign strategies. But be careful. Some Zambians; especially in some regions, for whatever reasons, have become so violent that if you don’t calculate your door-to-door political campaign moves properly, you might go to a door where someone is like a wounded buffalo.
However, such are the challenges before one achieves great things. Therefore, this isn’t time for being a coward or for gossiping; or time for enjoying political campaign funds. You will enjoy more after your political candidature is successful or soon after your political party has formed government after the forthcoming elections.
Therefore, work hard. Remember the English proverb: There is no sweet without sweat.’ The Tongas say: ‘Tako tapi’ meaning just sitting idle won’t make you achieve anything. Similarly, those who aren’t campaigning vigorously, might not win in the forthcoming elections. And if this happens, don’t blame ECZ that they have manipulated the elections results in favour of your political opponent when, in real sense, you didn’t campaign aggressively to ensure that majority voters in that area vote for you or for the political candidate and the party you support.
Nonetheless, never stop praying hard when you are campaigning for any election. But pray genuinely. Don’t pray in a way of fooling God. Depending on what you have been doing to please majority voters; and how genuine your prayers are, God might answer your prayers. Always assume that your political opponents are also praying to the same God for the same blessings.
Not conducting vigorous political campaigns will make your party and your presidential candidate not to achieve 50 per cent plus 1 vote in the forthcoming polls. This might sound simple; because one might argue that if, in the first round we won’t achieve 50 per cent plus 1 threshold, there will be a re-run where we will achieve 50 per cent plus1 votes from political alliances with other parties.
Yes. There is a legal provision for a presidential re-run in a situation where and when no presidential candidate has scoops 50 per cent plus 1. But usually, presidential re-runs are characterised with more political violence than before the first round of elections.
Such a situation can create unprecedented bloodshed in the country. Therefore, when someone says every political candidate, political campaign team members and political cadres should conduct effective political campaigns, one is not only looking at the importance to ensure that you win or a political candidate you support wins; but that one is also trying to promote and sustain peace and stability through preventing presidential re-runs after the August 11, 2016 polls.
After all, winning through a presidential re-run might give an impression that majority Zambians didn’t really like you to be a republican president. Hence, work so hard that you or a presidential candidate you support wins at the first round of the forthcoming elections.
So, if you love peace and stability, work hard in mobilizing voters to ensure that one of the presidential candidate achieves 50 per cent plus 1 at the first round of such elections.
Such an achievement at first round of the August 11, 2016 polls will safeguard our lives and those of our children, brothers, sisters, parents and indeed, for those who are visually or physically challenged.
Contribute to ensuring that the aged are also safe from potential chaos after the next polls by campaigning aggressively so that there will be no presidential re-run.
Considering grave consequences of presidential re-run in the forthcoming elections, one can conclude that mobilizing voters to turn up in large numbers is a task not only for political candidates, campaign teams and ECZ but also for any patriotic and peace-loving citizen and organisation to ensure that one presidential candidate scores 50 per cent plus one votes in the first round of the August 11, 2016 polls.
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