The importance of the 2018 elections has seemingly diminished in the eyes of many people after the Presidency changed hands last week.
The opposition is alarmed and rightfully so, as the number of people registering to vote in next year’s elections has fallen dramatically in the last few days.
The importance of voting can never be overemphasised and there is need for both the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition parties’ members to continue registering in their numbers if next year’s elections are going to be meaningful.
For the ruling party, President Emmerson Mnangagwa needs legitimacy and needs to be his own man, hence the importance of elections.
If there is a low turnout, despite a win for him, he will be a legitimate leader, but apathy will always haunt his Presidency. Thus, he would be desperate for a huge turnout and an emphatic victory for himself.
At least the Zimbabwe Electoral Commision has indicated that three million voters have registered and there is hope that every eligible citizen will be registered ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections. Therefore, citizens must take advantage of the final phase of the blitz to run from Monday to December 19.
On the other hand, for the opposition, the job is still not yet complete.
Getting rid of former President Robert Mugabe was not the be it and end all of their existence and they should fight to remove Zanu PF.
Zanu PF may have changed leaders, but for the opposition, their call has been a change of the ruling party, as Zanu PF has been the author of the country’s problems.
Thus, the opposition need to reimagine their argument and show that, while Mugabe is gone, Zanu PF is still in power and there is need for Zimbabweans to register to get rid of the party.
It is for these reasons that elections next year and voter registration should be at the topmost of every political leader and civil society organisation’s mind.
Elections next year have gained more significance than they would ordinarily have, as the opposition’s message should now go beyond the “Mugabe must go mantra” and concentrate on issues rather than personalities.
Mnangagwa has the wind in his sails and the opposition have their work cut out if they are ever entertaining the idea to rule this country.
Hence, there is need for them to tell the electorate that with the removal of Mugabe, the job is half done and there is need for their supporters to continue registering to vote otherwise the promise of emancipation from Zanu PF would have been deferred.
The opposition will surely sweat for voters given this new dispensation. Although Mnangagwa will have the advantage of incumbency, both Zanu PF and the opposition parties must sweat it out in a free and fair poll.
Thus, it is paramount that the gospel of registering to vote for elections needs to be continuously preached so that next year’s polls are meaningful.