By Tapiwa Mubonderi
Advocate Fadzayi Mahere has offered herself as candidate for the Mount Pleasant Constituency parliamentary seat. There was a lot of grumbling by various people on social media with a lot of people decrying her decision to stand as an independent. MDCT supporters feel this move takes away from their big tent approach which is consolidation of all opposition forces against ZANU (PF)
What we have is a case of people feeling spurned because Advocate Mahere has come into the public sphere and led spirited efforts at active citizenship. Her energy and profile will be a boon to any political organization and she has decided to bank on the strength of her personality. She made an analysis of the available political parties and felt that their ideas do not resonate with hers. This is the main reason they are not happy with her as they feel she is not endorsing their political affiliations and is not interested in joining them.
If our political parties were to view giving people the best candidates for the constituencies rather than filling seats with party members. There would be merit in making a deal with Advocate Mahere and not contesting in that constituency and allowing her to represent the constituency. Idea wise she is better than the incumbent Member of Parliament Honourable Jaisson Passade and the former Member of Parliament Honourable Jameson Timba. However the partisanship and polarization in our society takes away the merit of such mioves. Some people were criticizing her Father’s history as senior government official, saying it makes her a ZANU (PF) product. There is nothing wrong with associating with ZANU
Established political parties have got structures that will guarantee them competitiveness in elections. A lot of commentators were questioning the chances of an independent candidate succeeding but the facts the Mount Pleasant Constituency is in an area with a high level of social media penetration and this should enable her to run a viable political campaign. Traditional ways of communication and canvassing for support have been supplanted and her idea to engage volunteers and do campaign outreach efforts should give her good prospects of winning.
For our systems to work better our people need to stop being beholden to political parties, in cases where my preferred political party chooses to field a figurative monkey to represent me in my constituency. The logical thing is to select the best candidate available. Big political parties can recover from electoral losses and such decisions will enable them to field better caliber candidates in future. During election time it is worrying that when analyzing candidates there is little focus on type of candidates lining up there is just the focus on parties and a lot of proverbial goat skinners get put in positions of authority. When things like this happen my area suffers for it and voters should be more discerning instead of engaging in blind partisanship.
The merits for Advocate Mahere offering herself as a parliamentary candidate are that she has made several public overtures to change mindsets and highlight shortcomings in our society. Her professional background shows that this is a person who is not just being opportunistic, but is cogniscant of the challenge she has taken on. Her articulation of points of law will be useful in the business of the legislature. Our legislature and main political parties are not short of legal skills and this is what makes her position admirable is she chose to show case herself and not ride on political party support. She could be an objective voice in deliberations in the August house.
What she is offering the constituency will be interesting to learn. Her biggest pitfall is targeting a constituency before the delimitation exercise as the current constituency boundaries may be redefined. This stance she has taken up is commendable as she is offering herself for public office and willing to participate in the corridors of power to make a change. We need more people taking up the challenge to contest for political office and active participation. This polarized and divisive zero sum approach based on interests of the big political parties will not improve our national processes. In this instance it will be good for the underdog to prevail.