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A vote not cast, is a future lost

SOME citizens think that voting is a waste of time. Many a time, these people don’t think that their circumstances can be changed by voting because of the assumption that associates politics with dirtiness.

Bad things sometimes happen in politics, but we can still confidently argue in this opinion piece that politics is not always dirty. Rather, it is politicians who sometimes make it dirty.

The opportunity to vote by eligible voters should not be missed as it comes with attendant benefits for the electorate and for democracy in general.

It is the object of this opinion piece to convey to the readership the message that a vote not cast translates to a future lost.

When citizens think that voting is a futile exercise, they unwittingly give up their right to political participation and those who decide to vote will determine the legal and policy framework for them through descriptive representation.

The authors of this opinion piece believes that the decision to give up on voting under the perception of nothing coming out of Denmark approximates a passive political culture.

A passive political culture is not good for democracy and nation building because it may lead to political leaders not being accountable to people that they lead.

Birds have not stopped singing because of lack of listenership and to that effect it is our duty and obligation to remind the electorate that the right to vote should be taken seriously.

Voter apathy undermines the whole concept of democracy and it is also an insult to those who fought hard for the one man/woman one vote.

As people vote, they elect into office their representatives that would serve as their conveyer belts for communicating their needs in the matrix of governance. Voting is a powerful tool which influences public policy.

Good governance and accountability by those in leadership can only be guaranteed when there is a consciousness by the leadership of a people with an active political culture.

When citizens decide to exercise their right to vote, they should first of all consider the value systems and principles that they would want advanced by their political leaders in various institutions to which they would be deployed.

It is important to have a tooth-pick analysis of the personality and technocratic capacity of the person you would want to vote for. Some of the things to consider are the levels of both soft and hardware support that the person has contributed towards the growth and development of his or her community or country.

For example, in Singapore it is generally believed that appointing a technocrat to be a Cabinet minister is more effective because he or she can easily be turned into a politician than getting a non-technocrat who can never be turned into any expert by power.

The above approach can be productive considering that the deployment of human capital to governance structures is powerful in that the nation ends up with a crop of politicians who have both craft-literacy and craft-competence to manage the affairs of the country. Today Singapore’s unemployment rate stands at 1,8% because every needle has been put in its right place in terms of the governance architecture.

The right to political participation should not be under-utilised, especially in Zimbabwe where upward of 70% of the people are in the informal economy.

The informal economy is largely not healthy for the country because informal businesses are neither registered, recognised, protected nor regulated under labour legislation.

Essentially, informality does not come with any social protection and often thrives in disarticulated economies. When businesses are not registered, the country loses out on taxes.

Those in the informal economy can enjoy social protection or security through voting and advocating for the regularisation of their businesses. Informality generates an unbanked economy.

An unbanked economy does not create employment opportunities for citizens because a government thrives on taxes that are largely realised out of a formal economy.

Arguably, when a small population is in employment, revenue collection for the government becomes lean thereby pushing it to the wall in terms of addressing macro-economic fundamentals.

For those who pay taxes to the government, it is worth noting that there cannot be any taxation without representation.

When President Emmerson Mnangagwa said: “The voice of the people, is the voice of God” he was merely reminding Zimbabweans that their participation in the governance of their country is sacrosanct and within that same breath he was also cajoling every Zimbabwean to go and vote, because voting represents the voice of the people.

Even the mantra, “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo” that has been popularised by the President, is also a reminder to the citizens of Zimbabwe to participate in the affairs of their country.

Conversely, “Nyika inogonazve kuputswa nevene vayo” this implies that those who decide to take a back seat in the affairs of their country can equally bring it down.

By extension, deciding not to vote translates to destroying one’s country because the collective good of any country is seen through collective participation and efforts of its citizens.

Collective participation by people through active broader political participation and voting in particular will send a very clear message to political leaders that the people are watching.

Those who choose not to vote may do so because it is within their rights to do that, but they should not complain or cry foul when decisions that are at tangent with their expectations are made. Above all, the right to political participation and voting came through sweat and blood, therefore, it must be enjoyed to the fullest.

Nicholas Aribino and Cyprian Muchemwa write here in their personal capacities

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