The anti-senate faction of the MDC–that led by Morgan Tsvangirai–won the Budiriro bye-election over the weekend. In an election deemed pivotal because of surging inflation and calls by the opposition for mass protest this winter, the people clearly signalled that their loyalty is preserved for the party will best represent them. Gone are the days where glamor and glitz, violence and force can will people to vote for a party.
Budiriro is a high density suburb in the western half of Harare. It’s a typical working class suburb where the pangs of Zimbabwe’s militant inflation have been felt with little mitigation. Last week, it seemed the whole country focused in Budiriro; Mugabe and his deputy came and addressed rallies there, Mutambara attempted a “roadshow” but was rebuffed by the biased police, and after addressng a rally Tsvangirai hung around and visited people in their homes. On Saturday the people of Budiriro chose the suitor whose overtures they had appreciated most; it was Tsvangirai.
Budiriro’s citizens simply want represenation that gets them the most political mileage.
Contrary to naysayers who claims the election results portend doom for the MDC in any other elections, I was elated by the outcome. People in Zimbabwe understand the politics of the country more than we give them credit for. They saw through Mugabe’s charade which saw the aged leader come to the suburb and donate computers to high schools in the constituency. They refuted the cheap Mutambara’s attempts to pull a veil over their faces as he exploited them as stepping stone to his own fame. Mutambara’s assumption that he could dazzle people by flashing a seven car motorcade to entice them to vote for him is digusting.
They only politicians the people want are the kind that will sit down with them and get to know their problems. I think Tsvangirai did an excellent job of this in Budiriro. He stepped away from his bullish pulpit despite the success he was having addressing rallies across the country, he wanted to be with the people so he went door to door. You can’t force people to recognize authenticity, it speaks for itself.
The election victory gives the Tsvangirai momentum as we head into the winter. He has been calling on Zimbabweans to make this a winter of discontent. Things could well turn ugly for Mugabe and his regime.