Aspiring Member of Parliament for Mount Pleasant and Advocate, Fadzayi Mahere last Sunday urged Christians to get involved in the political process and elect candidates of their preference in the approaching general election as God would not be coming down from heaven to take up the Presidential suite.
Addressing tens of believers at ONEchurch in Avondale in a free-wheeling question-and-answer session dubbed Responsible Citizenship: Q&A Session with Fadzayi Mahere, Mahere, 32, said she was delighted to be welcomed by the Church to talk about something she is passionate about and that she was keen to hear what the parish have to say on civic responsibilities and the elections processes.
Breaking the ice, Mahere stressed out that while it is certainly imperative for Christians to pray and fast for the country, it is bounteously fundamental if they could indeed take part in casting ballots for their desired candidates.
‘As Christians, I’ll say that this is important that we pray, it’s important that we fast. It’s important that we read the Word. But no matter even if we fast for 365 days, God is not going to come down from Heaven to occupy Munhumutapa Buiding and become President of this country, send his Angels Gabriel and Michael to be MPs of MT Pleasant Constituency. He works through people and once we accept that God works through people. once we accept that we’d like leaders of integrity, once we accept that we want a strong value system, a good moral compass infecting our governance and politics, then we see very clearly the need for us to participate, including to vote,’ she said.
She appealed to those who have not registered to vote to do so urgently as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is still running the registration and will only close two days after the President issues the poll date, which she is assured will be shortly if the Constitution has anything to go by.
Responding to one believer who asked if she is contented with ZEC electoral reforms and if she will do anything in her capacity to assure that people have a free, fair and credible election, Fadzi said:
‘The legislation that’s in place is a technical fix for deeper problems that we already have. It’s not always the case that we have the problem with the Law. So, for example, that the state broadcaster has to give everybody a fair chance on TV, that, for example, everybody should be able to access the voters roll upon paying a fee, that’s already part of our law. I think where my concern lies is the political will to follow through and enforce and implement those laws. I think that where my reticence is.’
She added that her legal team is pursuing to engage ZEC to make sure that interested parties in the elections have access to the voters roll as it should not only be a preserve for international organisations.
Mahere stated that given the well-documented electoral malpractices which have been commonplace in the past decades, citizens have to entirely do more to defend the vote, most vitally shunning violent conducts.
‘I think we really need to do everything we can to defend the vote to ensure that we do not have the same problems we have in the past. What we can do as citizens are to do whatever we can to ensure that there is no violence wherever we are,’
she said, adding that the election period is a season for hope and inspiration, not hurting each other.
On whether she believes in the separation of church and state, and if elected how she will be able to maintain parallelism between her Christian values and political pressure, the legal practitioner responded:
‘I think that if we have a state with no God, no godly principles I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing. I do think it’s important sometimes for us to value integrity, honesty, lack of corruption, you know. I think Christian, Christianity offers so much guidance on how that can be done. That said, as a constitutional lawyer I think it’s important people of all religions should be welcome…For my own personal life especially, I’m guided by Christian principles. I just don’t always voice them to other people who don’t feel like practising it. People should have the right to choose. ‘
This writer also asked if she has engaged ONEchurch to further her political agenda or if it was a good deed to educate believers of their civic responsibility to which she responded;
‘Am I going to abuse the church? No.(chuckles) I think I’ll be honest to make myself a little vulnerable by saying that this is the first time I’m voting and I’m saying this as a Christian and as a lawyer, I’m saying this as a citizen.’
She said that people don’t necessarily have to vote for her but they have to participate. However, in the interest of moral proprietorship, she stated that even though it will be commendable if citizens are to vote in someone mentored by Christian values.
The advocate also strongly encouraged citizens that their civic responsibility does not end with the end of the election but goes beyond. She said that the election season is just the beginning of a long haul and that citizens should regularly follow up on developments in their areas and continue to put public pressure on the elected members.
Mahere admonished against standing aloof under the impression that politics is a dirty game as it is such and other tendencies that produce power-abusing politicians and dictatorship.