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Lessons from Zambia: Elections are won on the ground not on social media

Lessons from Zambia: Elections are won on the ground not on social media

By Shamiso Ndangana

Human rights activist Abigale Mupambi says the recently held Zambian elections should be a lesson to Zimbabweans that elections are not won on social media but are won on the ground.

Zambia held elections on the 12th of August in which the opposition party romped to victory.

In an interview on OpenParly In-depth, Mupambi said she was following the Zambian elections and drew a lot of lessons.

“I was following events on the participation of masses in the midst of Covid-19 in Zambia. Elections are not won on social media; elections are won on the ground.

“So, these are lessons that we are drawing everyday as Zimbabweans. We also noted in particular that we saw a good loser and a good winner that’s in Zambian.

“What do we mean, we know it’s a game, it’s an issue of power, it’s an issue at the end of the day of masses on the ground. So, we need good losers and good winners like what we saw in Zambia,” she said.

Zambian elections gave hope to opposition

According to Mupambi Zimbabweans were excited the same in the same manner with Zambians because it gave hope that oppositions can win elections.

“We have seen a lot of excitement and incitement and different reactions around the Zambian Elections in particular l noted that there was this hype particularly in the opposition cycle and it was like the Zimbabwean opposition is almost winning the Zambian Elections. So, this is how it was happening. Of course, it speaks to this hope that our problems brought forward by the Zambian Elections that it’s possible the opposition can win the elections in Africa.

“The ruling can maintain power in Africa.  It’s quite another narrative that we have seen, and you can agree with me that as we talk about what we are learning about the elections in Africa, we’ve got these issues of bias, violence, we’ve issues of manipulation but it’s possible and l want to say as we draw even closer, the message out there is that people win elections.

“Even the outgoing President Edgar Lungu accepting the outcomes hard as it may sound. It is a game of the people so it’s an awakening call for Zimbabweans. It’s an awakening call for politicians adhere in Zimbabwe to say at end of the day it’s not your ball. It’s a ball for the people.

‘’If you lose, we need good losers and we need good winners so that we can take the nation forward. The issue must all be about the people on the ground the Zambians in the streets. The Zimbabweans right in the streets of Harare and somewhere in the rural areas. We Zimbabweans have already drawn some lessons from Zambian election,” she said.

Youth participation was encouraging

Speaking on the same issue, Ian Goredema the Electoral Observation Manager at the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said the participation of youths in Zambia was very encouraging.

“It’s quite encouraging as we looked at the demographics. You would see that it was predominantly the youthful that were in line ready to cast their votes and we are seeing Less and less of youth showing up on election days and yet it matters because if we look at the people who are supposed to be eligible to cast their votes in any of those given countries, the youth ought to be the ones in the majority  and we are not necessarily seeing them,” he said.

Lessons from Zambia: Elections are won on the ground not on social media

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