SINCE 1980, there has never been an election likely to be more decisive about the country’s future than that of July 31.
What makes this election unique and so defining are the possibilities it presents and the challenges it also reflects.
Against the background of a disputed election in 2008, this election presents the country with an opportunity to correct that discredited patch of history.
This election also ultimately provides the scope through which the country will either retire the coalition government era or enter yet another similar cycle.
The inclusive government provided some semblance of power sharing characterised by power contestations.
Although political stability returned to the country during this phase, the lack of decisive government policy and subsequent development was arrested by the lack of trust among partners in government, lack of coherent ideological approaches to national development and political positioning for the next election period.
This election therefore provides that opportunity to elect a substantive government, which will pursue national developmental policies without the hesitation or gridlock caused by “forced” power-sharing.
The country also sees this election as able to repair the historical damage of the long years of political conflict and restore the economy back on a development and post-conflict recovery path.
The implications of this election are not only domestic, but foreign as well.
Zimbabwe has for long been isolated by sanction measures passed by members of the international community.
The county has also failed to play its role in the politico-economic landscape in the Sadc region and on the continent, as it has been regarded as a pariah State.
The election therefore presents a platform to ensure the country re-engages and takes its place in the region, the continent and the global space.
The evolution of a global village and the interconnectedness of global economies will therefore require Zimbabwe to re-enter that space for national development to emerge.
For the ordinary person, this election is about “bread and butter” issues. These aspirations can be realised, should Zimbabweans use this election to freely express their wise choices. However, they can also be forestalled should Zimbabweans be forced to vote against their will, or vote under coercion and intimidation.
This election determines whether the country moves forward, remains in abyss, or retracts into conflicts of the past.