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Election fever : managing discussions and debates

Yesterday I was audience to a spontaneous political debate between three professional gentlemen and as their discussion progressed I could sense  its rapid deterioration into something they never intended it to be . It was only after they returned to the core business and purpose of their congregating that tempers began to subside much to my relief let alone amusement . This brief but tense eventuality, or should I call it drama , set me on a thought process hence my commitment to pen this article down .
As the nation of Zimbabwe steadily gallops towards the 8th election in its history of independence , it is common knowledge that more of the likes of the scenario I gave a rendition of above will occur and some unfortunately will not be privileged to end in the restrained manner my colleagues ended theirs . Most will degenerate into exchange of irretrievable words , some into physical contact and others even in the loss of valuable lives simply because people differ in opinions , views and appreciation of political matters and how they should be governed . Differences in opinion should not be allowed to escalate to levels where we begin to have less regard for human life or of one another .
A good example is the institution of marriage where husband and wife are very much in love with each other and one can not do without the other . That does not mean they agree in all things . As independent individuals they are bound to differ on one or two issues . Their opinions on such issues  can be at tangent but that does not become the nucleus of their marriage . They will still come together and embrace each other , reminding each other of the strong bond of love between them sometimes not even taking cognisance of those differences but focusing on the great family that necessitated their union .

I felt that I could put a few points down which can help us as we gain momentum in the direction of election period and as time is fast being eroded in favour of the few critical days we so consciously or unconsciously anticipate and surrender our anxieties , emotions to . Political elections  always have the paradoxical tendency to squeeze out the best or the worst in the electorate and also in those they rally behind as a support base . Every second conversation on the streets , in public transport or in offices has inclinations towards these elections therefore it is worthwhile to give them the analytical attention due to them . For the next eighteen or so months election talk is going to be the axis on which much of our daily conversation revolve . The few days of the electoral process may seemingly be far but you will be amazed to know that there already is a strong under current of preparatory activities at play  Therefore , discussions  which may culminate into debates are inevitable .

Unguided debates are fissile  and must always be watched, kept low tone  and be controllable should they show signs of going a little over the border line of just talk . One inappropriate word can spark tremendous responses and reactions whose consequences can be dire . Be warned that discussions or debates may not crop up between pronounced or known antagonists but even between colleagues whose political affiliations are vague if existent at all .
If you happen to be the second party in any political debate be absolutely certain you are well able to control and manage your temper incase insults are hurled at you at any point of the discussion . Be sure you are not irritable and above all you are a good listener who allows the other to speak and express their opinions before you can speak and express yours .

If you happen to be audience to such discussions please keep your reactions and comments neutral and even if what has been uttered is humorous and you cannot hold your laughter , laugh graciously . Laughing uncontrollably or mockingly may induce feelings of defeat in one of the parties and such shift of emotion is potent with danger.

Engaging in or pursuing political discussions under the influence of alcohol or any form of intoxication is not a great idea . It is a known fact that decisions made , words spoken or actions taken in these circumstances are often regrettable . If you are unsure about yourself it is recommended that during this period of election hype , you opt to stay and have your alcohol at home as one irresponsible substance  induced utterance may infuriate others who may not be cognisant of your temporary condition and the ends of such encounters may not be pleasant.

Never be influenced into violence or be forced into delivering a blow on someone as it may be your contact that will administer the blow of death on a victim and the whole matter will rest on you as the perpetrator of a murder and leave you facing the noose .

All been said and done , all along we have lived in harmony in the midst of our differences of skin colour , tribes ,origins, opinion , educational levels , food and clothing preferences to mention but a few amongst many others . Surely we can go a step further and also include our political differences on this list .
Yes , politics does play a major role in our lives and is a determinant of a number of outcomes pertaining us but it is not worth disrespecting each other or degrading another’s worth as a human being . The men and women we seek to assist in retaining and for some gaining positions of power must sell themselves well to the electorate and leave us without a shred of doubt that they will deliver what they promise . That is what will earn them our vote . None of them is worth a drop of another man’s blood or life . Let them be the voice whose principles we expound only if they are reasonable and of ultimate benefit to the prosperity and well being of our great nation of Zimbabwe . When their talk begins to deviate from the core business of politics which is the nation , red flags must go up in your senses .

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About Robert Mutryasira