Ever heard of a cartoon character winning a real election? A real presidential election! It happened in Argentina in 2001. People were so fed up with corrupt politicians that they opted to vote for a cartoon character called Clemente which walked away with 40 percent of the vote.
Clemente was a popular but particularly pathetic-looking cartoon character resembling a wingless, armless bumblebee, or featherless bird.
Argentines voted for Clemente because the cartoon character had no arms. They reasoned that the cartoon character was “the only politician who won’t rob us because he doesn’t have arms”.
And how did they do it? They drew the cartoon character on their ballot papers on voting day, a clear demonstration to the politicians that people were fed up and would rather vote for no one than for “crooks”.
Given that choice in tomorrow’s elections facebook character Baba Jukwa could win the elections. The mysterious character who claims to be a disgruntled Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front insider had 299 991 likes last night.
This was more than the total votes third-placed presidential candidate Simba Makoni polled in 2008. Makoni got 207 470 votes.
Baba Jukwa had more likes than the leading contenders Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe polled in Harare. They got a total of 288 381 votes with Mugabe’s share at only 61 215.
If the support bases of the two leading candidates have not changed, Mugabe only needs to narrow his losses in Harare and Manicaland to win.
In 2008 Tsvangirai got more than 36 percent of his votes in the two provinces garnering a total of 439 195 votes.
This was more than the total votes Mugabe got in six of the country’s 10 provinces. Mugabe’s votes for Bulawayo, Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Matebeleland North and Matebeleland South only totalled 437 636.
But he lost to Tsvangirai by only115 832 votes.
If Mugabe’s plea for bhora mugedhe has been heeded, then he could beat Tsvangirai because in 2008 Mugabe’s parliamentarians got more votes than Tsvangirai’s.
But most importantly, the Argentines voted for a cartoon character because of economic hardships. This was the same for Zimbabweans in 2008. People wanted Mugabe out because of the economic collapse.
Things are different today, but the race is still wide open.