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Zimbabweans Living in South Africa Speak Out on Elections

  • Benedict Nhlapho

Police officers carry a man as they conduct a raid on the Central Methodist Church in downtown Johannesburg (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Police officers carry a man as they conduct a raid on the Central Methodist Church in downtown Johannesburg (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

The recent confirmation by the Constitutional Court that elections be held July 31 has evoked mixed feelings among Zimbabweans living in South Africa.

Those who frown at the polls argue that lack of reforms may lead to election violence while others who are all for the polls say it is high time a people-chosen government took over the reins of power.

They argue that the shaky coalition government did its best but was bogged down by arguments most of the time.

It is an election that has been referred to as a make or break by some while others prefer to call it a do a die.

People knew one day an election would be called to end the unity government but there are many who prefer the stability and peace brought about by the shaky coalition remain.

The upcoming poll has, as a result, have evoked different emotions among Zimbabweans in South Africa.

Washy Mabizela cannot hide his excitement over the election day that is just around the corner.

“I have checked and found out that my name is still there, so definitely before July 31, I will go home and cast my vote. I will try to go even on the 29th of this month so that l avoid being late and end up failing to cast my vote,” said Mabizela.

However, the tainted history of elections in Zimbabwe has forced others like Peter Mhaka not to bother about participating in the vote.

“No! No. l am not planning to go home at all. For me it’s pointless to go and vote anyway, last two elections I was there l didn’t even participate. It just happened. I don’t see how my vote was going to change much really,” said Mhaka.

But other diasporans like Malume Ndlovu, are not mincing their words on what kind of elections they expect on the July 31.

“The only thing what we are looking for, free and fair election. If it’s do like that we can go back where we come from. This country is not our country it’s somebody’s country. We stay here because we are getting the job we are working for, time being, but in future we have to go our country,” Ndlovu.

Journalist Stanley Karombo says many Zimbabweans are overwhelmed by anxiety about the coming elections, especially victims of the 2008 election violence.
However, he admits that some are ready to make sacrifices with the hope that their vote might end their suffering.

“Change for Zimbabweans is vital because they expect a change of their life. It’s a do or die. Whether (Morgan) Tsvangirai or (Robert) Mugabe wins, now they are saying it doesn’t matter, but they want to vote and forget about elections, because we can’t be in an election mood forever,” Karombo.

Denis Nyakura says he is thrilled by the thought that by this time next month, Zimbabwe will be in the hands of a new government, chosen by the people.
Nyakura is very clear about the kind of Zimbabwe he wants to see after the elections.

“A better Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe for everyone, not a Zimbabwe for one sided party, whereby this one beats this one. A quiet Zimbabwe, prosperous Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe can grow up, more than what it used to be.”

And South African national Haseena Hans has a passionate plea to make to Zimbabweans both in and outside the country.

"What does it cost, standing in a line for about a day trying to make change? You can’t establish something unless you try, so trying to go out there and making that change, by voting, is at least a step forward."

As political parties go out in full force in a last minute attempt to gunner more votes, there is no doubt that diasporans in south Africa and Botswana are also preparing to participate in their numbers, hoping the results will open a new page and mark the beginning of their long-awaited relocation back to their homeland.