The Zimbabwean electorate faces what could be a watershed presidential election run-off next week – but the ballot has been marred by increasingly deadly political violence which the government is accused of engineering, leading the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to consider boycotting the poll.
Some 80 MDC supporters have died and more than 2,000 people have been hospitalized. President Mugabe in addition has vowed never to relinquish power even if he loses the election to Tsvangirai.
What remains to be seen – if the election indeed takes place on schedule – is whether Zimbabwean voters – in particular in the rural
areas that have taken the brunt of the beatings, torture and murders – are
prepared to go back to the polls next Friday to cast their ballots despite the
For perspective reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to veteran journalist and weekly Standard Deputy Editor Bill Saidi, and political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya. Saidi said the electorate stands ready – but it is not clear whether Zimbabweans will be allowed to vote in peace.