Zimbabwe Has Voted

DEMOCRACY UNDER MUGABE’S RULEYesterday Zimbabweans took to polling stations to take part in presidential elections with the main candidates being President Robert Mugabe, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and independent runner Simba Makoni. Just how free and fair the elections were is something that had been put into question well before voting began. There are a number of issues that have been brought up to question the elections such as, the use of cardboard ballot boxes vs. translucent ones, the inclusion of deceased people on electoral rolls. allegations of vote rigging by Zanu PF with the help of an Israeli firm, people resettled by Mugabe being forced to vote for him or risk losing the land they were gifted, the fact that there are considerably more ballot papers than there are voters and the list goes on.

The online version of the government owned daily paper The Zimbabwe Herald paints a slightly different pro Zanu picture of the situation in Zimbabwe. The government took steps to make sure that they did not get the wrong (or should I say right) kinds of journalists covering the elections. Most western journalists who wished to cover the elections as well as local freelance journalists such as Hopewell Chin’ono were denied accreditation by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission from covering the elections. I for one was looking forward to Hopewell’s coverage after watching his documentary on HIV/AIDS, Pain In My Heart.

This weekend all eyes will be on Zimbabwe and it will be very interesting to see how things turn out when the preliminary results are released on Monday. Whatever the case may be, my hopes are that Mugabe’s reign comes to an end. He has played a big part in the deterioration of the country’s economic, social and political standing and hasn’t taken notable steps to rectify the situation. As for the other candidates, I am not so sure about Tsvangirai as a president due to all of the disagreement and confusion shown within MDC. As for Simba Makoni, even though he was once a member of Mugabe’s regime he may just be the person to get Zimbabwe back on its feet and on to its long road to recovery.

On a further note to election related events, individuals here in New Zealand some of whom have close ties to MDC organised mock elections in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch which also to place on the 29th (click here for ONE News coverage). Zimbabwean citizens were invited to vote and do their bit to try and get rid of Mugabe. What this will aid in I do not know because it will not have an impact on events taking place where it really counts, Zimbabwe.

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