Zimbaweans apprehensive of peacefull atmosphere ahead of polling

30 Jul 2013 05:20
By Charles Tjatindi
HARARE, 30 JUL (NAMPA) – Zimbabweans remain apprehensive of the prevailing peaceful conditions in the country as they prepare to cast their votes in the country’s general elections on Wednesday.
While appreciating the prevailing calm atmosphere in the build-up to election day on 31 July, Zimbabweans are not reading much into it.
Many regard the peaceful campaigns as the symbolic calm before the storm.
Their views might not be far-fetched, as it was only after the first round of voting in the country’s last elections in 2008 when things got out of hand.
The result of the 2008 violence, according to various reports by Amnesty International, was the killing of 200 people, 10 000 injured and 28 000 forced to flee their homes, amid a wave of politically-motivated violence across the country.
Shamiso Moyo, 36, a single mother of two children, believes that it is still too early to judge the possible outcome of the elections based on the current conditions.
Moyo told Nampa on Tuesday that while the build-up to voting day has been quiet, anything could happen, which could change the picture of the looming elections altogether.
“We fear what transpired in 2008. It was bad, very bad. No one wants to even think of the possibility of such acts of violence repeating itself. In fact, we are all so much afraid of that in such a way that we actually go about singing praise for the current peaceful atmosphere.
But deep down in our hearts, we all know that the probability of a repeat of 2008 cannot be ruled out,” she stated.
Another Zimbabwean, 28-year-old Farirai Banda noted that the fear of a break-out of violence after the polls is not uncommon in Zimbabwe.
“We fear it, we all fear it. Who wouldn’t? And if it does happen again, I fear that it could be worse this time around. We just keep on praying for better days,” Banda said on Monday.
Fierce, but peaceful campaigns between incumbent president Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T,) have taken place in last-ditch efforts to secure votes.
Mugabe, 89, is seeking re-election to extend his rule at the helm of the southern African nation against Tsvangirai, 61, and three more candidates in an election described by many as “watershed”.
Other candidates contesting the presidency are founding secretary of the MDC Welshman Ncube, 52, who leads a breakaway wing of the MDC; and former Home Affairs’ Minister Dumiso Dabengwa, 74, of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu).
Kisinoti Mukwazhe, 43, of the little-known Zimbabwe Development Party, which was formed on the eve of Zimbabwe’s 2008 polls, is also contesting in the presidency race.