A country at a crossroads

Sinqobile Tessa
L-R: Chamisa & Mnangagwa

I had a good time covering the elections last week and my expectations, (or perhaps that should be hopes) like those of many, were that there would be change in Zimbabwe.

Alas, history repeated itself.

Please allow me dear reader to air my views, not as a journalist who should be apolitical but as an ordinary citizen who is facing challenges and daily struggles of living in Zimbabwe.

Before I do that, let me share my brief on covering elections.

I stay in Figtree, a farming community 40kms outside Bulawayo and could have started my coverage in my home ground but I reckoned it would not be interesting as it is a small place and people would just be trickling into the polling station.

So I drove to the hot spot, Cowdry Park in Bulawayo, the biggest high density suburb in the city, which was more of a high-profile constituency because of Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube, who was contesting to be a Member of Parliament there.

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There were already long winding queues when I arrived just before 7am. People were clearly eager to cast their ballot and when a group of young men realised I was a scribe, they struck-up a conversation.

“We are here to fix the country,” stated one. “Change my sister, we want change,” declared another, with a third adding, “Mthuli doesn’t stand a chance here even with his wifi!”

Ncube had done a lot for the area during his campaign, including providing free wifi. President Emmerson Mngangagwa had also held a rally in the area and dished out refreshments, but in the end the voters cast their ballot in favour of the opposition, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

Even as I drove around various polling stations in the city, the sentiments were the same: people were tired and hungry for change.

True to their words, the opposition prevailed in the city, winning all 12 parliamentary seats available.

But of course this was after many had waited several hours to vote as there were no ballot papers in some areas, which turned out to be the trend in Harare and some parts of Manicaland.

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It was a trend that was heavily criticised by SADC and other observer missions, who have called the election ‘a sham’.

But even as the odds seemed stacked against them, it looked as though the winds of change were blowing in Zimbabwe, just as they had done in Zambia and Malawi recently.

However, when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced the results just after midnight on Saturday, the status quo had not changed, ZanuPF were declared victorious.

The opposition is having none of it!

Now the question is: what next for Zimbabwe following the disputed election and the rejected results by the opposition?

Of course the main opposition, CCC, has called for a re-run asserting that the election was flawed as pointed out by observer missions mainly SADC, which was the first to raise a red flag.

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They also want to approach the courts, which will likely be a waste of time and money judging from past experiences.

The unfortunate part is that ZanuPF and President Mnangagwa, 80, claimed victory with no reservations and with no shame, suggesting that to them, criticism around the election is nothing but unnecessary noise.

But then again, can they withstand the pressure from SADC and international community and can they afford the isolation? One wouldn’t have thought so!

As a hopeful people, we will not lose hope that a solution will be found and that in the end the will of majority will prevail and that Zimbabwe will prosper again for the good of the people.

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