SURPRISINGLY FEW ZIMBABWEANS RETURN HOME TO VOTE IN FIRST POST-MUGABE GENERAL ELECTION

PRETORIA– The South African Department of Home Affairs )Interior) has expressed surprise at the low number of Zimbabweans who have gone through the Beitbridge border post in northern Limpopo province in the past few days to participate in Monday’s general electionm the first to be held in that neighbouring country since the forced retirement of former leader Robert Mugabe after 37 years at the helm.

There are three million Zimbabweans in South Africa and most of them were expected to go home to vote in their country’s historic elections Monday. Beitbridge is the main port of entry/departure after Johannesburg’s O.R Tambo International Airport and during the peak travel periods, especially during the Christmas holidays, more than 20,000 travellers are processed daily at Beitbridge.

Zimbabwean businessman Clever Dube, who currently lives in South Africa, was stationed at the Beitbridge border post to see if his fellow countrymen are really going home to vote. He says people are afraid of losing their jobs just to go and vote for a government they are not sure will fix its economy.

People are afraid to leave whatever they are doing rushing for a vote; they might lose whatever they are doing in terms of jobs.

Dube, a former freedom fighter and soldier in Zimbabwe, says allegations that former president Robert Mugabe and his supporters have formed a new party, the National Patriotic Front, and that Mugabe is financially supporting opposition party campaigns, made some Zimbabweans despondent to go and vote.

Those people who were in ZANU PF, the old ZANU PF, like President Mugabe and the crew, they formed the party NPF and Mugabe sponsored the (Opposition) MDC for the campaign, and we heard most of the people who are in the NPF they said once (MDV candidate Nelson) Chamisa wins the elections. some of the people from the NPF are going to be given posts. Most of the people were willingly with the MDC but now they do not have confidence with the MDC and also with ZANU PF the same applies.

Morris Jones, a shoemaker in Cape Town, wants to vote to bring about change in Zimbabwe. Things are tight in Zimbabwe, as you can see that people are running away from Zimbabwe looking for work, looking for money in other countries like South Africa, or Zambia. So we are now going for elections people don’t have work, all the companies are closed there is no money, there is nothing which is good in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the Home Affairs Department Director for ports of entries, Stephen van Neel, said the department was surprised by the low number of Zimbabweans going home to vote.

We are completely surprised because the number of travellers going through Beitbridge is quite low. I mean when we look at the numbers of people who travelled through the port on Thursday and Friday we had actually less than the number of people we normally get during the week compared with last Wednesday and Tuesday. It is lower numbers. That is the same as any other day that few people move through the port into Zimbabwe to go and vote.

Eleven thousand polling stattions in Zimbabwe are expected to open at 7 a.m. on Monday. More than 70,000 police personnel have been deployed all over Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Mugabe says former defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi should have succeeded him. Addressing the media outside his home in the capital, Harare, on Sunday.

In Zimbabwe’s first election since Mugabe was forced to resign last November, incumbent President EmmersonMnangagwa, Mugabe’s former ally in the ruling ZANU-PF party, faces opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the MDC.

Mugabe said he had planned to resign at the ZANU-PF congress in December last year. Let the people go and vote. Let them go and vote freely. We have had now a long list of aspirants, 23 is the number of aspirants. I must say very clearly, I can’t vote for those who have tormented me. No. I will make my choice among the other 22, added Mugabe.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK