Zimbabwe Elections

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything about Zimbabwe. Mostly that’s because this country is just like any other: we have flood warnings and more summer rain than we’ve been use to in the last few dry years; we have the latest songs on iTunes and the exact same problems that come with living in the 21 century as anyone else. However, in typical African fashion, we’re a bit self-involved…

What I mean by that is that our news only includes 5min of international news and even then it’s mainly based on Africa. So the world could actually collapse and we’d probably only find out about it next week. Instead we are very focused on what’s happening here, right now. One of the major things is this year’s elections.

President Robert Mugabe has been in charge of Zim since their independence 30 years ago. He may be old and rumoured to be even more ill than most people believe he’s been for years but he’s not going anywhere. A lot of people are obviously opposed to him and feel that he is unfair and wrongfully giving certain people privileges they did not earn. He’s also been hugely criticized for behaviour such as going shopping in Paris while half his country can’t afford to buy a loaf of bread. And then there’s the fact that he’s been president for 30 years even though his last 3 elections were less than above board. In the last election he ran unopposed because his adversary wanted to reduce the violence in the country and with protest in mind; he withdrew from the ‘unfair elections’. This forced the world to wake up and look. They had no choice but to step in with sanctions and the Queen of England finally revoked his knighthood a few years ago.

This is all part of resent history but let’s get back to right now. You’d think that with half the country not being able to pay their bills and no municipal water [everyone has their own bore whole] and regular power cuts/ load shedding [most people now have generators] that the citizens of Zimbabwe would be thoroughly fed up and NOT vote for Mugabe again. This is not the case! Firstly there is still a lurking gloom of intimidation, if you don’t vote for dear old Uncle Bob you die… To be honest this intimidation has reduced or at least isn’t as open as it was 10years or even 5years ago. But the fact that the previous elections were surrounded by so much violence has left that threat in the back of the minds of every citizen who wishes to rebel. This knowledge of history and desire not to repeat it or end up like the ‘rebels’ of the last decade is a far more effective scare tactic than anything the current government could come up with.

You need to remember that if the current government is over thrown or loses the election then most of the ministers and party members will be subject to charges of in-humane behaviour. It’s like they are currently still under the protection of ‘post-war’ so they can get away with bending the rules and disregarding the human life but as soon as they are no longer in charge, they will be held accountable for their actions. This provides a very strong motivation for them to remain in control!

The other important factor is the opposition party. They suck. I really can’t put it any clearer than that. I’m not a news blog, so if you want to know how exactly they have managed to become more hated than the current government, you should check out The Herald or whatever news network you prefer. I’m just here to share my view; share what the people around me feel and the things I see that you on the other side of this computer screen can’t possibly know… So the opposition party has managed to disappoint everyone and through their internal power struggle, they have managed to alienate their voters.

In Africa our loyalty lies with our families. We will do anything and everything to protect them and give them the best life possible. But that is as far as our loyalty goes, we don’t have loyalty to our governments because they have proved to misuse that trust through all of the years of corruption. We obviously have loyalty to our country and the physical land, so if a war would break out all our differences would be placed on hold and we’ll be one hell of a force to reckon with but in everyday circumstances, if our government doesn’t live up to their promises, we want them out! We don’t care who our parents voted for or what this party has done for the country in the past; we only care about now and the future. If they can’t deliver, we just won’t vote for them.

In Zimbabwe the level of ‘alleged vote rigging’ is of such a high elevation that people have lost faith in the process itself. So half of the people I know are simply not going to vote. These people are absolutely NOT supporters of the current government but since they have no intention of voting, it’s 20% of the country that Mugabe’s people win by default [if they don’t vote against him it almost counts as a vote for him]. The fact that the opposition party is in a bit of chaos and having their own power struggle is not helping them gain support from the citizens of Zimbabwe. The fear being that they are headed down the same corrupt road Mugabe chose to walk. See they are fighting about power and status within their party and Zimbabweans have seen it enough to know that once you become power hungry, you don’t go back. So far the MDC has been able to portray themselves as human rights activists who want equality for all Zim citizens but as their internal power struggle started to rear its head, people realized that they are not righteous, they are just like most other African leaders: power hungry. Obviously the current government has their fair share of in-fighting but since no one really expects anything from them, we just don’t care…

If the villain in a movie steals candy from a baby it’s not that shocking but if the hero does it, you can’t help but feel betrayed. That is where most Zimbabweans currently find themselves: trapped between hating the current conditions and feeling betrayed by the people who once offered them hope. Considering their dissolution with justice, it is no surprise that most are choosing “the evil we know above the one we don’t”. The way they see it, Mugabe has unequivocally messed up this country but it’s going better than it did 5 years ago and it’s still getting better so maybe, just maybe Mugabe isn’t that bad… The hope being that the worst is over. If they allow someone younger and someone who doesn’t really have the eyes of the world on them, to gain power like those currently on the opposition party, history could repeat itself and this country could end up going through the exact same controversy 30 years from now. That is something this country and its people will not be able to survive!

The current government has its issues but at least the people of Zim are use to their issues and can anticipate what is coming. If a new government that’s proved to be equally power hungry, steps in now, they will have new strategies and unpredictable game plans that will cause far more stress and concern to the voters. So here’s the line I’ve been dreading to write all the way through: Zanu PF can win a fair election come June. Yes, you heard me: Robert Mugabe’s government won’t have to cheat or even make threats to win this year’s election.

There really aren’t that many people left in Zimbabwe [I could give you numbers from a census done a year ago but they would be incredibly inaccurate as so many un-happy Zimbabweans have left the country already]. Those people who should be voting for the opposition because they are truly unsatisfied with the current government has left the country; those who are left and not a fan of the sitting president have spent the last 15 years being threatened or their families murdered so they’re not willing to risk their livelihood for someone less than honourable to come take his place. Most of them agree that voting for the party who threatened you is immoral but simply abstaining from voting is the closest to a protest they can reach. Basically this election the current leaders will once again run unopposed: not because their opposition is protesting but because their voters are.

It’s terribly depressing realizing that your leaders aren’t fit to lead. Whatever you’re reasons may be, not voting is not the most effective way to bring about change. But change is scary and unpredictable and unfortunately in this case, change appears to be for the worse so in an effort to reduce the usual violence that accompanies Zim elections, not voting seems to be the smartest choice…

Just sharing my view,




  1. Peoplehave often cited here that they too are choosing not to vote because of a disbelief in the system… Mind you, not nearly comparative to Africa’s reasons. I wish those people would still go in and spoil the ballots at least. I feel like it’s more of a statement of “I dont believe in this system”. Staying at home to opt out comes off as apathy, and I know many people who choose not to vote are anything but apathetic.

    Everyone thinks that their country is “just like everyone else” but then… when I travel to the US, only a few kilometres away, I feel a distinct difference in the way they do things, how they behave.. and yes.. their system.

    Thanks for linking me. 🙂

    • I agree that staying away is not the best way to bring about change but then again, I’m not the one who actually has to put my name on a ballot and choose against the current government…

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