Like many people across the globe, I have been riveted to the recent election coverage from Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe has had a hold on power since before I was born, and the last time he was up for reelection, I was a senior in high school. Back then, I was only beginning to discover a burgeoning interest in African affairs, and the farcical election of 2002 barely registered on my radar. During the past five years, however, I have paid increasingly close attention to the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe, watching with concern and trepidation as the country creeps ever closer towards total collapse. Despite the early warnings of election fraud, I remain hopeful that this will be the year that Mugabe will finally be forced out.
I can’t even begin to imagine what Zimbabwean citizens are feeling right now, as the election process stalls. As I wait for news, I have been digging on the internet for personal testimonies of life before and during the elections. Unlike some of the detached, analytical reports flowing from the mainstream press, these stories remind me of what is at stake for the people of Zimbabwe.
An excellent first-person account from Harare resident George Nyathi was posted on Orato yesterday. His detailed description of the voting process, and the climate of uncertainty, is extremely insightful. This is Zimbabwe continues to provide excellent daily election coverage, and the categorized blogroll is a good place to search for links to Zimbabwean bloggers covering the elections. Lastly, a BBC request for comments about the election, has produced an diverse array of responses. I’ve included several below.
The atmosphere here is very stressful, as a Zimbabwean I would like to know who my next Head of State is, but ZEC is holding the whole nation at ransom. I am not able to work or do anything before I know the result of the presidential election. Unfortunately Zimbabweans are now living in a cash economy where they must queue at banks on a daily basis to get money.
President Mugabe is a gentleman and he will leave office when all this is over. Why is it that the BBC always wants to denounce our hero? Just because he gave land to its rightful owners, refused to be a yes man to whites and told the world about the massacres being carried out by the USA and its allies all over the world. Look at Iraq, Afghanistan and some African Nations. They attack undercover saying they want to bring democracy. Is that democracy? Shame, shame, shame. Mugabe told you that you cannot teach us.
We are waiting. We dare to hope! I believe that this is the end of the line for him. We are on our way to becoming a true democracy! And if Tsvangirai can’t deliver the goods we’ll vote him out too…And I can’t tell you how good it feels to call Zanu PF the opposition party.
However people feel about the election, and whichever party they voted or didn’t vote for, Zimbabweans seem to be relying on hope and their amazing resiliency to see them through. I join with them now to hope for a better future for their country.