Free and Fair elections

| Nwabisa Pondoyi
Zimbabwean immigrants protest outside parliament for free and fair elections. Photo by Nwabisa Pondoyi.

Five years after violence marred the last elections, Zimbabweans are to take to the polls on the 31 July. The question is: will it be a free and fair election?

On 25 July, People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty [PASOP] organised a peaceful protest of about 20 people outside Parliament in Cape Town. They demanded free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans come to South Africa for a number of reasons. Some come to seek refuge from discrimination and some come to find work. Their reasons might differ but they’re all looking for something better.

Maria Moses, a Zimbabwean citizen, said, “Because of the economic collapse and political repression in our country, some of us had to leave our families, comfortable houses and come to a country that we don’t know, do jobs that we are not qualified to do, and live in shacks to support our families.”

Keith Pukkie, a gay activist from PASSOP, said: “I want to vote for someone who is going to stand up for my rights not infringe them. I am gay and I can’t stay in my own country because gays are not allowed. If I am not allowed in my own country where am I supposed to go?”.

Anthony Mthethi, community liaison officer from PASSOP, said: “This protest stirred up after finding out that because of the chaotic system under Zanu-PF nearly 26,000 police and soldiers were unable to take part in the [July 14 and 15] special vote.”

“The Zimbabwean government needs to realise that the international community is watching,” said Mthethi. “One might think protesting in South Africa is pointless, but the truth is if we don’t protest here then our problems [Zimbabwean] will become SA’s problems because this is where we run to”.

Themba Speelman, a self-employed man and member of the ANC, said: “ANC ward 63 Wynberg has been in partnership with PASSOP in the past for resolving issues and we are here today to give solidarity because we don’t want a repeat of what happened in 2008.”

Mthethi said: “We have confidence that what happened in 2008 will never happen again.”

About the election, Moses said, “Every vote counts and every vote is an expression of how we feel about the current political situation in Zimbabwe.”

TOPICS:  Elections Human Rights Immigration Zimbabwe

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