Zimbabweans at Beitbridge border sceptical about elections

Waste of money travelling to Zimbabwe to cast vote, says one woman

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Zimbabwean youths at Beitbridge border post, who call themselves “Zalawas”, carry loads for people shopping in South Africa and charge about R100 a trip across the border. They were sceptical about anything in Zimbabwe changing due to the elections. Photo: Bernard Chiguvare

As polls open for general elections in Zimbabwe to elect the country’s President and the legislature, GroundUp spoke to Zimbabwean youths at the Beitbridge border post. Most said they will not bother crossing the border to exercise their voting rights. They were sceptical about any political change arising from Wednesday’s elections.

“This is not the first time we have witnessed the current ruling party clinging to power even though they have been voted out,” said a 23-year-old from Midlands Province.

He said he expected a repeat of the 2018 elections, when ZANU-PF officially won 52% of the vote.

He was in South Africa because he could not find a job in Zimbabwe. He washes trucks at the Limpopo truck stop.

A woman from Harare expressed a similar view. “No matter how Zimbabweans vote against the ruling ZANU-PF, results will always come in favour of ZANU-PF. So there is no need to waste money travelling to Zimbabwe to cast my vote,” she told Groundup.

For the past five years she has been doing laundry for long-haul truck drivers.

“In 2018, I voted against ZANU-PF, thinking we were going to realise a change, but that never materialised,” said another young man. He sells second hand car tyres at the border. “Now I think the best way is to join this ruling party. Maybe the party will offer us jobs.”

On Wednesday morning, as the polls open, the usually busy Beitbridge border is quiet.

2023 Zimbabwean General Election

Polls open on 23 August.
About 6.6 million Zimbabweans are registered to vote.
There are 270 members of the National Assembly and 80 members of the Senate. It is a mixed system of single-member constituencies and proportional representation.
The president is elected directly. The presidential candidate front runners are:
Emmerson Mnangagwa of ZANU–PF and president of Zimbabwe since 2017.
Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
Elisabeth Valerio of the United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA).
Sources: Zimbabwean electoral commission, Wikipedia, Al Jazeera
TOPICS:  Elections Zimbabwe

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