A LARGE number of Zimbabwe-born Witsies will not be able to cast their votes in what is supposed to be a watershed election for the country next Wednesday.
The July 31 ballot takes place only two weeks into the current university term. Many Witsies say they cannot, financially and academically, afford to travel back to their home towns and exercise their right to vote.
Zimbabwean citizens living and working in South Africa will not be able to cast their votes at the Zimbabwean embassy either, as many had hoped.
This comes after Zimbabwean Electoral Commission failed to put in place organisational measures necessary to allow Zimbabweans living South Africa to vote.
Logistics, however, are not the only reason Witsies born in Zimbabwe said they would not be voting.
Third-year BA Law, Politics and International Relations student Tapiwa Gozhore said he hadn’t registered to vote because he did not see a reason to vote.
“I believe there is no choice in the Zimbabwe elections,” Gozhore said.
A Bulawayo-born student, who did not want to give her name, said she was a registered voter but would not be crossing the border to cast her vote.
“In the last one [elections] even though I voted the results were already there, so I think it is a waste of time and money when there’s already a winner,” she said.
In Previous Times
Last month, President Robert Mugabe proclaimed the July 31 election date, citing Zimbabwe’s constitution requirement to push for elections within 30 days.
Opposition parties, mainly the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T), as well as the Southern African Development Community, pleaded for a 14 day extension to prepare for the vote, but this was rejected by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF.
Tsvangirai told the New African magazine: “President Robert Mugabe has proceeded to pass unlawful decree enacting on his own amendments to the Electoral Act.”
Bulawayo-born Langa Moyo, Masters Engineering, told Wits Vvuvzela that he had also not registered to vote.
“The time frame wasn’t good enough for me. It [registration] was a rushed thing. You know the opposition and everyone was trying to extend the dates, and the ZANU-PF guys were trying to make sure elections come as early as possible. Everyone was confused about whether to go to Zim now, or should I go later to register.”
Witsie Cassian Mavhaire said he had no plans of returning to Zimababwe because there were no opportunities for graduates in the country.
Mavhaire said Mugabe was the bad guy and MDC-T were the good guys.
“The best situation is for the unity government to be in place rather than for us to have a one-party government,” he said.
Gozhore said he did not see a reason for elections at all in Zimbabwe. He said people were supporting opposition parties only because they despised ZANU-PF.
“For me that’s not a democratic country…People should vote based on choice, so that I vote for MDC because I don’t like ZANU-PF, but I vote for MDC because they have policies that will develop our country for the next 30 years.”