The election waswidely condemned throughout the world as a “shame”. Worse still, the Zanu (PF) youth militia was checking residents for red ink used during the voting process in major cities on Friday, to satisfy themselves that people had heeded President Robert Mugabe’s call to vote despite the fact that he was the sole candidate in Zimbabwe’s presidential run-off poll.
Those who didn’t have the red mark on their fingers were ordered to go and cast their ballots. This happened in such areas as Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Masvingo, Kwekwe, Chinhoyi, Marondera and Bindura.
Several people, who went to cast their votes did not do so voluntarily as they feared retribution from ZANU-PF members.
“I was in the company of my husband – a soldier at 2 Brigade Barracks in Cranborne (Harare) – when the ZANU-PF youths stopped us. They immediately demanded that we show them our fingers. Unfortunately, I had not voted, so they forced me to accompany them to Sunningdale for voting.
“My husband could not believe his eyes. He tried to explain to the overzealous youths that he was in the army, but they ignored him before dragging me away,” said a 34-year-old woman.
The story was the same in the eastern border city of Mutare where about 25 residents of Sakubva and Dangabvura told CAJ News that they were forced to join the short queues in the area and cast their ballots.
“This happened in the presence of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer teams. Some youths tried to force us to a polling station about 200 metres away, but upon seeing the observer teams in the vicinity they let us free, said Tendai Mhike.
An observer from Tanzania confirmed the incident, but refused to comment further, saying he was not authorised to talk to the press.
At Tshovani Township in Chiredzi, some 200km southeast of Masvingo, five known Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists were injured following clashes with ZANU-PF youth militias, who wanted to force them to go and vote at Tshovani hall.
“I told them that I was a visitor from Sengwe communal lands, some 300 km away, but they did not listen as they kept driving us towards Tshovani hall.
“Upon arrival, and realising that there were so many observer teams to protect us, we then refused to enter the hall in the knowledge that at this point they could not do anything to us.
Fair enough, they pretended as if the war’ had ended, but a few metres away from the observer missions, they started pelting us with empty beer bottles,” said Matsuvuke Livombo.
Livombo comes from one of Zimbabwe’s remotest areas of Phukuphela in Sengwe communal lands, which is located some 50km from the Kruger National Park.
Runesu Muzhindu of Chipadze township in Bindura was another victim of Mugabe’s war veterans.
He was severely attacked shortly after coming out of the polling booth.
“The war veteran only identified as Mhizha, who retired from 4.1 Infantry Battalion about three years ago, was leading a group of the ZANU-PF youth militia in terrorising us.
“I was joking with my friends that I voted for Simba Makoni yet in fact there was a provision for two contestants in the ballot paper. This did not go down well with Mhizha, who invited his youth militia to beat up me up and my three friends,” said Muzhindu.
The voting that went ahead on Friday was widely condemned by the international community, human rights groups and civil societies, following the withdrawal of the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai from the run-off, citing widespread violence against his supporters.
But Mugabe hit back on Thursday arguing that most African nations were found wanting when it came to respecting democratic values, human rights and the rule of law.
“I want to see a country that will point a finger at us and say we have done something wrong, I want to see that finger… and see whether it is clean or dirty. I want to see it,” said Mugabe, who has vowed to attend the African Union Summit in Egypt this week–CAJ News.Post published in: News