2008 election survivor ready for polls

During the 2008 elections Denford Musanhi lost almost everything - including his home. Yet even though memories of burning houses and missing persons are still fresh in his heart, he is ready for another poll.

“I think this is the time. We are ready for elections. We cannot continue to live under fear, and the Government of National Unity (GNU) has failed us. There is no reconciliation and I am still an outcast after Zanu (PF) supporters took my flat,” said the councillor for ward 12 in Mutoko North.

While the MDC-T has made it clear that there will be no elections before security sector and electoral reforms, at its recent annual conference Zanu (PF), the party where power resides in the coalition government, declared 2012 to be an election year.

Political analyst John Makumbe says that while there was a readiness in people like Musanhi for polls, the majority of Zimbabweans might not be so keen.

“I think people are hesitant. There are a few who have the courage. But most people don’t, considering that whenever elections are held there is always violence, arson and intimidation. There are fears of people losing jobs and being displaced,” said Makumbe.

But Musanhi, who has been displaced and even witnessed fellow activists being bashed to death, urged Zimbabweans to register as voters.

“I know that people might be scared, but I think it is time we take a stand and fight through the ballot. This is the only way we can remove soldiers from our villages,” he said.

Soldiers are a common feature in Mutoko, where Zanu (PF) still claims to rule the roost.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera believes ordinary people are not ready for polls.

“The military hardliners are those who are pushing for polls but the rest of Zimbabweans are not. Unfortunately ordinary people do not have the power to stop elections. The people have little choice,” said Mangongera.

In Mutoko, survivors of political violence have come up with survival strategies in the event of polls.

“We have our plans in the event there is violence but these are secret,” said Musanhi.

“Chipangano is made up of people, not super humans, they are ordinary people just you and me. If we take a stand they will no longer have a free reign,” he said referring to the shadowy vigilante group that is used to strike fear into the people in urban areas.

Post published in: News

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