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‘No to polls’

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The current political violence besetting the country is clear testimony Zimbabwe will be plunged into chaos and bloodshed if elections were to be held as soon as principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) have said they want them, political analysts and ordinary Zimbabweans have said.

President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara have agreed the country should go for elections as early as next year because the inclusive government was dysfunctional.

The three protagonists said they wanted to bring to an abrupt end the life of the shaky coalition, recently described by a Cabinet minister as a “playground of perplexity”.

Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, said: “We will plunge into a worse situation than we witnessed in 2008. We will encounter violence of higher proportions than 2008.

“We will have worse violence and more bloodshed. There will be blood and violence and chaos — more than we saw in the last elections.”

Majongwe added: “We can only have elections when there is freedom and schools are not affected by violence. The violence that we witnessed in rural areas will come to your doorsteps in Harare as evidenced by the acts of Chipangano.”

Hopewell Gumbo, a Harare-based analyst, said the recent violence indicated elections held in the next 12 months would be violence-ridden.

“The recent episodes of violence are clear testimony that Zimbabwe is not ready for elections,” he said. “Should the elections take place next year, violence will determine the winner and this will get Zimbabwe into political and economic quarantine.”

Mutare-based development researcher James Mupfumi said: “Zimbabweans are ever ready to choose leaders of their own choice if the opportunity is availed to them. Unfortunately, contentious elements in the GPA are deliberately throwing spanners into the works.”

Charles Taffs, Commercial Farmers’ Union president, said farmers became targets of violent attacks whenever there was talk of elections.

“Elections or no elections that’s not our concern, but our concern, particularly in agriculture, is that we appear to be targets of evictions and attacks,” Taffs said.

“The invasions going on now in the farming community bear testimony to that. When there are elections, everyone tends to put on a helmet.”
College Lecturers’ Association of Zimbabwe president David Dzatsunga said elections should only come after reforms created a conducive atmosphere.

Ordinary Zimbabweans said in separate interviews on Wednesday they were frightened stiff of prospects of elections.

Evelyn Chakabuda, a hair specialist, said: “We are not ready for elections. We don’t want to face the same violence that we faced before. We don’t want to be beaten again like happened in 2008. We can only be ready for elections when the violence stops.”

Farai Mavenge, an accounting consultant, said: “I certainly say no to early elections. Let us wait for a conducive environment first. If elections come we know there will be chaos. President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai should go to the grassroots together addressing people to show their unity is not just on paper.

“They have to engage in road shows so that the unity they preach cascades to the people. They have to be seen walking together in public places not just in their private meetings.”

Cosmas Wakatama, a Harare businessman, said: “Zimbabwe should not go for early elections because they are a lot of things that need to be achieved first. 2013 is the most ideal year for elections and the principals must concentrate on building the country not fighting or politicking.”

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