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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Where discontent simmers
The Independent (Zimbabwe)
July 26, 2013
fever that has gripped the whole country seems absent in the Eastern
Highlands giving an impression of the ordinary with five days to
go before Zimbabweans vote
in crucial general elections on Wednesday.
People in Manicaland,
which has the second highest number of registered voters with 807
300 after Harare’s 1,2 million, seems to be going about their
normal business and campaign posters bearing House of Assembly and
presidential party candidates are few and far between.
It is easy to count political
party posters in Mutare Central and they get even fewer in high-density
suburbs like Sakubva, Chikanga, Dangamvura and Yeoville.
In Makoni, Mutasa, Buhera,
Headlands and Rusape, Mugabe’s posters seem to dominate public
space, but are relatively few compared to the three Mashonaland
provinces, Midlands and Harare.
During the two days the
Zimbabwe Independent visited the province last Sunday and Monday,
very few people could be seen donning party regalia, with the green
and yellow wraps and matching t-shirts with Mugabe’s portrait
dominating other provinces hardly visible.
There was no indication
that Mugabe would be addressing a star rally in Mutare on Tuesday,
except for the green haulage truck bearing Mugabe’s huge portrait
and the bhora mugedhi (vote for Mugabe) message inscribed across
it, which drove around the city, as well as the presence of soldiers
from the presidential guard.
But this serene
and calm atmosphere should not be mistaken for complacency, as the
Independent crew discovered. Beneath the veneer of tranquillity
lies deep-seated anger and disappointment over how this region has
The discontent which
has been simmering over the years is likely to come to the boil
next Wednesday when Zimbabweans vote for a new government.
has lost some sleep over Manicaland. Out of the 26 constituencies
in that province, the MDC-T grabbed 20 in the 2008
The province also rejected
Mugabe by overwhelmingly voting for Tsvangirai, who got 212 029
votes compared to the Zanu-PF leader’s 141 592.
The Manyikas, who constitute
15% of the Shona population, have always stood up to Mugabe and
Zanu-PF, leading to the rise of opposition leaders like Morgan Tsvangirai,
Simba Makoni, Arthur Mutambara, the late Ndabaningi Sithole, Abel
Muzorewa and Edgar Tekere.
Tensions between the
Zezurus, to which Mugabe and Vice-President Joice Mujuru belong,
and the Karangas and Manyikas can be traced back to the liberation
war when the Karangas and Manyikas provided the bulk of fighters,
military commanders and top leadership of the Zanu movement.
Since power fell into
the hands of Mugabe, a ruthless Zezuru intellectual who led the
Zanu movement, but did no fight himself many Karangas and Manyikas
feel he has ignored their contribution, sidelined their leaders
and promoted people from his own clan.
Indeed, since Zanu-PF’s
last electoral congress in 2009, none of the presidium posts have
been occupied by Manyikas or Karangas, but are dominated by the
Zezurus and Ndebeles.
Mugabe has failed
to appease the Manyika people over the mysterious 1975 assassination
in exile of former Zanu leader and national hero Herbert Chitepo.
The death of Chitepo, which drove Mugabe to leave the country to
Mozambique, continues to incite conflict and controversy in Zimbabwe’s
headaches ahead of elections next week are mounting as it tries
to wrest back seats lost in the last elections.
to Mugabe sidelining the Manyikas, people interviewed by the Independent
are bitter about the continued marginalisation of the region, despite
it being a diamond-rich
Mutare is Zimbabwe’s
fourth largest city sitting at the heart of rich diamond fields,
gold and timber. The people of Manicaland are crying for change
and do not see what more Zanu-PF and Mugabe can offer them which
they have failed to do in 33 years.
Maria Saungweme of Sakubva
said: “People here are very bitter about the level of poverty
in the area and the fact that there are no jobs for university graduates.
“Mugabe and Zanu-PF
have failed us big time. We have diamonds in Marange, which are
just plundered by people from outside the province. Mutare has not
changed a single bit; we have the same buildings, no expansion or
development of the city. It’s Mugabe’s people benefiting.”
John Makoni from Mutasa
South said he is tired of the false promises given election after
election from Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
“We will attend
Zanu-PF rallies and fill the stadiums and we also attend MDC-T rallies
in huge numbers, but we know who we are going to vote for,”
“The violence of
2008 is still lingering in our minds, so we keep our vote close
to our chests. We have better things to do like fending for our
families, instead of running up and down campaigning, singing party
songs or toy-toying, but come July 31, you will see us coming out
in huge numbers to vote for change. Zanu-PF had its chance and it’s
now time to try others.”
Andrew Chingawawa from
Nyazura said Zanu-PF has been in power since 1980, but service delivery
is very poor and unemployment levels are among the highest in the
“We now believe
that MDC-T is our way out,” said Chingawawa. “If Zanu-PF
gets more than three seats, it will be very lucky. The problem is
that we might end up losing Makoni Central because our leader wants
to impose Simba Makoni (Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader). This has created
a lot of confusion which might work to (Zanu-PF candidate) Patrick
Chinamasa’s advantage.Tsvangirai is shooting himself in the
Tsvangirai endorsed Makoni
as the House of Assembly candidate for Makoni Central ahead of his
party’s Patrick Sagandira on the basis of a coalition for
change agreement he signed with Makoni and Reketayi Semwayo of Zanu
constituency is another seat under threat after Tsvangirai also
imposed Housing Development minister Giles Mutsekwa over the favoured
candidate, prominent lawyer Arnold Tsunga.
Even top Zanu-PF sources
in Manicaland conceded that Tsunga would win over Mutsekwa, but
were hoping that the vote would be split to give its candidate Duru
Reketai Milcah a chance.
Mathias Muvirimi of Makoni
South credited MDC-T for the improved economic situation in the
country after the formation of the coalition government in 2009.
“There are now
groceries on the shop shelves and there has been a remarkable improvement
in terms of the economy thanks to MDC-T,” said Muvirimi. “We
no longer want lies preached to us. Just watch Manicaland is going
to decide the election for Zimbabwe.
The liberation war started
here and it will be this province that is going to bring change
to Zimbabwe. We are saying no to being sidelined and marginalised.”
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