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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
stability fears rise as Zimbabwean ‘exodus’ reported
Alex Bell, SW Radio Africa
August 16, 2013
View this article on the SW Radio Africa website
A reported exodus of Zimbabweans
out of the country, in the wake of the disputed
July 31st elections, is raising fears for stability in the region.
There are increasing
reports of an influx of Zimbabweans entering South Africa and Botswana,
amid increased tensions and fears that have followed the polls last
Bishop Paul Verryn from
the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, which assists more
than 2,000 Zim refugees, has said that there is a definite increase
in people seeking help from the Church. He has been quoted as saying
that people are running away from threats and violence back home.
who heads the Zimbabwe
Exiles Forum in South Africa, said Friday that they have also
witnessed an increase in the numbers of Zimbabweans crossing the
border. He told SW Radio Africa that the Diaspora Election Observer
Mission, which the Exiles Forum was part of, witnessed the influx
in the days after the polls.
“They (the observers)
noticed that the border was congested and that was not limited to
the days after the elections. Even up to today there are thousands
of people trying to cross,” Shumba said.
He explained the main
issue driving people into neighboring countries is the general uncertainty
surrounding the election outcome.
“There is uncertainty
that there might be backlashes, social upheaval, and other things
associated with the elections. Secondly, people fear the rumours
that SA will impose a visa restriction on Zimbabweans,” Shumba
He added: “The
last reason why people are crossing into South Africa and Botswana
in their thousands is things on the ground are already showing signs
of deteriorating. Prices are increasing, basics like cooking oil
are beginning to disappear, and electricity supply has worsened.”
He said that the influx
is a serious problem for South Africa and other SADC countries like
Botswana and Namibia, where thousands of Zimbabweans have also fled
in the region caused by controversial elections is always not a
good thing for the region,” Shumba continued.
He called on
the SADC leaders who will be meeting for an annual Summit in Malawi
this weekend to address the Zimbabwe issue, because of the impact
it has for the region.
“They should unequivocally
condemn what has happened in Zimbabwe, which is a clear electoral
theft,” Shumba said.
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