Opposition urges Zim exiles to vote

2008-03-26 00:00

Amid mounting concerns about the fairness of the elections to be held in Zimbabwe on Saturday, the leadership of the Zimbabwean opposition in KZN is urging its countrymen to do all they can to return to their homeland to cast their ballot.

“Voting is the only constitutional weapon that can deliver us from the current bondage,” declared a statement prepared by members of the Movement for Democratic Change in KZN.

MDC organising secretary for KZN Temba Chiborise and district information and publicity secretary Bongai Njikizana yesterday appealed to Zimbabweans and their employers in the province to allow or assist all people who are eligible to vote, to return to their country for the one-day elections.

Chiborise told The Witness that despite concerns about vote-rigging, he is optimistic about the outcome of the election, which pits 84-year-old presidential incumbent Robert Mugabe against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai (56) and independent Simba Makoni (57), who only entered the presidential race in February. “The vote will be split like never before, whether there is substantial vote-rigging or not,” said Chiborise, “and that will bring what we all desire:

much-needed change”.

Chiborise said a candidate will need to secure 51% of the vote to become president and this is unlikely as there are three contenders. According to the amended Electoral Act, if there is no presidential winner, a second round of voting is required within 21 days.

Both Chiborise and Njikizana expressed their disappointment with the silence of SADC and particularly South Africa over developments in Zimbabwe. “As a political organ, SADC is useless.

It will find in favour of the election results on the principle of brotherhood,” said Njikizana. He said South Africa’s response has been disappointing. “This country will suffer first the consequences of negative developments in Zimbabwe. Can they afford this, particularly with the World Cup around the corner?”

There will be mock elections held in various centres in SA, including Durban and Johannesburg.

The results of the mock polls will be published and handed in at the respective embassies. For more information, call Bongai Njikizana at 079 533 4171, Temba Chiborise at 071 239 8423 or Tarisai Jiji at 072 760 5652.

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