PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s supporters did not come out to celebrate his “resounding” victory in Bulawayo yesterday. Instead, residents expressed fear the elections had plunged Zimbabwe back into a political crisis.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe/Richard Muponde.
Mugabe won 61% of the vote against MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s 34,9%.
But the outgoing Prime Minister has refused to concede defeat saying the election was fraudulent.
Tsvangirai and the MDC-T have promised to fight the outcome of the polls in the courts and also launch a diplomatic push in Africa to force a new election.
Bulawayo residents who spoke to Southern Eye said they had expected Tsvangirai to win the polls for the city to begin the rehabilitation of industries that collapsed under Mugabe’s watch.
The majority of the people said they were now uncertain of the country’s future.
Some feared shortages of basic commodities would resurface while others said they were contemplating joining the great trek to South Africa and Botswana to seek jobs as there was no hope in Zimbabwe anymore.
“The coming weeks are crucial for us ordinary Zimbabweans,” Amanda Moyo said.
“I personally fear that the food items will soon disappear from the supermarkets shelves. We fear the re-emergence of the black market.”
Mkhululi Ncube of Nkulumane said the return of the local currency would make life miserable as it would soon become valueless due to inflation, as industry might not be able to sustain the economy.
“If the Zimdollar is coming back, we will be in for a fix. How are they going to sustain that currency when industries continued to close during the inclusive government?” Ncube asked.
“We are going back to the 2007 situation where our money couldn’t buy anything.
“It’s better we leave the country for South Africa. I am not prepared to suffer again.”
His sentiments were echoed by Faith Dube who said there would be another exodus of people of Matabeleland region into South Africa.
“I foresee another influx of locals, especially the youths to South Africa,” he said.
“We thought things were getting better, but with the Zanu PF win, we are heading for another disaster.”
In the run-up to the elections, Mugabe promised to resuscitate the Zimdollar which was abandoned by the inclusive government in 2009 due to hyperinflation.
However, the veteran ruler who will begin his seventh term in office this month, has not laid out a clear a plan on how he hopes to sustain a local currency.
Zimbabwe has been using a basket of currencies that include the United States dollar and the South African rand.
An estimated three million Zimbabweans already live in self-imposed exile in South Africa, Botswana, Britain, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, among other countries, after escaping the economic collapse.