Zim Neighbours Repel Travellers

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By Petronella Sibeene

WINDHOEK

Zimbabweans are not being allowed into Zambia and Botswana for a period exceeding two days, allegedly to force them to stay in their home country for the March 29 elections.

A New Era source, however, said that some Zimbabweans have opted to stay at home simply out of fear of being harassed.

The Botswana High Commissioner to Namibia, Norman Moleboge, told New Era yesterday that if such an operation is on, it is not an official stance by his government.

“It is not official. As long as they (Zimbabweans) have valid documents they are allowed to enter Botswana,” said the High Commissioner.
Similarly, the Zambian Deputy High Commissioner to Namibia, Felicity Chulu, denied knowledge of such an exercise.

“We are not aware, it was not communicated to us as a mission,” she said.
Meanwhile, a day before the Zimbabwe elections kick off, some citizens of that country currently in Namibia have expressed lack of interest in participating in the voting exercise saying their votes will not make a difference.

The few Zimbabweans that New Era spoke to at random yesterday said their participation in this year’s elections would not benefit them in any way. They added that change in the economic status of Zimbabwe is unlikely in the foreseeable future.

“We really want to go and vote but it does not change things. Even when we vote, at the end of the day the interests of the people on the ground are not considered,” said one source that preferred to remain anonymous.
Another source said most of the polling stations in the country are found in rural areas and limited in urban Zimbabwe. That creates congestion at the few polling stations and is a turnoff to most people.

A young frustrated male Zimbabwean concluded, “Talking from previous voting experience, the elections will not be free and fair because the playing field is not even.” He accused the government of being autocratic and individualistic in its rule.

“Ordinary Zimbabweans are now more concerned about survival. The parents think of how their children will go to school while the elderly have to find ways to survive. It’s basically about putting bread on the table,” he added.
The same source also stated that the ruling government already indicated to its people that no other system would rule as long as Zanu-PF exists.

“And that statement needs analysis,” the source stressed.
The economic situation in Zimbabwe has forced many citizens of that country, mainly youths, to flee the country in search for economic emancipation.
“Since 2005 I have been doing business in Namibia selling handcrafts. It’s a struggle but at least it allows me to meet the basic needs at home (Zimbabwe),” he added. Fears are that if Zanu-PF wins, more sanctions might be imposed on Zimbabwe and the current situation might worsen.

Another source that returned from Zimbabwe three weeks ago confirmed yesterday that the situation in that country has improved politically.
“When I was home three weeks ago, I could witness that the campaigning was fair, no more violence and even the opposition could campaign in the stronghold of Mugabe,” he attested.

Meanwhile, Zimbabweans in Namibia will not be able to exercise their voting rights as the country has since scrapped postal voting.

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