Police, Immigration Frustrating Zimbos Coming Home To Vote

By Farai Sibanda  Gwanda, July 29, 2013 – Zimbabwean police and immigration officers are reported to be harassing South African based citizens coming back home to vote in the country’s watershed elections on Wednesday  under the guise of wanting to arrest criminals who fled into the neighbouring country. Zimbabwe’s political parties with branches in South Africa organised free transport for Zimbabweans based there who want to come home and cast their vote. However, most Zimbabweans trooping back into the country since Saturday said they were being frustrated and delayed at the Beitbridge border post. “I was harassed by police and immigration officers at the border. They asked too many questions about my background and why I Ieft the country including why I have decided to come back and vote. They claimed that they were looking for criminals who fled  to South Africa now sneaking back home,” Fainos Ndlovu a Pumula registered voter  based in Pretoria told Radio VOP in Bulawayo. With over three million Zimbabweans living in South Africa, MDC-T, Zapu and MDC are saying those votes are crucial as they can bring a change of government in Zimbabwe. Alexandra based Milton Sibanda who hails from Tsholotsho said:  “There are several police road blocks mounted along the Beitbridge – Bulawayo highway where I was searched and asked many unnecessary questions by police officers and state security agents. I think they just wanted to frustrate us because they know we won’t vote for Zanu PF”. Most  Zimbabweans  coming back home  to vote are being bussed from in Johannesburg areas like Diepsloot, Cosmo City, Alexandra, Germiston, Leondale and Soweto . When contacted Matabeleland South police spokesperson Philisani Ndebele said “We are there as police officers to serve the interests of the people and not to harass them, those aggrieved should approach us with their concerns” Pretoria based journalist Khanyile Mlotshwa predicted that registered Zimbabweans based there will come in numbers by Wednesday  as they are eager to vote. Mlotshwa added that they fled the country during the economic meltdown in 2008 and hope they can influence change. “I think a good number will take advantage of free transport.” he said. MDC Matabeleland region spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu confirmed receiving reports about voting returnees adding that President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF don’t want Zimbabweans living in the diaspora to vote. “Obviously it’s a way to frustrate us since authorities are afraid that diasporans, especially from South Africa will Mugabe out after he insulted them during his  recent star rallies,” Ndlovu said. MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora weighed in just saying “We are worried about such reports. Zanu PF is using all means at their disposal to rig these elections.”