By Simplicius Chirinda
The election verdict was initially met with a mute response but people in rural areas such as Chivi and Mberengwa are slowly finding their voice.
Radio VOP met several villagers during a visit to the two rural areas who expressed their wish to see a better Zimbabwe and a general change in their own life circumstances.
Sitting under a tree at a Chibi turn-off just off the busy Harare- Beitbridge highway, the villagers pondered their future under a Zanu PF government.
“We are glad this election passed without any violence. That was our biggest worry. Our youths are not employed and we hope the new government will address this, otherwise if this idleness continues we will have more thieves, prostitutes and violence in the next election,” said a villager who preferred to be identified as Tariro Masanga, which is not her real name for fear of victimization by some Zanu Pf supporters.
Masanga was backed in her assertions by her husband who sat next to her as they tried eking out a living from their vegetable vending trade.
“Our biggest challenge is unemployment. These youths have nothing to do and you know what an idle mind does. We implore organisations such as Artists for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust and many others targeting the young to come and help these youths with self-help projects and capacity building. We are tired of our youths being used to commit acts of violence so we expect the new government to bless us with jobs,” said Masanga’s husband who requested not to be identified.
Under the scorching summer sun that is characteristic of the area, the villagers wished they could have access to the incoming government and pose a few questions.
“Please explain to us whether this indigenisation programme we hear is a government programme or a political party programme. We expect the programme to provide us with seed money so we can start our own flea markets along the Beitbridge road,” said another villager.
She added that during the last four years they have she and other villagers saw very little of the US dollars.
“Tinodawo kumbopotawo tichibatawo mari kwete kuti iperere kuHarare, (We also want access to the US dollar),” said the villager.
Although the election passed without serious incidences of political violence as compared to 2008 polls there were widespread cases of intimidation.
“The elections were peaceful and we thank God for that but it is important that we deal with this system of intimidation. People were constantly intimidated prior to the elections and this had a bearing on the elections,” said another villager who cannot be named to protect his identity.
Chivi is an arid area and the villagers depend on irrigation for survival. The villagers hope the new Zanu PF government will keep to the promises that were made before and during the elections.
While the villagers are enjoying peace after the elections, they now await the trappings of development that ordinarily should follow in a stable and tranquil environment.
Down in Mberengwa, the situation was different. While those in Chivi are adjusting to the current political realities, villagers in Mberengwa are of a different view.
“The difference between this past election and the one in 2008 was that there wasn’t violence but everything remains the same,” said a local villager who observed the elections.
“I was involved in the voting process. Ndaivhotesa asi iyi was not a vote (This election was farce). To be honest this election was rigged through intimidation.”
A teacher who also monitored the elections had this to say.
“I nearly had a heart attack because I did my own survey at the polling station where I was based at but to be honest I was surprised to hear that Zanu PF had won. Not that they had no support but the margins are suspicious. The people know that this election was rigged but they just can’t do anything. We wait to see what this government has in store for us but the election was rigged in Zanu PF’s favour,” said the teacher.
Ordinary villagers are more worried about what the new government will have in store for them.
“We are going to go with the wind. We accept that Zanu PF will form the government but we are keenly following the developments. They have to remember us,” said the villager.
Another local village dweller who lives close to Mberengwa Centre said if things can’t change through elections then they have to employ confrontational means to unseat Zanu PF from power.
“Zanu PF didn’t win this election, they stole, but what can we do if elections are rigged. We have to use force,” said the enraged villager.