Steve: Celine lived in Zimbabwe and from time to time gives us her insights into what’s happening there and in the region.
I thought I would send a brief update regarding the upcoming July 30th elections in Zimbabwe.
It has been very refreshing to see that the lead up to the elections has been peaceful, save a bomb blast in Bulawayo at a rally a few weeks ago. Opposition parties have been allowed to campaign and there are several dozen presidential candidates registered.
The main opposition, MDC, headed by Nelson Chamisa, has held over 70 rallies around the country, and the military is said to have not been involved on the ground; under Mugabe, the military were used to threaten, torture and shut down any opposition.
President Mnangagwa has also welcomed the arrival of the international Elders to analyse the situation on the ground. Apparently, EU and UN observers have been in the country for several weeks already.
The primary concern currently is the manipulation of the voters roll and the rigging of electronic systems. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) delayed the release of the voters roll, which gives all the candidates only twelve days to contest it in court. It has also been said that 250,000 people are double registered, through the altering of one digit on their ID numbers. All this is said to give the ruling party a significant advantage, and that it all looks fair on the outside, but is being cunningly manipulated behind the scenes.
Nonetheless, an air of hope and optimism exists. Kofi Annan stated this in his eloquent speech on July 17th. There are three million Zimbabweans living in South Africa and they are returning in droves to vote, but also to stay because of perceived new opportunities, some saying no matter who prevails come election day.
This is all very new and very refreshing after decades of authoritarian rule, decay and hopelessness. The people of Zimbabwe are bright and can see through anything amiss, but they are able to call it out and discuss it publicly, and they are heavily debating all the issues in the open. It is quite wonderful.
Also of note is that Ethiopia and Eritrea have come to a Peace agreement, after 20 years of war and separation, and I believe a truce has also been called in the South Sudan civil war.
Of concern are still the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Africa, which is calling for the killing of white farmers. The government there has not dealt with the land issue and unemployment after all their years of ‘freedom’ from white rule. Sending Light to those places.
Now, if Zimbabwe can pull off a peaceful and satisfactory election, that is a great step forward.
I intend for the time when there are no political boundaries and everyone has a place to call home.
I am watching with my own optimism and hope, and my resolve to return “home” to participate in rebuilding Zimbabwe and giving back to this amazing land is renewed. I have been gone far too long and will too return as an “Elder”, with accumulated wisdom, appreciation and Love.