Chiocciola's post about Zimbabwe inspired me to read recent new stories this morning and follow the election coverage more closely. The news is not encouraging but I add my prayers for change to the many being said around the world on this day of their election.
The election rigging appears to be so blatant. One wonders how Mugabe can imagine people will believe his claim that he wouldn't be able to sleep if he thought the election was rigged...well he probably doesn't imagine any such thing since it hardly matters who believes him when he has the police, army and prison services on his side.
"Across the country, there were reports of voters not being allowed to cast ballots - either because their names were not on the voters' roll or because they were trying to vote in the wrong ward."
And on this page, they are gathering observations from the voters, such as the following.
1430 GMT Radcliffe, near Kwekwe: Georgina says:
"I went to four different polling stations in the area and my name was not on any of the voters' rolls, even though I checked two weeks ago to make sure, and my name was on the voters' register then.
My grandmother's name was on the roll but she was told she could not vote this time, even though she has voted in all previous elections - she is 78. However, seven members of my family who have all passed away were on the list, including my uncle, who died a week ago and was an MDC member of parliament.
This is very disturbing for us. But we are not the only ones. Out of the four polling stations I went to, I would say half of all the people who turned up were turned away. They still took everyone's names however, including my neighbours.
I was hoping to vote for Morgan Tsvangirai and I am afraid they will attribute my vote to Zanu-PF. The same thing must be happening across the country and it will probably mean another Zanu-PF victory. It's very sad."
Very chilling are these words from The Economist article of yesterday:
"...the police, who have previously overseen much of the intimidation against opposition candidates and their supporters, and under new rules were to be barred from the actual polling stations, will now be allowed inside them, in theory to “help” illiterate voters."
"...the heads of the army, the police and the prison service have all flatly stated that they would not let Mr Mugabe be beaten."
How do the people of Zimbabwe find the strength to vote, knowing that Mugabe will completely disregard the results if they are not in his favour? The Telegraph claims that "Mugabe insists Tsvangirai will never be allowed to be president: "Those who want to vote for him can do so, but those votes will be wasted votes. It will never happen as long as we are still alive - those who planned the liberation struggle." And that "Tsvangirai is widely believed to have won the last presidential poll in 2002 with a majority of 70,000."
However, it is heartening to know that there are those who continue to speak out against Mugabe's regime. The same Telegraph article also has this quote from last week by Tsvangirai:
"We are beyond fear and intimidation - do not be afraid...The road we have travelled has been difficult and painful, but we have taken up the challenge against this dictatorship."
"Hundreds of thousands of desperate Zimbabweans - as well as the outside world - are looking towards today's elections as the moment when that changes, when Mugabe is forced from office and the reconstruction of the country can begin."
Peace be with them...