Program Note: Zimbabwe's opposition party warned Thursday of growing political genocide at the hands of government supporters, urging the world to intervene immediately before the situation gets worse. Watch full report tonight on 360°
David McKenzie | BIO
It is the eve of a vote here in Southern Africa.
It’s the eve of a vote with one candidate. A ‘sham’ of democracy.
Despite the calls from regional leaders, international heads of state and even Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, Robert Mugabe is determined to go to the polls.
I had to get out of our studio where I am on live duty and see what ordinary Zimbabweans are thinking.
The Refugees I talked to in downtown Johannesburg are fed up. After years of economic meltdown and weeks of political violence, they have had enough.
In March, at the first vote, these refugees headed home to vote, many of them for the opposition. Now they see no point.
“There is no reason to go and vote since they are beating us like this,” said one man at the Park station, “It doesn¹t make sense.” Another agreed, I can't use any of their names, they are afraid that Mugabe’s government might monitor CNN’s broadcasts and website, “Even if we go back and vote, Mugabe would not accept it. It is better for us to stay here, we are free here.”
Free yes, but safe? Not always.
Foreigners in South Africa, many of them from Zimbabwe, were ruthlessly targeted in xenophobic attacks here. This is a country with rampant inflation and the foreigners are often seen as taking jobs and space from locals. Scores were killed.
But still they are forced to live outside of their homeland. At the station they pack big sacks of goods for their families. They take rice and sugar and warm blackest for their families suffering through the brutal winter months. Commodities are impossible to find in Zimbabwe. They take their simple gifts to their families and then come back to South Africa to toil at jobs often way below their station.
As the politicians bicker and the leaders join in to try and condemn Mugabe the loudest, it is these ordinary Zimbabweans who will suffer in silence
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