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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 March 2005, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Zimbabwe voters: Richard
Zimbabweans have voted in the country's fifth parliamentary election since independence. A panel of eight people told the BBC News website who they supported, and gave their hopes and fears for the future.



Richard, 50, from Hwange, is an operating superintendent for Zimbabwe's electricity company. He told the BBC News website why he will vote for the ruling party Zanu-PF.

I am going to vote for the ruling party's candidate Thokozile Mathuthu.

Zanu-PF supporters
Richard supports Zanu-PF

I am going to vote for her because of two things.

Firstly she is from the ruling party. No matter how people vote in Zimbabwe the ruling party will still win.

Zanu-PF is too strong and truly it will win.

The opposition members of parliament are mostly inexperienced concerning parliamentary affairs and when they are due to debate in parliament they tend to boycott.

And so whatever the people want just goes away because those guys are not there - whenever there are debates that matter to us, the opposition MPs boycott parliament.

Secondly I will vote for Thokozile Mathuthu because she is a woman.

From 1980 up until now if you follow the history of our men MPs in Zimbabwe, most of them be it from the opposition or the ruling party, tend to line their pockets first before they think of the people they represent.

Vice-President Joyce Mujuru
Richard thinks that Vice-President Mujuru is 'one liked lady'

I think and hope that if we vote for a woman this trend may change.

Likewise my feelings about Vice-President Joyce Mujuru.

When President Mugabe appointed her I think he made quite a good point.

Honestly speaking even if you speak to opposition supporters (unless they hate her), she is one person who does not have slogans on her tongue and does not speak against the opposition party.

She speaks of problems that affect people and social issues that concern us.

If the gatherings of people who go to her rallies are anything to go by, you can see the following that she has in the country.

She is one liked lady!

She is liked by almost everybody, regardless of which party that person may support.

I have benefited from the land reform programme.

My family's land was taken away from them in 1964, when I was seven-years-old.

My late father showed me where our home had been.

After 1980 we started asking when we were going to return to our land.

Map of Zimbabwe showing Hwange
Richard works at Zimbabwe's power station in Hwange

It was a little bit hazy, cloudy.

We were not sure.

But then somewhere around 2003 I managed to get a piece a land in the same area where my family previously had land.

I applied, together with hundreds of other people, to the government's advertisement saying they were planning to acquire the land.

I was one of the 31 successful applicants.

The land is shared between us.

I have a six hectare field where I grow maize, millet and sorghum.

When the rains are good I get more bags than I need and so I sell the rest.

Your comments:

I love Joyce Mujuru and I pray that she becomes our next president. I am hoping to be home so that I can help in her election. She was a wonderful choice and she is a hero and a lady of integrity and love and she enjoys being a woman. Lots of my friends agree with this. We want her as our next president and this time, we will dump our cushy jobs, come home and make sure she wins.
Tambu, NH, USA

Richard, my fellow countryman, you seem very short-sighted. We cannot all be a nation of farmers and that is a point this whole land movement has missed. Yes you received land but over the past few years we have lost out on significant foreign currency receipts from agricultural exports. Six hectares of land each to 31 people in your area hardly sounds like a good deal for most Zimbabweans does it? Seems to me you have fallen for the populist spin emanating from Harare.
Tawanda, Brisbane, Australia

Richard, can you answer why over four million of your countrymen live outside of the country? Do you really believe that the situation can improve? As long as people live in the past, we cannot move forward. And why does Zimbabwe now secretly import maize from ex-Zimbabwean farmers now in Zambia? Is that right?
Mike Nhando, Zimbabwean in London

I respect Richard's choice of belonging (thus voting for Zanu-PF), but if I may ask is 25 years not evidence enough to show how wasteful, mismanagement, undemocratic, corrupt and incompetent enough these so-called war heroes are. There is a lot of evidence which shows how Mugabe and his company managed to ruin our once beautiful country in a short space of time.

I don't put much blame on people like Richard but they need to be educated/informed on the issues concerning Zimbabwe, the world has since moved from their way of doing things, it's high time they move on with others.
Rodrick Kamudyariwa, Dumfries, UK

What is happening in Zimbabwe should be taken care of by Zimbabweans themselves. Zimbabweans cannot be taught how to vote for a government of their choice. They are accountable for whatever happens in their country. If they think the situation in Zimbabwe is good for them, then they know what to do. If they think it is not good, still they know what to do. The people of Botswana do not see eye to eye with stupid people who would mess up their countries by voting unwisely and then flood foreign countries as economic refugees.

The government of Botswana has been disciplining and will continue disciplining all those who jump the fence into Botswana so that next time they want to do it, they will think twice. May I remind Zimbabweans that the Botswana government have erected a 480km long electric fence along the Botswana-Zimbabwe border. It was switched on recently. If you think Mr Mugabe's party is good, vote for it and stay in Zimbabwe.

Don't vote for it and then come to Botswana to look for piece work because we can now see that you people are spoilt. We try to help you and you break into our houses, you terrorize the people of Botswana. After your so-called election, should you sneak through that electric fence, you will go into graves in Botswana because we are fed up with you people.
Dikgang Motshegwa, Gaborone, Botswana

Richard says, "No matter how people in Zimbabwe vote the ruling party will still win." Why waste the little resources holding those elections when people like Richard have the results already?
Artwell Gunzvenzve, Wolverhampton, UK

Joyce Mujuru well liked lady? What a shame that this woman has been in the cabinet for over 25 years and has done nothing tangible. So what does Richard expect she and her government will do this year?
Mutonhodzi, London/Harare

We have classical examples of oppositions promising heaven on earth during campaigning but only to fail dismally when in office such as Kenya. Zambia etc and MDC will not be any different at all. Besides MDC relies on donors to uplift Zimbabwe. They forget that Mugabe was once the darling of the West. IMF brought about horror to our country. In this regard then Zanu-PF has woken up and they now know what should be done. Hence a vote for them is coming from me and all other millions of patriots.
Leonard, Harare, Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans need to bury history behind and move on. Robert Mugabe has been preaching the same rhetoric gospel about the liberation war and how the country was liberalised. As do the Ndebele people who tend to dwell on the Gukurahundi massacre. Forget the past and vote the man out!
Charles Bedzi, Scotland

The man is right, everyone who is not a sell-out should vote for people who know that land is a God-given resource and should be safe guarded.
Andrew Mpofu, Harare

I think Richard is wrong to say that Joyce Mujuru is any different from any other Zanu PF leader. Mujuru has been a cabinet minister since 1980. She has also been in the politburo since 1980. It is clear to any objective person that she has internalised Zanu-PF way of doing things. In any event, it is a Zanu-PF strategy to fool people like Richard into believing that Mujuru is a saint.

People like Richard should be reminded that about 20,000 people in Matabeleland died in the 1980s as a result of crackdown by Mugabe. Also Richard needs to see for himself thousands of children who are dying in Zimbabwe in order to understand how Mugabe has ruined the country.
Sipho Phani Sibanda, Manchester, UK

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