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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 March 2005, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Zimbabwe voters: Precious
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.



Student Precious (not her real name), 24, from Harare told the BBC News website why she did not register to vote.

I did not register to vote because it is a waste of time.

MDC supporter with face covered by opposition slogans
Precious is too scared to talk openly about politics

It will not change anything. Nothing will get better.

Voting will not improve things.

At the last election, I was not old enough to vote.

This is the first time I am eligible to vote but despite that I will not. I do not want to.

The opposition will not be able to win the election and so I do not think that by going to vote we can bring change.

The ruling party will remain in power.

I haven't asked my friends if they are going to vote.

We do not talk about politics as it is too risky.

My family does not even talk about it at home. I don't even know if my parents plan to go and vote.

I am too scared to talk about political issues.

You never know who is watching or listening. You never know. I might be dead tomorrow.

It is not worth it.

Your comments:

It is unfortunate that Precious and probably a good number of the student population do share Precious' view and will not vote. The only trouble with this is that for a country such as Zimbabwe, where in some quarters such as rural areas the level of political literacy is very shallow, the contribution of today's youth, the students, to politics is very important and can actually change the landscape altogether. Even in the developed democracies, students are an important factor.

A quick look at the just ended American presidential elections clearly shows that both candidates criss-crossed the nation's universities trying to woo the student vote - this is in a developed nation. Thus in a country like ours where a sizeable number of the population simply vote in a certain way because the chief has ordered so, we desperately need our students who can clearly analyse each presidential election agenda or manifesto and based on the presented facts choose one that they feel will provide a better Zimbabwe.

There is nothing risky or dangerous about voting. It is a simple process of listening to the elections agendas on the TV, make up your mind, walk into an election booth, secretly cast your vote. Ditto one has transformed one's country.
Jerry Shumba, Harare, Zimbabwe

When the electorate is too afraid to vote, or has no faith in a fair outcome, you do not have a free and fair election. Precious has displayed exactly the mindset that Mugabe wants: discourage the opposition voters from voting using intimidation and suspicion, meanwhile he is buying up votes in the rural areas by targeting the hungry and exploitable poor. He will end up with a landslide victory this way and it will be legitimate!
Jane Miller, Boston, USA

This is exactly the type of environment Zanu - Mugabe and his cronies have created and thrive on! They are smiling at your comments here as they know if you did vote - it would probably be against them. Their culture of fear and intimidation over the years has succeeded (in your case and millions of others) in keeping the opposition away from the polls. We all know the elections are heavily rigged in Bob's favour but the only way to have a chance to improve things in Zim is to vote opposition!

For us Zimbos in the Diaspora - we have been silenced and not allowed to vote (as Bob knows which way 99% of those votes will go) so it is with great anguish when we see people at home who could not be bothered to vote for any reason. If you care about the future in Zim - get up, rise up, stand up and be counted!
Malo Salo, UK-based Zimbabwean

I do not feel that a lot of Zimbabweans will be voting for who they really want to vote for. They have to survive and why vote when everyone knows who will win. I wish I could vote as a Zimbabwean citizen living abroad but I know that my vote would not be counted and probably be discarded.
Tejal, San Francisco, USA

If the playing field was level MDC would win 100 seats to Zanu-PF's 20. It is unfortunate that I won't be able to vote but I know the people will speak.
Junias Chirongoma, Pietetmaritzburg, South Africa

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