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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 March 2005, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Zimbabwe voters: Velempini
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.

HenryOlleyKeeganFreddieRichardPreciousPedzisayeVelempini

Velempini

Librarian Velempini, 27, from Bulawayo told the BBC News website why he believes the elections will be free and fair.

I will be voting for the MDC.

We have been ruled by the same party for the past 25 years and they have done nothing to help us in our cause.

Zanu-PF leader President Robert Mugabe
Velempini is sure that Zanu-PF will only win as long as Robert Mugabe is alive

We need change.

We need new ideas.

I believe that this election is free and fair compared to last time.

Things are not as bad in Zimbabwe as some people would want us to believe.

Of course it is not the best of conditions but it is not that bad.

In previous elections there was a lot of violence and people experienced heavy intimidation during the period before going to vote.

People became cowards.

This time though it hasn't happened and I think that the government to a greater extent has tried to follow the guidelines set out by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

There hasn't been any violence.

No-one has been injured and no-one has died.

My name means "coming from the war" in my language Ndebele.

My father is one of the war veterans.

He will be voting for the revolutionary party: Zanu-PF.

He has been given opportunities.

He now has a farm which is a good thing really, even if one does not agree with how the farms were taken.

He always dreamed of having a farm but could never afford to buy one.

My father knows I support the MDC and he respects my right to choose whatever party I want.

At first he didn't but I convinced him that there is no point to a team playing on its own - why would a person want to run a race alone?

Map of Zimbabwe showing Bulawayo
Velempini lives in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo

There should be competition. It is healthy.

It will be difficult for the MDC to win the elections.

I don't think they will come up with the majority because there are more people in Mashonaland and most of them support Zanu-PF.

They are not aware that there is another party. For them it is Zanu or Zanu.

The MDC should campaign more.

If they campaigned here in Zimbabwe instead of outside the country than maybe they might win even more seats.

It is a problem.

But Zanu-PF will only win while Robert Mugabe is still alive.

When that man dies there will not be any Zanu-PF.

He is the Zanu-PF.


Your comments:

What is happening in Zimbabwe now is what will happen in Uganda when President Yoweri Museveni who is busy tinkering to amend the constitution so that he has a life presidency, gets it. It is unfortunate that African rulers even in the modern times want to cling to power! Last year Museveni visited Mugabe to mend their relationship which suffered during the Congo war.

I think he also wanted to see how he will survive when isolated by the international community. Unfortunately for Uganda, our national budget is funded by donors up to 52%. What a shame! My prayer is to have democracy, constitutionalism and good governance minus corruption in African politics.
J Patrick Mbabazi, Kampala, Uganda

The generalization that Mashonaland is Zanu-PF is dead wrong. The fact is that for Matabeleland the MDC is the alternative to Zapu (which is dead now). Therefore, given any party by whatever name the Matabele folks would embrace it. In Mashonaland there are more people who hate Zanu-PF with a passion than in Matabeleland but they cannot openly declare that because they do not know what the next person is for. Unlike in Matabeleland if you say you are for MDC there is a 95% chance that the next person is also MDC.
Gary Moreson, Boston, USA

It is difficult to understand the issues confronting Zimbabwe without paying heed to the land tenure system. Under the colonial system people were forcibly removed from land they owned and occupied for generations. Today, the occupiers are demanding compensation for property which they never owned.

The international community in a pique of indiscretion fuelled by Bush and others condemns any action aimed at giving the rightful owners of the land their due. This is the root of the problem. Mugabe has adopted an unpopular policy which, if allowed to succeed, will reverberate across the entire African continent and beyond. This policy may not succeed in my lifetime but justice cannot be denied.
Malchat

I am a very deprived Zimbabwean living in South Africa. I would have loved to vote Mugabe out, but it is too bad that he is wise enough to see that all the people living abroad would be happy to see him out and probably return home. I wonder how the elections are going to be. The last election I was home for and I know for sure that Mugabe rigged - he lost those and Morgan won. Now my fingers are crossed, my prayer is that Mugabe loses. I hope you will be able to show all the figures, per constituency.
Mina Sibindi, Johannesburg, South Africa

It is a pity Zimbabwe has gone down the drain largely due to the policies of one man who doesn't want to retire. I remember before the so-called land redistribution Zimbabwe used to be paradise for everybody, however when Mugabe lost the referendum he suddenly realised he had lost the support of the people. Since then he has embarked on the politics of destruction by misleading the ordinary people into thinking he is doing it for the good of Zimbabwe. Shame on him.
Mandela Govera, Preston, England




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