ZIMBABWEANS in South Africa are mobilising for protests which could shut down the country’s busiest border post Beitbridge over Zimbabwe’s disputed August polls.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared winner in the presidential election race despite several observer missions flagging the polls as falling short of local, regional and international standards.
The main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa described the August 23 and 24 elections as a “gigantic fraud” and his party has launched a diplomatic offensive lobbying for fresh elections.
Zimbabweans in South Africa last week staged protests in Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg handing over their demands for an election re-run to embassy staff.
A group named Progressive Zimbabweans in SA has since formed seven sub-groups to accommodate all the Zimbabweans who want to join the protests.
One of the group’s organisers, Sigidi Nyoni told members that preparations for the protests were at an advanced stage.
“We are preparing a way forward to go and march at the border. At the border, we understand people are being threatened that they will be beaten,” he said.
Nyoni said members will be advised on the actual day of the protest because they were still engaging the law enforcement agents for clearance.
In an interview, Nyoni said Zimbabweans protested in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria to demand free, fair and credible elections back home.
“Our march in Johannesburg started at Berea’s Dores Park and we walked through Yveele, to East Gate,” he said.
During the protests, Nyoni told the protesters that the organisers were apolitical.
“We are not happy to be here in South Africa while our families are back home. It is because of the situation back home that we came here.
“We are also harassed and insulted here, we are treated like animals and called Makwerekwere because of the ruling party in Zimbabwe,” Nyoni said.
Another organiser Dumisani Nleya told the protesters that elections in Zimbabwe were shambolic while demanding fresh polls supervised by the Southern African Development Community.
“Zimbabwean elections have been rated as shambolic, unfree and unfair. So we have decided that as Zimbabweans living in SA, we should come and express our concerns about having a government back home, which has not been voted in by the people,” he said.
An estimated five million Zimbabweans are believed to be living in South Africa, most of them without legal documents.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared Mnangagwa victorious with 52,6% of the presidential vote (2 350 111 votes) and that Chamisa polled 44% (1 967 343 votes).
The ruling Zanu PF party also secured 136 parliamentary seats, while CCC won 73 seats in the August 23 elections.
Zanu PF’s seats tally increased to 176 against the CCC’s 103 after the inclusion of the 60 women’s quota seats along with the 10 special seats for youths. — NewsDay