Despite world condemnation of the electoral violence
in Zimbabwe and calls on President Robert Mugabe to postpone the vote, the
country held a one-candidate, run off presidential election on Friday.
Residents of the capital, Harare, said they were threatened with harm if they did
not vote. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had pulled out of the race
because of the violence. His Movement
for Democratic Change says 86 of its supporters have been murdered in the lead
up to the voting. Reacting to the
violence, many Zimbabweans have fled the country. Among them are thousands in
refugee camps in Johannesburg, South Africa, where VOA's Mandy Clark reports.
Refugees argue over Zimbabwe's violent politics. At this camp in Johannesburg, Jonathan Zulu
says he doubts things will improve back home. "I'm losing hope with the
situation that is happening now in Zimbabwe," he said.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai Sunday withdrew
from the presidential run-off election.
He called the election a "violent, illegitimate sham" and said
his supporters would risk their lives if they voted.
Zimababwean refugee Habit Matongo says President
Robert Mugabe has destroyed his country, but he supports Mr. Tsvangirai's
"Morgan Tsvangirai did the right thing because
many of the people are dying," Matongo said.
The political crisis in Zimbabwe has swelled the
number of refugees in neighboring countries. There are 1,200 here, most of
them Zimbabwean. This is one of about
12 refugee camps in South Africa.
As people here watch and wait, international leaders,
including the U.N. Security Council, have condemned the violence and
intimidation. The security council said
a free and fair election is impossible.
The Southern African Development Community, or SADC,
after an emergency meeting, urged the poll be postponed.
But in this refugee camp, people say they have little
faith other countries can help resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis. Godfrey
Badibanga is from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Badibanga says that South Africa's President Thabo
Mbeki will not be able to broker a deal. "Mugabe has ties with Mbeki,
historic ties. So, when you give the
negotiations to a man who is his close friend, do you think he can do any
good,” he said.
Zimbabwe refugee, Togorepi Guivaviro, says he seeks
divine intervention, "I just hope God intervenes and a miracle takes
place," he said.
A miracle, they say, is the only way Zimbabwe can
break free of a regime most here say is no longer legitimate.