By Tariro Daphne Senderayi
WITH close to a year before the country embarks on the crucial 2018 general elections, we conducted a random survey in the street of Harare’s Central Business District to gauge people’s mood towards the polls.
Zimbabwe is currently going through its worst times since independence, with the major challenges being the unavailability of cash which has seen people spending hours in bank queues.
Close to 90 percent of the population is said to be unemployed and most of them have gone into vending as a way of fending for their families and corruption has become the new normal.
According to Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe has about 13.5 million and only half a million them are formally employed in the country with civil service accounting for about 250 000.
The economic situation in Zimbabwe has seen people making varying predictions on how it will impact the outcome of the 2018 elections.
Others are of the view that the suffering is playing into the way of the opposition parties as most people are fed up with the chronic suffering and are looking for change that might alleviate their lives from the poverty.
Another school of though is of the opinion that in as much as people are suffering, it doesn’t not necessarily translate into opposition votes next, adding that some of the people are actually fed up with the opposition which has failed to topple the government four times.
In an interview, one airtime vendor who has been selling in the streets since 2010 when Fifa World Cup was played in South Africa said it doesn’t matter to him who will win or not as it will not in anyway change his situation
“Ndaane 6 years ndichitengesa airtime kuti ndichengete mhuri yangu saka whether tachinja president haiwa kwandiri that does not matter itai mega…”(It’s been 6 years and I have been selling airtime to take care of my family so whether we change president or not it changes nothing)
Another vendor said she had faith in the power of the ballot and has voted since 2008 election and nothing has changed so she is not voting this time around.
“Ha takabvira karekuvhota saka haa itai mega...” (We have been voting since time immemorial you can go on without us)
A Dairibord Ice Creme vendor said even thought the much anticipated change has not come, he will continue exercising his right to vote hoping things will change soon adding that its better to lose after trying.
“Zvirinani kufa taedza” (we would rather die trying).
“Ndagara ndichivhota and ndaivhotera musangano. Takapiwa indigenisation and zvinhu zvirikufaya saka ndicharamba ndichivhotera ZANU yakatibatsira nekutiita maindigenous”( I have been voting for ZANU PF and proudly so because they have given us the indigenisation laws that has seen us enjoying profits so will continue voting for them), said a local kombi driver.
While morale is currently low, youths are expected to play a significant role in the coming elections as various organisations and political parties have already embarked on voter education targeting new voters especially the young people.