Zimbabwe: 'It's a little scary voting MDC - I'm not sure about the future'

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The Independent Online

In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city and the stronghold of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, the queues had formed by 7am.

In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city and the stronghold of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, the queues had formed by 7am.

Unlike five years ago, the lead-up to these elections has not been dominated by reports of violence and intimidation from supporters of President Robert Mugabe. Anti-Mugabe voters here were out in force, although few expect anything but a Zanu-PF victory.

The city's controversial Archbishop, Pius Ncube, who has called for a "Ukrainian-style uprising" against Mr Mugabe, patiently queued in the morning sun outside the white pillars of the Town Hall polling station in Bulawayo East. Elizabeth, a cleaner, was determined to cast her vote and, despite the risks, happy to tell a foreign reporter why it was for the MDC:

"We are suffering all the time," she said. "There is no food. Things are too expensive. Like the bus fares that have gone up again. Now there's no money to pay the rent."

Michael Patsika, an IT consultant, was in the same queue. "I got up to vote MDC at 5.30am because I was anticipating a big line. Politicians are like diapers - they need to be changed regularly. I am voting MDC because their policies are workable and because Zanu has too much power.

"My grandparents live in the rural areas and now they are given no food because they do not have a Zanu card. I am voting for change and for new ideas."

Mr Patsika was scathing over Mr Mugabe's attempt to portray the MDC as a vehicle for Tony Blair. "Blair is a diversion; he has nothing to do with the Zimbabwean people."

In this city, Mugabe supporters were hard to find. "Patrick", who wouldn't give his real name, was in two minds. "I was divided 50-50 between Zanu and MDC. I want the party that gives me the best product. It's a little scary voting for the MDC - I'm not sure about the future."

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