How a Peaceful Election in Zimbabwe Turned Violent | The Dispatch


“I’ve seen the soldiers and
the trucks of the soldiers — they’re holding guns.” It wasn’t supposed
to be like this. “People have been
beaten by the soldiers. Some of our guys
have been killed.” This was supposed to be
the moment that proved that Zimbabwe
was moving on from its oppressive past. Instead, city streets
look like this, with soldiers opening
fire on protesters and leaving at least three
people dead only days after an election. “It’s not safe, it’s not safe — the soldiers, they are
coming, that side.” Reporter: “O.K.
Oh, we should go? Let’s go.” So what happened? Here’s what we saw. This is Harare, the
capital, two days earlier. Polls are about to open, but
the lines are already long. Voters are
peaceful and excited. “I woke up
early in the morning. I didn’t have time
to bathe today because I was really eager to come and vote.” This is the first
election in decades without the name of
Zimbabwe’s longtime leader, Robert Mugabe, on the ballot. A military coup
in November forced Mugabe out, raising hopes that the system he put in place would
also go away. For a while, violence subsided, and people
talked more openly, allowing someone like Vincent to show his support
for the opposition. “People were not free to
express our feelings, like we are doing right now. So now voting is something
that we are doing willingly. Today I’ve exercised my right.
I’m very happy.” We drive east,
away from the city. We see fewer signs of
support for the opposition. Rural areas are
traditional strongholds for the ruling party,
mostly because of years of intimidation
and vote rigging. We saw people walk miles to
reach their polling centers. Unlike in
previous elections, this time the ruling party
promised transparency. And to convince the world,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the ruling party candidate who replaced Mugabe
after the coup, invited international observers. But in these
rural villages, we didn’t see any of those observers. Instead, we saw this: This man is camped outside a
polling station, writing down the names of everyone
coming to vote. It’s an old strategy
that could mean food and fertilizer
for those on his list or retribution for
those who are not. His name is Norman. When confronted, he
shows us his list and quickly starts
to explain that he’s part of a larger group,
mobilized by the ruling party, spread across
multiple villages. Police and election officials watch. “So this is the complaint.” They don’t try to
stop him, but they ask us to stop shooting. “Off the camera,
yes we can talk — off the camera.” Reporter: “We’ll turn it off.” It’s the next day
and markets reopen, while people wait
for official results. But they don’t come. Optimism turns to unease,
with growing concerns that the vote count
will not be fair. In a preemptive move, Nelson Chamisa, the leading
opposition candidate takes to social media
and claims victory. Hours later, he
deletes this tweet. But it’s too late. Hundreds of his supporters
take to the streets to celebrate in front of the
party headquarters. Wednesday morning, still no winner. In the meantime,
officials announce a sweeping parliamentary
victory for the ruling party and international observers
release statements criticizing the election. Protests form, peaceful at first. But quickly escalate. Soldiers and army tanks deploy, hunting down
opposition supporters. In just over 48 hours, we watched as a hopeful
city was overtaken by fear and now is bracing for
the announcement of who the next president
will be.




Comments
  1. they walk miles to exercise their franchise, because it has been meaningless till then
    you can't be bothered to get off your couch

  2. Chamisa and biti caused this ..Why tell people go on streets demonstrate before results…..Harare bulawayo is not Zimbabwe only

  3. The new york Times has hired a confirmed racist , anyone who is anti racist should unsubscribe from this channel

  4. Wasn't it the NYT that assured us that everything would be great as soon as Zimbabwe got rid of those racist white people ? The common man in Zimbabwe is FAR worse off today than under minority rule.

  5. Watch our video: Inside a Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe: The Economy’s Still a Mess https://youtu.be/T64pjZZGSQU

  6. Uh oh…too many Black guys wearing hoodies…. Hopefully, in Zimbabwe, they don't get shot… In "Umirka, You Black? You wear hoodies? You dead!

  7. It's all right Mugabe, you can come back now, alls forgiven. Better the devil you know than one who pretends to embrace democracy and the rule of law and then inflicting the army on the people, when things don't seem to be going his way.

  8. Sad to see. My parents generation fought the bush war to keep Rhodesia civilised, with little to no western support. Now we have a one party banana republic called Zimbabwe.
    Hate to say we told you so…

  9. I mean, similar things happen in 1st world countries. Look at America when trump won. Democracy is the best system, but no matter who wins, the opposition will not like it.

  10. How bad does it have to get before we get involved? Do not let unjust actions go without consequence proportional to their action.

  11. It's not because a decade long civil war with communism was concluded with a dictatorship, economic collapse, and power concentrating with the military is it? #makezimbabwerhodesiashain

  12. I like the fact dt we shall all die & God wil judge each & every soul, may God punish the evildoers

  13. 3rd world election is like a joke. Even my country 2nd world election also has been a joke until lately, our people has been very angry and make sure our election being done properly

  14. Gee imagine that? A violent oppressive African countrie. And the African Americans here in America say they are oppressed.

  15. now i know theres no white people there…. but white people caused all this cause this. there racist…. is that fitting anyones agenda?

  16. You need to enable comments on "How an Alt-Right Leader Used a Lie to Climb the Ranks | Times Documentaries". Anybody that WISHES TO refrain from commenting can do so without your interference.

  17. It's heart breaking because I'm a child for Zimbabwe and my whole family live in Harare and they are in danger. Robert Mugabe stole farms from white people to him self and his friends which meant Zimbabwe starved. Zimbabwe was suffering no food or money kids would get homless and live in the streets. There was a documentary about the Zimbabwe how they suffered. Children's parents died because of weakness and lack of food. So plz make Zimbabwe great again.

  18. all of east Africa, asia, india middle east , and far east countries were better off under Queen Victoria and the British Empire and they know it

  19. I think it's at the point where elections wouldn't have made a difference either way.

    What has to be done is a cleaning day for whole hierarchy. Those who understand the country's grievances can stay, those who don't are arrested for corruption.

    Nobody in that country wants white minority rule all over again. But a rigged election is no different than when Mugabe took power via deception and unjustified crack-downs.

    An act of betrayal, to a country that's already in enough pain as it is.

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