‘Whatever it takes, I am leaving’: More Zimbabweans making the trek after disputed election
By Times Live
Some Zimbabweans have started to make the trek out of the country after recent general elections gave the ruling Zanu-PF another term in office and widespread skepticism that the struggling economy and hyper-inflation can be turned around soon.
Wellington Chitembu, 43, told TimesLIVE he is leaving because he wants to improve the lives of his children.
“We are suffering. I have three children and l am struggling to look after them. I can’t pay their school fees and l can’t afford to put food on the table. Life has been very difficult and I thought the election was going to bring change, hope for the future, but it’s just another disputed election.
“I have never been so certain about leaving Zimbabwe as l am now. I am a civil servant and my salary is barely enough to look after my family.
“I am leaving for dignity because as a man l should be able to look after my family and give them a better life. I want to rid my family of this poverty. I have family members in South Africa, I want a good future for my children and across the border l am certain l will find it,” said Chitembu.
Tererayi Chisomba, 34, a mother of two, said she plans to leave for the UK to find employment in care work.
“I have held on until now and no longer can. I have to leave. There is no future here. I wake up every day feeling hopeless. I want to give a good life to my little girls, but if l remain in this country it won’t happen,” she said.
“I have a university degree, but I am going to the UK as a care worker. I am selling everything, including household furniture, and borrowing money from relatives to raise for the visa fees and air tickets. Whatever it takes, I am leaving.”
Margaret, 28, who wanted to use only her first name because she doesn’t have a passport or a final destination, said she will go where she can find work.
“There is no life in Zimbabwe. I have never had a job. l am leaving because l want to be able to look after myself. My parents are struggling and l can’t continue to put a burden on them to look after me and my siblings. It’s better to go, find a job and send money back to my parents.
“I have a friend in South Africa and she lives somewhere in Johannesburg. She told me if I come she will help me look for a job. I know going without papers or a passport is dangerous, but l am willing take my chances. I will go through the Limpopo River, risking my life to the crocodiles and police.”
On Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the CCC, said it wants fresh elections, saying the polls held last week were not free, fair and credible.
This was dismissed by government spokesperson Nick Mangwana, who tweeted: “Only the court can order fresh elections and there must be serious evidence of electoral fraud. There is none here.
“A loser can’t just demand another bite of the cherry. Only the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission can run elections in Zimbabwe. We haven’t suspended our constitution and we are not going to.”