A campaign poster for Mugabe's party
Hopes for a fair election are over in Zimbabwe after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of Friday's planned run-off on Sunday. But while expectations have been quashed, repressive government violence and spiralling food prices seem to be unstoppable.
After months of waiting, the Zimbabwean people will not get a run-off election between opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and dictatorial leader Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai pulled out of the race on Sunday and is in hiding in the capital's Dutch embassy. Yesterday, the UN Security Council said that a free and fair election would be "impossible". Over 70 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters are presumed dead and more than 3,000 people have been hospitalised, along with sky-rocketing food prices and inflation heading towards 120% percent week on week (according to the country's daily The Herald).
Gerald Matiba is the coordinator for the Christian Legal Society in the city of Bulawayo.
People didn't know whether to even bother voting let alone for who. We were sure war was coming, so we would have let Mugabe win anyway; to avoid the situation getting worse. Daily life is challenging. I work for a legal society working for justice - we have to work very discreetly; only through the internet. Last week we got threats. We don't know how we survive. People have to walk for days for food, even to South Africa and back."
Munyoro is a black farmer from the outskirts of Bulawayo. He prefers to remain anonymous.
With the high prices you need about five times your salary to survive now. But we do survive! People outside the country are sending us money. We've cut down from three meals to one a day. We don't eat bread or use salt. And you don't take transport anymore. Everyone's getting up at five in the morning to get to work on foot, which takes three hours for most people. We haven't got violent because they [the govt.] don't care if we put a brick through a window - they've already destroyed the country themselves! There's no point in us doing it too.
Now nothing much at all is going to happen. It will all be talk. I really hope the UN and the rest of the world will follow their words with actions. The Zimbabwe people need the international community. We've done what we can. Now we're calling on outside help. Life is like in slow motion."
Mugabe's most recent campaign video, posted by blogger ZimStallion 22 June 08.
A poster printed in the daily newspaper The Herald 13 June 08.