Zimbabweans react to Mugabe victory

From relief to outrage, citizens express their feelings about Mugabe's electoral victory.

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    Zimbabweans react to Mugabe victory
    Some Zimbabweans are already calling the election, in which Mugabe retained power, a sham [Azad Essa/AlJazeera]

    Harare, Zimbabwe - It was meant to be one of the tightest elections in Zimbabwe's history.

    But when results were announced, Robert Mugabe secured a landslide victory over his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, and in so doing so, secured his seventh consecutive term in office. 

    Mugabe scored 61 percent of the vote, while Tsvangirai received 34 percent - as ZANU-PF went on to secure a two-thirds parliamentary majority - an electoral margin that will give them the ability to amend the recently agreed upon constitution.

    It has been an election fraught with irregularities, and allegations of mass fraud and rigging. Though the AU and SADC observer missions listed a number of concerns with the manner in which the vote was carried out, both organisations endorsed the elections as credible and free.

    But moments before the results were released, Tsvangirai, addressing journalists from his home in Harare, said his party would not "legitimise the illegitimate" by recognising Mugabe's government.

    Tsvangirai's rejection of the results and his calls for a fresh election could plunge Zimbabwe into a fresh political crisis.

    As the opposition prepares to challenge the results in court, ordinary Zimbabweans remain split over the opposition's allegations that various irregularities and fraud have tainted the election results.

    Al Jazeera spoke with a cross section of Zimbabweans on how they feel about the results and how it might impact their lives.

    Gracious Mpofu was hoping for a change [Azad Essa/Al Jazeera]

    Tafadzwa Nyathi, 34, Bulawayo

    "I think people are depressed because this is an MDC stronghold.

    "They are really disappointed with the results and, although they were waiting for the presidential results, they already knew what the result was."

    Gracious Mpofu, 41, Harare

    "I don't know what is wrong with this state. Is it cursed or what?

    "I was not expecting this. But (was) hoping for a change."

    Nqobile Bhebhe, 34, Bulawayo

    "People are really shocked and the mood is so low. They were not expecting these results; there is a big feeling of disappointment.

    "Right now, there is increased police presence in the centre of town and in the high density areas, like Mzilikazi, Makokoba and Luveve.

    "There has been an increase in people buying food. It's more panic buying and stocking in up, just in case."

    Prince Lewis feels the election was fair [Azad Essa/Al Jazeera]

    Prince Lewis, 22, Harare

    "I feel it was fair and peaceful, but I don't know what happened behind the scene. Now there are rumours of rigging. I think the results are accurate. History just repeated itself. Zanu won where it usually wins and the MDC, the same.

    "The whole rigging story is to have the whole western world involved.

    "We had all the observers saying it was fair, even (President) Zuma [of South Africa] said it was fair. If Tsvangirai says they were rigged, then he must come up with concrete solid, evidence that this is so."

    Rayner Marima, 36, Bulawayo

    "We were initially a little worried given how some people and the international community were talking about this election. But when the results started coming out, we were convinced that ZANU-PF would do very well. 

    "We are not surprised by how well Mugabe has done, especially since the MDC-T were nowhere to be seen when it came to campaigning. What has Tsvangirai done in the past years anyway? He dropped the ball."

    Reward Mapardza says he has lost hope [Azad Essa/Al Jazeera]

    Reward Maparadza, 22, Norton, Zvimba district

    "I have lost hope of getting a job now. And people around me are already talking about leaving the country.

    "For the past ten years, there has been a lot of idle people without labour. Many of us have degrees but there is no opportunity. We have lost hope. I am thinking that I myself should look for greener pastures, in Botswana or South Africa.

    "We are ordinary people. There is nothing we can do. We will accept [the results]. But in terms of recovering or having a better future, we don't see a lot of positives.

    "I felt the ZEC [Zimbabwe Election Commission] was biased."

    Follow Tendai Marima and Azad Essa on Twitter.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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