Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A LETTER FROM CATHY BUCKLE IN ZIMBABWE!

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been an excruciating three and a half days waiting for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to announce the results of the March 29th elections. At the time of writing this letter at 3.30 pm on the 2nd April 2008, the full parliamentary results have not yet been announced. None of the figures for the Presidential, Senate and Local Council elections have been announced at all.

The results are coming out at un-advertised intervals and at rate slower than a snails pace. The waiting has been utterly exhausting, not to mention cause for considerable suspicion but, as we Zimbabweans are so good at doing, we have waited patiently and calmly. After all, we've been waiting for change since February 2000 so a few more hours or days is a mere pebble on our rocky road.

On the evening of the 1st April 2008 after hours of frantic international media speculation about deals, talks and resignations, MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai addressed a press conference. As one, those of us who had access to the broadcast, sat forward in our seats. Mr Tsvangirai's words will go down in thehistory of this long and painful struggle we are nearing the end of.

In part he said -
I would like to thank the millions who came to reclaim their dignity and invest in the change they can trust. The votes cast on Saturday was for a change and a new beginning. It was a vote for jobs; it was a vote for food, for dignity, for respect, for decency and equality, for tolerance, for love and for trust."

Mr Tsvangirai urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to proceed with haste in announcing the full results of the election and said that the MDC would be disclosing their own tabulated totals on Wednesday. He said there were no deals, talks or resignations and wouldn't be until all results had been announced officially.

At 1.30pm on Tuesday the 2nd of April 2008 the MDC announced that they had won the parliamentary and presidential elections in Zimbabwe. Speaking at a press conference in Harare, MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti announced the following results based on figures which had been displayed outside polling stations as prescribed by electoral law.

2,832,243 votes had been cast.
99 parliamentary seats had been won by the MDC (Tsvangirai)
96 seats had been won by Zanu PF
11 seats had been won by MDC (Mutambara)
1 seat had been won by independent Jonathan Moyo.

3 further parliamentary seats were subject to by-election and Mr Biti said theMDC were confident of securing victory in these constituencies too.With regard to the results of the Presidential votes, Mr Tendai Biti announced the following percentages:
50,3% to Morgan Tsvangirai
43,8% to Robert Mugabe
7 % to Simba Makoni

As a result of the above figures Tendai Biti said: "Morgan Richard Tsvangiraihas won this election."Two hours after the MDC had announced victory the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
produced another batch of 11 results which give Zanu PF 93 seats, MDC(Tsvangirai) 96 seats, MDC (Mutambara) 9 seats and 1 seat to Independent candidate Jonathan Moyo. A further 7 results are still outstanding. Its not clear how this is going to end but what is clear is that the avalanche towards change has started. It may take a few days or even a few weeks but we will continue to wait patiently until we can stand up with dignity and selfrespect and say that we are proud to be Zimbabweans. Until my next letter, thanks for reading this update.

With love cathy.

Copyright cathy buckle 2nd April2008 www.cathybuckle.comMy books: "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in South Africafrom: books@clarkesbooks.co.za and in the UK from: orders@africabookcentre.com

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