- Title: VARIOUS: Africans from across the continent call for Mugabe to step down
- Date: 27th June 2008
- Summary: (BN10) GERMISTON,SOUTH AFRICA, (JUNE 27, 2008) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF NEWSPAPER BILLBOARDS READING : " ZIM ELECTIONS TODAY", " ZIM : A BALLOT OR A BULLET " VARIOUS OF THE CAMP WITH REFUGEES FROM ZIMBABWE
- Embargoed: 12th July 2008 13:00
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVAZDVMS2MXCTYNBHSNIBYRNF5T
- Story Text: As voting began in Zimbabwe's presidential run-off, Zimbabwean refugees who fled a spate of xenophobic attacks in South Africa last month and who are now living in refugee camps, spoke out against President Robert Mugabe's one man elections.
Mugabe, in power for 28 years, is the only candidate after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew six days ago because of state-backed violence and intimidation.
"We don't know what is going to happen because there is no one there, they are just voting but for one person," Zimbabwean Gertrude Sibanda at the Germiston refugee camp told Reuters.
24-year old Primrose Mpofu says she has been living in South Africa since 2002. She was amongst the African foreigners that fled a wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa's poorest townships, that has left 56 dead.
Her life in South Africa is hard, she has lost her job, because of lack of transport to and from the refugee camp in Germiston, but she said life is harder back in Zimbabwe.
"What's happening at home is sad, people are being beaten up, killed, they are being forced to vote for what they do not want. It's hard for us to go back home because we will not reach our destinations. It's much better here," she said.
In Nairobi, Kenya about 20 women from various civil rights groups marched to protest the elections.
The women sang songs and carried banners with messages of solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe.
They called on the UN to step in to end the crisis, saying it was a global problem and said they would lobby against Zimbabwe's diplomatic missions in countries across Africa if Mugabe remained in power.
There's been international condemnation for Mugabe's regime with many African and international leaders urging the Zimbabwean president to postpone the vote.
In the Nigerian capital of Lagos people condemned Mugabe's actions.
Cletus Adegba said of Mugabe "He's not a politician he should be a terror or a terrorist."
Such criticism of Mugabe was echoed on the streets of Abidjan in Ivory Coast.
Engineer Joseph Gnaba said Mugabe is seriously damaging the country and the continent, "I think it's a bad image for Africa, President Mugabe must let Morgan Tvangirai present himself, let him fight his campaign like everyone else, because we're tired of this."
Several African leaders, including South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, have urged Mugabe and Tsvangirai to form a government of national unity.
Tsvangirai won the March 29 poll but fell short of the majority needed for outright victory.
Since then, Mugabe has rallied his shock troops, veterans of the 1970s independence war and youth militia, in a violent campaign that critics say has made a free and fair election impossible.
Polling is due to end at 1700 GMT on Friday.
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