> [W]e are tired and [absolutely] fed up of living like this. When we vote on Thursday it will be for food, clean water, affordable schools for our children, hospitals which have drugs and leaders who will respect us and our universal rights of speech, movement and association. I have a picture in my head of a man on a horse trailing a yellow banner in the middle of this weeks revolution in Kyrgyzstan. That image from the other side of the world in a country whose name I cannot even pronounce, gives me hope.
> One of Zimbabwe's most outspoken church leaders Sunday called for a peaceful uprising against President Robert Mugabe's autocratic rule, days before a parliamentary election that rights groups say is tainted by years of violence and intimidation.
> It is hard to have hope when you are surrounded by suffering. Viva Pius! Thank you for giving the people a voice. Thank you.
> At this point I noticed there were some members of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission watching the commotion from just a few meters away. I picked them out by the insignia they were wearing. It struck me that they should be doing something about this unwarranted attack upon innocent members of the public who gathered lawfully and peacefully to hear the opposition leaders.
> The Zimbabwe Vigil will hold an all night vigil outside the Zimbabwean Embassy on The Strand, London on Wednesday March 30, starting at 8pm.
On Thursday March 31 from 5am to 5pm the Vigil will be holding a "Mock Ballot" outside the Zimbabwean Embassy. These times have been selected as they coincide with [the] period of polling in Zimbabwe.
"We will have mock transparent ballot boxes, ballot papers and polling officers. We will be asking Zimbabweans to come and symbolically cast their votes throughout the day," said the spokesman. "On Friday April 1 we will attempt to give the results to officials at the Zimbabwean Embassy as a way of expressing our voice, as we have no other avenue to do so."
The Mock Ballot has been planned to demonstrate the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of exiled Zimbabweans in the UK.
> Barney Mthombothi, Financial Mail, South Africa, March 25: "Zimbabwe is our albatross. It is our backyard. It is the prism through which we're viewed or judged by the international community. Our support for Mr Mugabe - that's what quiet diplomacy is in a nutshell - has eroded our credibility... The elections are a non-event. They solve nothing. Democracy will have to await the departure of Mr Mugabe and his friends..."
> It started with a whisper, a mother besotted with grief at losing her son, people said afterwards. As she muttered the single word "hungry", the crowd around her shifted uneasily and looked scared. Nobody wanted a night in a Zimbabwean jail.
On a platform in front of them, their great leader Robert Mugabe was denouncing Tony Blair for "spending sleepless nights plotting how he can remove the Zimbabwe government" and telling them to "bury Blair, vote Zanu-PF". But then another woman, shaded from the sun by a large coloured umbrella, repeated the word: "Hungry."
The people of Gwanda had been gathered to hear the president tell them why his party, which has been in power throughout Zimbabwe's 25 years of independence, should be voted in for another term. Instead, they thought about the fact that the Lutheran priests who used to bring them food had been driven out by the government and a low chant of "hungry, hungry, hungry" reverberated through the crowd.
Agitated secret service men from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) started to take names. The 81-year-old president, perspiring behind his large, plastic-rimmed glasses, was hustled away. But the damage was done.
The story of the Gwanda rally may prove apocryphal but by the end of last week it was being recounted in villages and bars across the country. From Matabeleland to Manicaland, the refrain of "hungry" seemed to be on everyone's lips. Along rutted tracks winding between failed maize crops, one person after another held up open-fingered palms and said "chinja" or change, the slogan of the opposition.