Election Day is finally here, and Zimbabweans are going out in numbers to cast their votes. In Bulawayo, most polling stations opened at 0700hrs allowing voters to cast their votes early. Polling Stations that opened early include Magwegwe North Centre, Northlea High, Hlalani Kuhle Phetsheya Tent 4, Jocks Shopping Centre, Old Polytechnic and Hillside Primary School.
Non-first-time voters are happy about the peaceful environment prevailing during the election. The polling process is also orderly.
“I am happy about the peace prevailing during this election. There are more people voting in this election. I have been voting since 1980 and now I know what and who to vote for”, said Mrs Marimo.
The long winding queues across Polling Stations are moving slowly. In some Polling Stations, a single voter is taking an average of 6 minutes and 30seconds to cast their vote. Some voters at Imbizo A in Bulawayo are going home as they state that the queues are long.
At Efusini Tent Polling Station in Makokoba, voters stood for more than two hours as they prepared to cast their vote. Some voters resorted to sitting on the ground while others resorted to leaving the polling station in the hope of coming later towards sunset when the winding queues have shortened.
In most polling stations in Bulawayo, women with babies, the disabled and pregnant women were given first preference. However, other mischievous women exchanged babies so that they also receive special treatment to jump the queue.
At Pick and Pay Polling Station, one voter decided to vote only for their presidential candidate and not for Local Government and National Assembly candidates citing that he does not know them. The elderly at the same station complained about poor lighting inside the Polling Station resulting in most of them moving away from the Polling Booth as they cast their vote.
In the early morning hours at Northlea High School Polling Station, voters were reluctant to vote as ballot papers had lines. Voters regarded the ballot papers as spoilt, fearing that their vote will be obscured. Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials, however, assured voters that the lines are a result of the printing process and will not compromise their vote. The polling process, therefore, continued without further obstacles.
Live updates from cable television indicated that Former President, Robert Mugabe cast his vote at 1320hrs Mhofu Primary School in Harare followed by an ecstatic crowd who chanted in amusement.
Source: Women’s Institute for Leadership Development