The Herald (Harare)
28 June 2008
Posted to the web 28 June 2008
THE presidential run-off poll contested by President Robert Mugabe of Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T closed peacefully yesterday evening with massive voter turnout recorded in most parts of the country.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission started counting the votes when polling closed and said results would be released as they come.
"We will announce the results as they come at constituency level and we hope to start tomorrow (today)," ZEC deputy chief elections officer (operations) Mr Utloile Silaigwana said.
Police confirmed that peace and tranquillity prevailed throughout the country with chief spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena urging the electorate to remain calm.
"We did not get any negative reports and the situation was calm," Asst Comm Bvudzijena said.
He, however, urged the voters to return home after casting their ballots and wait for the announcement of the results by ZEC.
In Harare South constituency, hundreds of voters had by 5am queued at various polling stations, with the biggest number at Ushewokunze Housing Co-operative where more than 550 people were waiting to cast their votes around mid-day.
Some of the voters who had been queuing for long hours said ZEC should have put more polling stations at Ushewokunze to speed up the process.
At Gazaland Technology Centre, Shirichena Primary School, Western Triangle Bus Terminus and Canaan Bus Terminus in Highfield, long queues had formed as early as 7am.
The situation was the same at Zuva Rabuda Primary School in Glen Norah and in Mbare's Number Five and Seven grounds, where a heavy presence of police officers was evident.
Voting started peacefully but on a slow note in Kambuzuma, Warren Park, Kuwadzana and Norton with scores of people trickling in throughout the day.
At Kuwadzana Community Centre, a queue of about 30 metres had formed by mid-afternoon while in Norton a large number of people voted in the morning.
The presiding officer at Nyamunda polling station in Katanga said they were busy in the morning as a large number of people turned up to vote but the number decreased as the day progressed.
In Kuwadzana, Warren Park and Kambuzuma, few voters trickled in to cast their ballots by the close of polling station at 7pm.
Voters in Goromonzi North, South and West had as early as 7am formed long queues which could still be seen at mid-day.
The biggest turnout was at Chinamhora Hall in Goromonzi West where about 400 voters had cast their ballots by noon.
A small number was turned away at Arcturus, Goromonzi and Ruwa as well as at Groombridge and Hellenic primary schools in Harare East for lack of proper documentation or because they were aliens.
Some of those turned away had brought drivers' licences or photocopies of national identity cards that were not recognised in the presidential run-off.
Others were turned away after it emerged they had already cast their votes through postal ballot or did not appear on the voters' roll.
In Mt Pleasant and Harare East, voters had queued as early as 6.30am.
In Seke and Chitungwiza, most polling stations had received more than 100 voters by 10.00am in a peaceful atmosphere.
A ZEC official at St Eden's Primary School polling station in Chitungwiza described the process as slow in comparison to the March 29 harmonised election where people had queued as early as 2am.
By end of day, more than 470 people had cast their votes at Chigunguru makeshift polling station in Zengeza West compared to about 3 000 in the March poll.
In Wedza, where turnout was low, groups of villagers were seen at polling stations waiting patiently to cast their votes as the process progressed smoothly.
However, some villagers who had travelled all the way from Harare to cast their votes failed to do so when their names were not found on the voters' roll.
The voter turnout in Bindura was described by presiding officers as "just slightly lower than that recorded in the March harmonised elections" while others said there was no difference.
Mr Frank Nyama, an election officer at Chipadze Primary School polling station, said the numbers were almost the same as those recorded in March.