|General overview of voting countrywide
30 March 2008
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition office set up a command centre to monitor the election environment at polling stations around the country before, during and after the elections and has been passing this information on.
Thabani Moyo, spokesperson for the organisation, spoke about some incidents that had been noted by his organisation over this crucial voting period - in Bikita Maddock Chivasa from the National Constitutional Assembly and 5 of his colleagues were arrested by the police; in Chipinge ZEC officials had deleted the names of MDC polling agents; in Masvingo polling agents were forced to flee from the polling station because of police beatings; in Nkayi ZEC officials were issuing voters with the old V11 voting forms and ZANU-PF polling agents had threatened MDC polling agents in Chitungwiza. Armed police officers in Beitbridge were intimidating voters.
We spoke to voters from around the country to get their impressions of how voting had gone. In Dangamvura Mutare, voting seemed to proceed well, according to a young voter who we spoke to and he seemed very positive about the whole experience. According to his observations of the polling results, Morgan Tsvangirai won the Presidential poll with 954 votes, to Mugabe’s 303, and Makoni’s 20.
Meanwhile in Bulawayo’s Mpopoma Pelandaba constituency, polling was slow on Saturday with many voters opting to vote elsewhere because of this. We spoke to a polling officer from one of the stations who said that in his ward Morgan Tsvangirai walked away with 372 presidential votes, Makoni had 175, Mugabe won 68 seats and Towungana received 4 votes.
In Masvingo, it’s reported that voting proceeded with no major incidents marring the process. We spoke to someone who visited several polling stations in the district and reported that in one polling station he noted that Morgan Tsvangirai led the Parliamentary elections with 483 votes, and Mugabe receiving only 81 votes.
Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa spoke to us about the general reaction to Saturday’s voting process in Harare. He said that on Sunday morning people woke up feeling ‘a general sense of anxiety and anticipation’ as a result of the ‘blackout,’ and the lack of information regarding the results of the polls.
Rumours have been rife and earlier on Sunday there were unverified reports that at the Meikles hotel Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s Chairperson George Chiweshe fled from journalists, who were keen for him to give them the results.
Simon added that generally voting went well in Harare with polling stations opening on time and that counting had proceeded normally, but there had been complaints that the ZEC had not reported on the many irregularities that had been reported to have taken place countrywide.