Posted on Monday, 15 July 2013 10:21

Raucous start for Zimbabwe elections

By Janet Shoko

A member of the Zimbabwean police force waits to cast his vote in the capital, Harare July 14, 2013/Photo©ReutersZimbabwe's crunch elections got off to a chaotic start on Sunday as hundreds of police officers shoved and pushed, breaking windows at a polling station in Mount Pleasant, Harare as they protested the irregular conduct of elections.


About 70 000 people, mainly police officers who will be on duty on July 31, the election day, have been allocated two special voting days, Sunday and Monday.

Polling stations were meant to be opened at 7am, but the voting process was delayed for hours in several centres as there were no ballot papers, voters' roll or indelible ink.

After waiting for hours, agitated police officers at Mount Pleasant Hall became agitated and damaged property.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)'s deputy chairperson, Joyce Kazembe admitted at a press briefing Sunday evening that voting began on a rough patch.

"Voting at most polling stations started at a slow pace," she said.

"This was mainly due to the fact that we delayed dispatching ballot papers to the centres. I wish to advise that the printing of ballot papers delayed even beyond our expectation.

"This was due to a number of reasons, chief of which was the delay in finalising the designing of ballot papers in those wards and constituencies where nomination was under challenge.

"We were hoping that the printer providing printing services to us would complete the printing of ballot papers on time, but this has not happened as printing is still in progress."

MDC deputy spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi said Zimbabwe is facing a disputed election due to the bungling witnessed.

"It is now clear that ZEC has not been ready for elections," he said.

"This is an election by ambush. If ZEC is failing to transparently run a small poll like the special vote, how then are they going to run a bigger election?"

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