PoliticsElectionsZimbabweans vote amid frustration


Posted on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 11:30

Zimbabweans vote amid frustration

By Janet Shoko

 A Zimbabwe Election Commission official (ZEC) checks ballot boxes inside a polling center in the capital Harare July 15, 2013/ Photo©REUTERSZimbabweans go to the polls today to select a new president, with police deploying in full force to flush out any incidents of violence.

State radio reported that thousands of police officers were deployed in the central Midlands province on Tuesday, while trucks of police carrying automatic rifles and grenade launchers patrolled in the restive Harare townships of Highfield and Mbare.

Polling stations around the country are to remain open between 7am and 7pm on Wednesday and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has not hinted on time extensions.

An estimated 6.4 million people are registered to vote.

Reports from most parts of the country indicate that the process has been slow and several people had already been turned away as their names did not appear on the electoral register.

Long winding queues have been reported, with voters accusing polling officers of attempting to frustrate them.

Morgan Tsvangirai, a strong favourite to upset President Robert Mugabe, voted at Mt Pleasant Hall, while MDC leader Welshman Ncube voted at Stanley Hall, Makokoba in Bulawayo.

Mugabe cast his vote at Mhofu Primary School in Highfields at noon.

On Tuesday Mugabe told reporters that he would step down if he lost and that the army, long the bulwark of his rule, would also respect a win for the winner.

Foreign observer's teams were visible at most polling stations.

Meanwhile, temperatures took a plunge throughout the country on Tuesday, and weather experts say this will continue through the election day.

The Meteorological Department warned of low temperatures.

"We are expecting cloudy to overcast and windy weather, with drizzle in places. It should be mild by daytime but cold overnight and in the morning," the Met's Jonathan Chifuna said.

He said the highest temperature would be between 14-17 degrees in the southern parts of the country.


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