OVERVIEW: #Zim elections - Polling stations shut their doors as voting officially ends

2018-07-30 19:20

Polls have closed in Zimbabwe's historic election, the first since the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe.


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Last Updated at 04:24
30 Jul 19:32

Polls have closed in Zimbabwe's historic election, the first since the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

Millions have voted, turnout was high and the day was free of the violence that marked previous elections.The 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe confidante, is in a close race with main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

The 40-year-old Chamisa has called the election a choice between Zimbabwe's past and future.Final election results are expected within five days.

30 Jul 19:11

The state-owned Herald newspaper is reporting that voting has officially ended in the southern African country, with most polling stations shutting their doors.

Polling officers will take a 15-minute break before vote counting starts, the report says.

30 Jul 19:08

30 Jul 18:31

It's the final minutes of voting in Zimbabwe's historic election, with turnout high and free of the violence that marked previous years, AP reports.

For the first time, former leader Robert Mugabe isn't on the ballot.

Zimbabweans say they are eager for change after decades of turmoil and economic stagnation. "Why would I fight my fellow Zimbabweans?" asks voter Tapiwa Kahondo. "I'm so happy for today, man. I'm so happy," Kahondo told AP.

The opposition has raised concerns about delays in the voting in its stronghold urban areas, and it has warned it will organise peaceful protests if the elections are thought to be flawed, according to AP.

30 Jul 18:28

More booths have been brought in where people have been waiting in long lines, as voting nears to an end.  

Voting stations will remain open where people have been queuing before the 19:00 closing time.

30 Jul 18:04

30 Jul 17:57

The head of the European Union mission monitoring Zimbabwe's elections says his team has seen "huge differences" in the pace of voting at polling stations.

Elmar Brok says voters at one location waited less than an hour to cast their ballots while others at a nearby station waited more than half the day.


30 Jul 17:48

Speaking to reporters outside a polling station, EU chief observer Elmar Brok said that that there is a huge outcome, especially among youth and young women.  

There seemed to be some “disorder”, he said, because people didn’t know which queue to stand in but hoping it would be solved soon because people would walk away (without voting) because of frustration.

30 Jul 17:38
Elections went "very smooth" in some areas while in other areas it was "totally disorganised" EU's chief observer says.

30 Jul 17:34

Ramaphosa said the ANC was pleased to hear that elections had started off well and that there were no incidents of violence in Zimbabwe.

"It means that the people of Zimbabwe are determined to ensure that they install a government that will be representative of all the people of that country," he remarked.

Ramaphosa said South Africa supported the people of Zimbabwe and was prepared to work with whichever political party emerged victorious at the polls.

READ the full article here.

30 Jul 17:16

30 Jul 16:50

It was also a major concern, for the group, that the electoral body appeared to have only charged the country’s leading opposition leader for campaigning after the campaign period had passed.

READ more here.

30 Jul 16:35
Mmusi Maimane wishes Zimbabweans strength and success during elections.

30 Jul 16:06

30 Jul 16:03

30 Jul 15:56

Long lines formed outside many polling stations in Harare, the capital, and elsewhere.

Anyone in line as of the 19:00 closing time could still vote, though opposition parties were concerned that their supporters could drift away if forced to wait for hours.

Some observers welcomed Zimbabwe's freer political environment but cited worries about bias in state media, a lack of transparency in ballot printing and reports of intimidation by pro-government traditional leaders who are supposed to stay neutral.

READ the full story here.

30 Jul 15:47

Concerns have been raised about the delays at polling stations and if voters queueing would be allowed to vote after 19:00.  

Reports suggest that those queueing will still be allowed to vote.

30 Jul 15:31

30 Jul 15:13
Here is gallery of pictures showing the moment when Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace voted in Highfields, Harare.

30 Jul 15:10

Polling stations are scheduled to close at 19:00.

A run-off vote is scheduled for September 8 if no presidential candidate wins at least 50% in the first round.

30 Jul 14:42
BBC is reporting that so far, the election day has gone smoothly across much of Zimbabwe - a fact that no-one in this turbulent country takes for granted.

30 Jul 14:18

Zimbabwe's main opposition leader warns that "there seems to be a deliberate attempt to suppress and frustrate the urban vote."

Nelson Chamisa has expressed his concerns on Twitter but declares that "Victory is ours!"

The vote in Zimbabwe's major cities is crucial to the opposition while rural areas traditionally back the ruling party.

That can benefit President Emmerson Mnangagwa. People in line when polls close at 19:00. can vote.

The electoral commission says the turnout is high and voting has been peaceful, a contrast to the violence seen in past votes under former leader Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule.This is the first election without Mugabe on the ballot. - AP

30 Jul 14:14

30 Jul 14:12

30 Jul 13:54

Zimbabwe Election: Top candidates may have violated law

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it has referred to police at least two candidates who might have violated the law by campaigning after the cutoff time.

The chair of the commission is refusing to name names during a press conference but the candidates are likely President Emmerson Mnangagwa and main opposition challenger Nelson Chamisa.

Both issued public statements on Sunday.Campaigning ended 24 hours before polls opened Monday morning.

30 Jul 13:45

Scores of chanting Zimbabweans gathered to see 94-year-old former leader Robert Mugabe vote, despite his troubled legacy.

"We miss him. I last saw him ages ago," says 22-year-old Everjoy Tafirei.

Mugabe stepped down in November under military pressure after 37 years in power.

"I just want to see him face to face, even shake his hand as someone I have supported all my life. I still feel like he is my hero," says 34-year-old Jacob Mucheche.

Mugabe struggled to walk into the polling station but raised his fist before entering, acknowledging the crowd.

The warm reception was a stark contrast to the grim faces as Mugabe's successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, voted earlier. - AP

30 Jul 13:42

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe on Monday cast his ballot in the country's first election since he was ousted by the military in November after ruling for 37 years, an AFP journalist saw.

Mugabe, 94, made no comment as he walked unaided into the polling station at a primary school in the Highfield district of Harare, accompanied by his wife Grace. - AFP

30 Jul 13:40

30 Jul 13:39

30 Jul 13:33

Crowd reacts as Mugabe and his wife, Grace emerge from the polling station.

Watch this eNCA video clip

30 Jul 13:13

eNCA is reporting that former president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace are voting now.

Watch the video below

30 Jul 13:03
Chigumba says voting is progressing well across the country.

30 Jul 13:02
Chigumba says "today is election day and we want peace"

30 Jul 13:01
Chigumba says vote turnout has been high

30 Jul 12:58

Chigumba says two presidential candidates (no names) have violated the Electoral Act by campaigning after deadline

30 Jul 12:57
Chigumba reminds observers and the media that it is in violation of the code of conduct to interview a voter on their way to or from the voting process or at the polling stations.

30 Jul 12:56
ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba says as at 08:00 this morning, 90% of the 10 985 polling stations had opened.

30 Jul 12:55
he Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is giving an update on the voting and situation at polling stations.

30 Jul 12:40
Watch as President Cyril Ramaphosa wishes the people of Zimbabwe all the best as the country votes for its next president

30 Jul 12:36

This is what Chamisa said after casting his vote":

"I have no doubt that by the end of the day today we should be very clear as to an emphatic voice for change, the new, and the young - I represent that,"

He again raised fraud allegations, saying "in the rural areas... if the ballot is a genuine one, not a fake one, victory is certain."

Chamisa hopes to tap into a young population that could vote for change.

30 Jul 12:26

Earlier, former vice president Joice Mujuru cast her vote at Oriel Girls High School in Harare.

Mujuru was sacked from Zanu-PF by Mugabe in 2014 Joice Mujuru on accusations of corruption and plotting to kill him.

30 Jul 12:20

Zimbabwe's two main presidential candidates faced starkly different receptions as they voted in a historic election.

Solemn faces greeted President Emmerson Mnangagwa as he arrived with his wife at a rural school in Kwekwe.

There was no cheering, and people crossed their arms and watched as he left in his motorcade.Meanwhile opposition leader Nelson Chamisa was swarmed by cheering, whistling supporters on the outskirts of the capital, Harare.

And the mood at other polling stations was largely cheerful as people waited in line. Some arrived at 04:00, three hours early.

Mnangagwa previously lost parliamentary elections in his Kwekwe constituency and had been appointed by former leader Robert Mugabe to an unelected seat in parliament, leading to derisive comments from the opposition about his lack of electoral appeal. - AP

30 Jul 12:08

Dr Winston Mano, Director of the Africa Media Centre at the University of Westminster has shared his views:

"These are the first important elections in the post Mugabe-Tsvangirai era, a real chance for unprecedented social change in the fledgling democracy with many challenges: cash shortages, unemployment, corruption, sanctions, lack of investment, etc.

"Campaigning has largely been free of violence but complaints of structural bias have been made by the opposition, MDC Alliance. Some of the issues have been corrected by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission(ZEC) but others remain. The ruling party is happy with the preparations. The African Union has expressed satisfaction with the preparations.

Peace and more freedoms

"The opposition MDC Alliance is united and could present a strong challenge to the ruling Zanu-PF Party. Squabbles and splits in both parties could cost them crucial votes. The MDC remains strong in urban areas. There is a possibility of a run-off between the two leading parties. 

"Zanu-PF has promised to continue with peace, more freedoms and to uphold minority rights, and to put an end to land invasions. MDC has promised a smarter approach to the economy to create jobs and revitalise industry.

"I see Zanu-PF winning by a small margin, resulting in a strong opposition to its policies. In my view, the best result will be a government of national unity."

30 Jul 12:02

Dr Heike Schmidt, Associate Professor in Modern African History at the University of Reading, says:

"The outcome of the Zimbabwean elections is significant not just for the country, but the region and beyond. When the military effected a leadership change in November last year by removing Robert Mugabe from power, who had ruled the country since its independence in 1980, the nation was both jubilant and thoroughly disappointed.

The new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa has since run the country calmly, reasserting the power of the ruling party, Zanu-PF, and its elders, legitimizing their standing through their participation in the liberation war of the 1960s and 70s.

"The elections, if free and fair, provide an opportunity to establish a strong opposition presence in parliament for the first time since 1987 or to even topple Zanu-PF. What one can say so far is that pre-election violence and intimidation appears to be less than on previous such occasions and that President Mnangagwa appears utterly confident in his election victory."

30 Jul 11:55
An election assessor sits at a polling station in the Harare suburb of Chitungwiza. (AFP)

30 Jul 11:48

NewsDay is reporting that while other international broadcasters have allocated a lot of airtime to the Zimbabwe election - giving minute by minute updates from events countrywide, Zimbabwe's state broadcaster, ZBC TV is screening regular programmes.

ZBC TV only broke off the normal programming to air Mnangagwa casting his vote, the report says.

30 Jul 11:35

MDC's Chamisa has reportedly told BBC that he is confident of victory in today's election.

"It's a done deal... We are not losing this election - we are winning this election. I'm not interested in hypotheticals  - we are will win this election to the extent it's free and fair - especially in the rural areas. It's a done deal," BBC quoted him as saying. 

30 Jul 11:21
Ladies carrying their children in an election queue at a polling station where Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa cast his ballot at Sherwood Primary School in Kwekwe. (AFP)

30 Jul 11:06

A politician in the Zimbabwean opposition stronghold of Bulawayo says there are numerous reports of "voting going at a snail's pace."

David Coltart, a supporter of opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, says he hopes election observers will pay special attention to the pace of voting "as it is a means of suppressing the urban vote."

Coltart says on Twitter that Zimbabwe's electoral commission deliberately slowed voting in urban areas in the 2002 election to undermine the opposition, which traditionally has strong support in major cities. Past elections have been marred by irregularities.

But Zimbabwe's electoral commission says this election — the first without longtime leader Robert Mugabe — will be free and fair. - AP

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