Monday, 30 July 2018

ZIMBABWEANS GO TO THE POLLS

Zimbabweans today decide their Government for the next five years with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday saying all was in place for the harmonised polls.

The plebiscite will see the election of a State President, 210 National Assembly Members and councillors. This is the first time Zimbabwe is using a biometric voters’ roll in an election that will be polling station-based.

A record 23 presidential candidates have registered to contest for the presidency.
President Mnangagwa is the Zanu-PF candidate and his main challenger is MDC Alliance candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa.

ZEC acting chief elections officer Mr Utoile Silaigwana said they were ready for the polls.
He said the 10 985 polling stations established countrywide would open at 7 am and close at 7 pm.
“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission at this stage can confirm that all our polling officers including the material required at the polling stations have now been deployed,” he said.

“They are busy now doing rehearsals to ensure that Zimbabweans vote tomorrow. We are also just doing some final touches in places where we had a delay in receiving tents. They are finalising pitching those tents but the places are few. We are happy to say we never had problems in terms of deployment. We deployed well and were supported by the State to acquire adequate vehicles. Come tomorrow we are sure that we will be ready.”

Zec has recruited about 130 000 election officers. Mr Silaigwana said they expected people not to stand in queues for a long period. “We have rationalised the number of people per polling station,” he said.

“We have got a maximum of 1 000 voters per polling station. The elderly, pregnant women, disabled and the sick will be given priority when they get to the polling stations. They should not worry because they are not going to stand for long.

“Voting will take the normal procedure where people will go in and first get checked if they are in the voters roll, they will be given the presidential, national assembly and local authority ballot papers and then get inked to show that they have voted. At this juncture, I am appealing to ladies with fingers with nail polish to clean them, not necessarily all of them because we will be marking the left small finger. If you don’t have one, we go to the next finger.

They should remove anything that is not natural on that finger.”
Mr Silaigwana urged voters to carry with them valid documents and maintain peace.
Candidates and political parties, he said, should accept the poll results.
“We are encouraging those who have registered to vote in this election to go to the polling stations in the morning with their national identity cards or valid passports,” he said.

“A driver’s licence is not permissible for voting identification precisely because it does not show that you are a citizen and some drivers’ licences taken long back do not even show identity numbers. We also encourage people to come early. There has been some rumours that ZEC has pens that are magical. That is nonsense. We will put ordinary ball point pens that are used by children at school and at home. If you feel like bringing your own pen you can do so provided it is an ordinary one. Once a person has finished voting we encourage them to be peaceful. This is a clarion call. Let us go and vote in peace and avoid any violence, hate speech and anything untoward so that we can as a country be proud that we have had a peaceful and credible election.”

Mr Silaigwana added: “We have got observers from all over the world and they would want to go home saying Zimbabweans are a mature people, they have held their elections in peace. I am encouraging all the participating candidates and political parties to accept the outcome of this election. This is your election, support the process so that you can also support your country in that regard.”

At least 5 695 706 people have registered to vote and Zec has printed 6 150 950 ballot papers. The eight percent contingency is in line with Section 52A of the Electoral Act.
Meanwhile, It’s all systems go throughout the country according to our reporters on the ground.

A snap survey in Bulawayo showed that everything is in place for the voting which starts at 7am and ends at 7pm.

In some areas political parties’ agents were removing their posters that were placed within the 300 metre radius of polling stations.

In Beitbridge, the district elections officer Mr Sibangani Ndlovu said all electoral material had by yesterday been delivered to the 106 polling stations in Beitbridge East and West constituencies. He said the electoral environment was peaceful in the district ahead of the polls.

In Gokwe South, polling officers at Mapfungautsi Primary School in Gokwe town were making final preparations for the election and all the required material had been delivered. There are 39 wards and nine constituencies in Gokwe North and South districts.

Election fever has gripped Plumtree ahead of the voting today. Zec has finished setting up polling stations in preparation for the plebscite.

Masvingo candidates in the harmonised elections said yesterday that they were optimistic that they will win  and represent their respective constituencies. Masvingo has 141 candidates battling it out for the 26 House of Assembly seats . Herald

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