ZANU-PF primary elections June 25, 2013 in the Republic of Zimbabwe. The country is preparing for elections later in the year., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
High turnout forces extension of Zanu-PF primaries
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:59
VOTING in Zanu-PF primary elections was yesterday extended to 12 noon today in the wake of overwhelming turnout that saw people queuing well into the night. Although voting started late in some areas due to some logistical challenges that arose from the national character of the vote, supporters turned up in their thousands in different parts of the country with some constituencies recording upwards of 10 voters.
This was a far cry from MDC-T primaries, that began six weeks ago, that saw some candidates being voted in by between 32 and 100 people while the other MDC formation has resorted to handpicking candidates wherever it finds those willing to stand on its ticket.
Voting continued well into the night in most areas and by the time of going to print some party supporters were still queuing to cast their ballots after some presiding officers opted to extend the voting hours.
Zanu-PF opened voting in the primaries to all card carrying members, a more democratic route than that adopted by other parties that opted for what they call ‘’electoral colleges’’ of a maximum of 1200 people per constituency.
Some areas had finished voting by late last night and counting of ballots was underway.
So intense was the interest in the Zanu-PF primaries that the major daily papers ran .live blogs with interest coming from as far afield as the EU countries.
Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said the national elections directorate expected to get the list of winning candidates by 4pm today.
Voting was set to resume by 7am today in the areas that failed to finish yesterday.
Cde Khaya Moyo said reports from the provinces showed that the voting had gone on well despite the late start at most of the polling stations.
“It has come to the notice of the national elections directorate that voting in the Zanu-PF primaries has gone on very well,” he said.
“In some areas, voting started late due to logistical challenges. I direct that voting continue tomorrow (today) up to 12pm.”
Cde Khaya Moyo said districts facing challenges with securing ballot papers should improvise, insisting that the process should be fair, free and transparent.
Voting in Harare was characterised by long queues in some areas, especially in Mbare, Chitungwiza and Tafara-Mabvuku.
Some people in the city were trying their hand at voting although they were not registered with the party and they were being turned away.
Long queues could be seen at Chitungwiza’s Unit L where over 4 000 people were gathered outside the polling station by late afternoon.
The majority of voters were women with Chitungwiza delivering a large number of youths.
In Mashonaland East, voting ended at 7pm at most polling stations with provincial deputy chairperson Cde Stephen Chiurayi expressing satisfaction with the way the primary elections were conducted.
Chikomba District in the province experienced logistical challenges that saw voting beginning late, with some voters in Chikomba West saying their names did not appear on the voters’ roll.
Polling had to be suspended at some centres such as Pasipanodya and Masarirambi.
Incumbent House of Assembly member Cde Mike Bimha was squaring off against Cde Douglas Makuku. There are 19 wards in the constituency with 17 of them being contested.
In Chikomba Central, Cde Felex Mhona was uncontested, so was Chikomba East legislator Cde Edgar Mbwembwe.
Ballot counting in Murewa and Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe began last night.
Voting in Murewa West, North and South began as early as 8am. There was a huge voter turnout in the Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe constituencies where authorities expected more than 50 000 people to cast their votes.
In Masvingo, the primary elections began late in most constituencies as ballot papers were not delivered on time.
Voting got underway just before midday in Chivi Central, Chivi South and Chivi North where voters had waited since morning to cast their ballots.
The primary elections were completed peacefully at some centres in Masvingo North and Masvingo Central, but the process was still underway deep into the night in Masvingo Urban.
In Mashonaland West, voting started at around 7pm at most polling stations as voting material was delivered late.
Cde Grace Pfurira, a polling official at Kahondera High School in Zvimba West constituency, revealed that voting began at 6pm.
In Kariba and Hurungwe, voting started late in most constituencies.
Polling failed to take place in Ward 3, Hurungwe East, because there was no electricity, while some rural wards failed to proceed under candle light.
Counting of the ballots started late last night at polling stations in Kariba that received materials early.
Vote counting at most polling stations in Norton began at 7pm with results expected late last night. This was despite earlier logistical problems that saw polling start way after the scheduled 7am.
Some prospective voters left without casting their ballots on account of the delays.
There was a huge turnout of voters in Chegutu West, Mhondoro-Mubaira and Chegutu East constituencies despite delays caused by the late delivery of polling material.
In Chinhoyi constituency, voting got underway at around 7pm due to the non-availability of ballot papers, while in Mhangura aspiring candidates - Dr Douglas Mombeshora, Cde Misheck Nyarubero and Cde Elias Bhokoro - pooled their resources to facilitate the printing of voting material.
In Zvimba North, voting started late and is expected to continue this morning, with some voters interviewed saying Cde Marian Chombo’s name was not appearing on the ballot papers.
In an interview Cde Marian Chombo disclosed that she only realised that her name was not appearing on the ballots when polling started.
However, she stressed that she was not bitter and would continue being a member of the revolutionary party. In Mashonaland Central’s Muzarabani North and Muzarabani
South constituencies, ballot papers were delivered late, but voting progressed smoothly from 4pm to 8pm.
Muzarabani North had 41 polling stations and Muzarabani South 29.
Ballot distribution in Mutoko in Mashonaland East started mid-morning and voters were still casting their ballots at some polling stations by evening.
In Beitbridge East and Beitbridge West constituencies, long queues could be seen at several polling stations by last night.
The election managers went around the areas informing voters of a polling extension.
Voting in Zaka, Bikita and Gutu in Masvingo started after 2pm and finished in the evening, paving way for vote counting.
In the Midlands, polling started around mid-morning in all districts save for Gweru Urban, which saw the first voter cast their ballot at 3pm. The district was affected by the late distribution of voting material.
There was a huge voter turnout at most polling stations, among them Senga, Mkoba and Mtapa while polling booths in areas such as Mvuma, Gokwe and Mberengwa were closed by 5pm.
Voting also kicked off late at many polling centres in Gweru where the process was expected to end by 7pm.
It was all smooth in Gokwe South where voting concluded at 6pm with officials indicating that results will be ready early this morning.
Provincial chairperson Cde Jason Machaya said the province printed more than two million ballot papers and that most polling stations had received ballot boxes by 8am.
In Gweru Urban, voting was peaceful with some supporters visiting the polling station clad in full Zanu-PF regalia.
In Shurugwi, thousands of people thronged polling stations to cast their votes.
In Zvishavane-Ngezi constituency, which also covers Zvishavane Urban, people turned out in large numbers at a polling station near Ngezi River, a resettlement area about 20km outside Zvishavane town.
In Bulawayo, voters were at the polling centres by 7am, but the elections failed to take off as scheduled due to a shortage of ballot papers.
Ballot papers were transported to the province’s 43 polling stations in the afternoon and voting was still in progress well after 5pm.
The turnout was overwhelming in parts of Matabeleland South, notably Umzingwane and Insiza North constituencies where party members flooded the different polling centres to cast their votes.
Dozens of voters queued at Thelamanzi Business Centre near Esigodini as early as 8am while scores of others also thronged Habane polling centre.
At Filabusi Centre, voting ended at mid-day and by 1pm polling officers had started counting the ballots.
The primaries in Gwanda started at 2.15pm although the party supporters started flooding polling stations as early as 7am.
In Matabeleland South, voting progressed peacefully in areas such as Mangwe, Bulilima East and Bulilima West constituencies despite delays in the distribution of ballot papers.
In Matobo North, villagers started arriving at the polling stations as early as 8am.
In Matabeleland North, Zanu-PF provincial administrator, Cde Bigboy Nkiwane said the majority of the 553 polling stations opened at 7am.
A visit to Bubi constituency showed that voter turnout was low in peri-urban areas, while polling stations in the villages had a higher turnout.
In Manicaland, voting started after 3pm due to a shortage of transport, which resulted in the late delivery of ballot papers.