In a development that shows the importance of yesterday’s election, the Bulawayo central business district, which is usually a hive of activity, with vendors and informal traders crowding pavements even during public holidays, was deserted in the early hours of the day, as residents thronged polling stations to cast their votes.
Egodini terminus was deserted, with trading bays empty.
Most polling stations in high-density areas were characterised by long queues, with most prospective voters being youths, some of them first-time voters.
At Makokoba’s Stanley Hall, a queue of more than 200 people was observed at around 9am, with over 100 people having reportedly already cast their ballots.
At Njube’s Helemu Primary School, where there were two polling stations, A and B, a queue of over 300 people had formed by between 7am and 8:30am and close to 200 people had voted.
However, there were some delays in the process, as some voters joined wrong queues.
“There is confusion here. We are told that the surnames which start with preceding letters MUD- to Z- must queue here at polling station B, but some of us had queued for a long time without knowing that and we were forced to join the polling station A when the queue is already long there,” one of the voters said.
Senior citizens aged 65 and above were being given first preference.
At Nguboyenja Jairos Jiri polling station, voters complained that the process was too slow and indicated they were getting impatient. The queue there was very long, with close to 400 people waiting to cast their ballots.
At Umzingwane Rural District Council Ward 17 in Matabeleland South, only 17 people had cast their ballots by around 8:50am, while two people were turned away.
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