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Page last updated at 20:32 GMT, Saturday, 29 March 2008

Zimbabwe votes: At a glance

Voters in Zimbabwe

Voting has ended in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans voted to choose a president, members of parliament and local councillors.

Contributors across the country sent the BBC their observations of the day.


Voter in Zimbabwe

Noel Kututwa, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, which has been monitoring today's elections told the BBC at 1647 GMT that in general voting had progressed quite smoothly countrywide. He said that most of the long queues at polling stations had been dealt with. But he expressed concerns about the state of the voters' roll which, he said, "was fraught with many problems of duplicate names, of ghost voters, and of people who have long since died but are still on the voters roll."

1815 GMT, Harare: Ashley (not his real name) texts in with this message: "They denied many youth to vote because they knew they were the ones to vote them away with various reasons. " He told the BBC by telephone that he was turned away from a polling station as his name didn't appear on the electoral roll - even though he says he has already registered to vote.

1813 GMT, Bulawayo: Contributor Themba Nkosi says that people who remained in queues after polling officially closed were still allowed to vote. But many were turned away from polling stations because they turned up in the wrong ward or did not carry proper documentation, such as identity cards. Although voting was generally peaceful, there were some reports of violence in Bulawayo.

1725GMT, Harare: Munawari emails in to say that police are around but standing away from queues. "Everyone is in a very positive mood, the atmosphere is calm, but we want free and fair elections."

1723 GMT, Binga and Hwange: Contributor Joel Gore in Matabeleland North Province says about 1,000 people in Pashu, Binga, had not started voting by 1400 GMT as ballot boxes arrived late. A source said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission could not explain the late arrival.

Incumbent opposition MP Joel Gabhuza called for voting in the area to be extended to enable everyone to vote. Mr Gabhuza also complained that many people had been disenfranchised as the constituency had new boundaries. This had confused some voters who had turned up at the wrong polling centres or could not reach more remote polling stations.

Meanwhile in Hwange, supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai were concerned by the presence of two disqualified MDC candidates on the ballot paper. They expressed fears that this could split the vote to the advantage of Zanu-PF our contributor says. By 1700 GMT polling stations were empty of voters.

1715 GMT, Karoi: Voting finished in and around Karoi about three hours ago, contributor Naume Muza says. As counting gets under way, it has been reported that independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni has not fielded election agents in the majority of rural wards in Mashonaland West. Our contributor says this is surprising as Mr Makoni said earlier that the only way to defeat President Robert Mugabe was to ensure that counting was done at the ward level.

1707 GMT, Mutare: Contributor David Farira says voting ended with no reports of incidents of violence although there were allegations that ballot papers in Mutasa South were in short supply. He says there was no official confirmation of the ballot paper shortage. There is little social activity in the city centre and night spots and beer halls have fewer patrons. Most social centres are closed.

1642 GMT, Victoria Falls: An anonymous voter who has travelled around the polling stations in the district emails with this report: "I'm impressed with the maturity shown by the Zimbabwean electorate. The voting process has been transparent throughout the day and I haven't seen or heard any cases of violence since 0713 [local time] when I went to exercise my democratic right to vote."

1623 GMT, Masvingo: Owen Chikari in Masvingo says 10 people have been arrested in connection with clashes between opposition Movement for Democratic Change and ruling party Zanu-PF supporters in the rural constituency of Bikita West. Our contributor says in Masvingo town, voting, which has been peaceful, is all but over with polling officers sitting around waiting to start the count in just over half an hour.

1622 GMT, Harare: Mrs B wrote in an email: "Went to the polling station at Eastridge school, (eastern part of Harare) at about 3pm (local time). How sad. There were two voting halls and no voters to be seen. It was very peaceful. The people in the school area said there may have been about 400 people voting throughout the day, when in fact this venue should have seen thousands.

This is the second report of terrible voter apathy I've heard today. I've spoken to several folk who could have voted, but said they haven't because: 'What's the point? The outcome is predetermined'. If there is no presidential change, then once again, Zimbabweans may never know. However, I do feel voters should have turned out en masse."

1551 GMT, Bulawayo: If polls close as planned then many people will not get to vote in Zimbabwe's second city, says contributor Themba Nkosi. He says that at Cowdray Park polling station there are still long queues. People hope that the electoral commission will extend the voting to allow them to cast their vote.

1533 GMT, Harare: Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairman George Chiweshe tells the BBC that turnout seems to be high in and around the capital.

He says he has not heard reports of problems outside Karoi, where farm workers claim they have been forced by their employer to vote for the ruling Zanu-PF party. "As far as I'm concerned we afforded everyone who wished to vote the opportunity to do so freely and secretly," he says. "If it does happen, it is an offence and people can be reported to the police."

He says after polls close, counting will be done at polling stations to be closely scrutinised by "the contestants or their agents in the presence of observers". Results are to be posted outside the polling stations and sent on to collation centres.

1526 GMT, Bulawayo: An anonymous voter says: "It seems our deceased relatives' names are still on the voters' roll. When they were checking my name, I peeped at the list and I saw the names of relatives of mine who died some time ago. I could not ask them about it because right in front of the voting station there was a heavy police presence."

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe voting on 29 March 2008
Mr Mugabe blames Zimbabwe's problems on a Western plot

1512 GMT, Harare: It is still quiet and calm all over the north and the east of the city, says contributor Festus. There are no queues at all. It is a public holiday so no restaurants or shops are open and most people are off the streets - which are almost deserted, he says.

1430 GMT Radcliffe, near Kwekwe: Georgina says: "I went to four different polling stations in the area and my name was not on any of the voters' rolls, even though I checked two weeks ago to make sure, and my name was on the voters' register then.

My grandmother's name was on the roll but she was told she could not vote this time, even though she has voted in all previous elections - she is 78. However, seven members of my family who have all passed away were on the list, including my uncle, who died a week ago and was an MDC member of parliament.

This is very disturbing for us. But we are not the only ones. Out of the four polling stations I went to, I would say half of all the people who turned up were turned away. They still took everyone's names however, including my neighbours.

I was hoping to vote for Morgan Tsvangirai and I am afraid they will attribute my vote to Zanu-PF. The same thing must be happening across the country and it will probably mean another Zanu-PF victory. It's very sad."

1402 GMT, Victoria Falls: Harrison Muronga emails: "Got to the polling station in Ward 10 at 0730 (0530 GMT) and voting was peaceful, stretching to over 300 metres. Please Zimbabweans let's keep up the discipline. Let's show the whole world we are a peaceful nation despite the difficulties we are facing as they shall all come to pass."

1400 GMT, Harare: Tinashe wrote in an email: "I voted in Mabelreign at 1100 (0900 GMT) having been in the queue for two hours. On passing the polling station two hours later it was virtually empty with about five people waiting to cast their votes. With 29 polling stations in a constituency of about 27,000 registered voters it could mean people have managed to vote without the long queues. In the township of Highfield, where Mugabe cast his vote, the queues had disappeared when I went there and I was told they were long in the morning. It seems the electoral officers will be able to close their stations at the designated time of 1900."

1330 GMT, Luveve, Bulawayo: Sporo in the UK texts: "I just spoke to my brother who is voting in Luveve. He is in a queue and it's piling up with people. He thinks latecomers will not able to vote."

1325 GMT, Hornung Park, Bulawayo: An anonymous voter texts: "Just finished casting my vote.I am disturbed by the number of people being turned away because their names don't appear on the voters' roll."

1305 GMT, Bulawayo: Colin Chigiyegiye texts: "I have voted and the system is quite easy and transparent, in my view. I do not expect any rigging. There is total peace."

Morgan Tsvangirai votes in Harare
Morgan Tsvangirai said he was confident of victory

1304 GMT, Hatcliffe, north of Harare: Laura Lynch, a reporter from the Canadian Broadcasting Company, tells the BBC about allegations of voting irregularities after visiting a polling station based in the middle of a field: "There were a number of people lined up to vote. The candidate of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change tell me this is an example of vote rigging, because she says all of these people can't possibly be living in the field, but that is what they're saying their address are. I did speak to one of the people there. He believes that he is able to vote there because President Robert Mugabe gave him a piece of that land last November, so he believes it's legitimate."

1246 GMT, Mutare: Contributor David Farira says voting has remained peaceful although the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has complained there were attempts by some soldiers to intimidate people at a polling station in Chikanga high-density suburb.

Some MDC candidates said they were also "shocked" by the high number of people who have been turned away at polling stations either because their names do not appear on the voters' roll or they were in the wrong ward.

Misheck Kagurabadza, the MDC candidate for Mutasa South, said at one polling station about 20 people were turned away in just two hours. Zanu-PF election agents said there were satisfied with the voting process.

At most polling stations in the city, our contributor says there were more polling agents and police than the number of people queuing to vote.

But there are reports of a high voter turnout in constituencies in Chipinge, 190km south of Mutare, our contributor says.

1231 GMT, Harare: Tia emails: "I was disenfranchised by a faulty voters' roll. I was distressed and disappointed to be turned away after hours of queuing, having voted in all polls since 2000, and having confirmed my name on the voters' roll last month. The roll is seriously flawed - many legitimate voters have been turned away."

1214 GMT, Bulawayo: Contributor Themba Nkosi says voting is continuing peacefully, but the thousands of people who have braved the heat to vote are complaining that there are too few polling stations in the townships.

I have waited for this day since last year and I will make sure I cast my vote
Dumisani Ncube

He spoke to some voters who had been standing in the queue for two hours and those going into the booths take too long to finish. Inside the polling booths, officers say they have a problem because many people do not seem to understand the voting procedures and they fear there will be many spoilt ballots.

Many people have also been turned away because they had turned up at wrong polling stations, our contributor says.

Dumisani Ncube who was queuing to vote outside Luveve Hall said the queues were frustrating but said he would wait until he voted. "I have waited for this day since last year and I will make sure I cast my vote," he said.

Our contributor has received reports from the border with South Africa that scores of other would-be voters are still trying to get cleared by immigration officers at Beitbridge to get to Bulawayo on time before voting closes.

ZIMBABWE POLLS - KEY FACTS
Some 5.9m eligible voters
They elect president, parliament and local government
Nearly 9,000 polling stations
Polls opened at 0500 GMT and close at 1700 GMT
Winner needs more than 50% to avoid presidential run-off

He says South African immigration officers are also reported to be giving those who want to vote first preference in the immigration queues. But there are unconfirmed reports of Zimbabwean police detaining a bus carrying Zimbabweans from South Africa. Police and soldiers are patrolling the volatile townships where they expect youths to cause trouble after the results are announced, our contributor says.

1208 GMT, Masvingo: Contributor Owen Chikari says the long and snaking queues which characterised early voting in Masvingo have disappeared. He says a total of about 2,000 people have been turned away in different constituencies by 1000 local time (0800 GMT).

To be honest our voters' roll is in shambles
Mashoko Manjengwa in Masvingo

"I have walked about 15km and I am now trying to find out where my name is," Mashoko Manjengwa told our contributor. "I am surprised that my name is not appearing on the roll when I have been voting in previous elections. To be honest our voters' roll is in shambles."

In rural areas around Masvingo, our contributor says voting was very peaceful and by midday polling officers were basking in the sun after the long queues had disappeared.

He says so far no incidents of political violence have been reported with the police saying they were in control of the situation.

1150 GMT, Harare: O Mapiye writes in an email: "Voted early at 0715 (0515 GMT). The atmosphere was good and there was a large turnout. I visited three polling stations in the Warren Park area and there were no observers anywhere."

1147 GMT, Gweru: Gora Valentine Elifas emails: "I voted at Senga Primary School in Gweru city at 1000 (0800 GMT). There were only two of us voting at the time. The voting process was easy and the officers were all friendly. I encourage all those who have not yet voted to visit this underused station. Confronted with four ballot papers the old and illiterate may seek assistance especially in rural areas and this is where possible rigging may take place. I congratulate Zimbabweans for conducting themselves so maturely so far."

1130 GMT, Hwange: Contributor Joel Gore says queues at polling centres have reduced this afternoon, unlike in the morning when voters rushed to cast their votes. He says no incidents of violence or intimidation have been reported and the streets continue to remain silent as residents prefer to remain indoors.

It saddening to note that there is voter apathy
MDC supporter Lizwe Mathe

But some complained that they had been turned away because they produced drivers' licences as proof of identity. "I came yesterday from Bulawayo for the elections and carried with me a driver's licence," Jabulani Khumalo told our contributor. "However, I did not vote because I had no registration identity card or a passport. This happened to most voters who had carried drivers' licences because they don't indicate citizenship."

On Friday, opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters moved around Hwange Central in a vehicle mounted with a hailer encouraging people to go and vote, but our contributor says, their call seems to have fallen on deaf ears as this afternoon some polling stations are empty. "It saddening to note that there is voter apathy. I do not know what the respective authorities and political parties can do to encourage people to go and vote. This is the only day and it will not be extended," MDC supporter Lizwe Mathe said.

Our contributor says last night returning and presiding electoral officers were seen in beer halls wearing MDC T-shirts.

1130 GMT, Radcliffe: John in the UK texts to say: "My grandmother and my sister were both turned away from their polling station in Radcliffe, near Kwekwe. My grandmother was told she could not vote because she was an alien, even though she was born in Zimbabwe and has lived there all her life. She is married to a Malawian, has a Malawian passport but holds a Zimbabwean ID. My sister was told she was not on the electoral role, even though when she checked a couple of weeks ago she was on it. They had to leave the polling station, obviously disappointed and distressed. "

1059 GMT, Karoi: Gandawa emails: "I came to the polling station at 0720 (0520 GMT). The queue is moving fast with approximately 1,000 people behind me. The voting is peaceful. The mood in the queue is good and people are joking. The wind of change is blowing."

It was a command that we all vote for Zanu-PF even though we are suffering here
Farm labourer near Karoi
1050 GMT, Karoi: Contributor Naume Muza says few residents in the farming town 204km north-west of Harare have so far turned up to vote - some polling stations only recording about 100 voters by mid-morning. Karoi is within incumbent President Robert Mugabe's home province.

On Thursday, the electoral commission fired more than 100 polling officers around Karoi and Hurungwe rural. There has been no official reason given, but our contributor says people suspect it is because they were felt to be opposition sympathisers.

"We are being fooled by Mugabe who can easily manipulate the votes into his favour," a school teacher in Chikangwe high-density suburb said.

"Our chance to bring about change is being denied by those who he is using in the secret service, the Central Intelligence Organisation, who have blacklisted us as polling officers saying we are a security risk."

Our contributor says in the farming resettlement areas, labourers were forced by the black bosses to queue for elections as early as 0500 local time (0300 GMT), two hours before voting commenced. At Dicks farm run by Zanu-PF councillor and war veteran Ben Chikanda, farm labours said they were forced to the polling station to vote for the ruling party.

''It was a command that we all vote for Zanu-PF even though we are suffering here,'' one voter told our contributor.

1045 GMT, Victoria Falls: An anonymous voter texts: "I arrived at my polling station in Ward Three in Victoria Falls only to be told that there were no ballot papers. This was at 1000 local time (0800 GMT). There were still no papers at 1235 local time (1035 GMT)."

1044 GMT, Bulawayo: Contributor Themba Nkosi says that a petrol bomb exploded at the home of Zanu-PF councillor Mary Nsingo at 0200 local time (midnight GMT) in Emakhandeni constituency. She was hurt, but has not been seen since, so there are no details of her injuries. Other people were in the house with her - everyone was sleeping at the time. It is not known who is responsible; however, our contributor says she lives in an opposition area. Ms Nsingo is standing for re-election as a ruling party local councillor.

1030 GMT, Gweru: A male voter, 32, who works in the industrial sector told the BBC that there was confusion at his polling station at 1030 (0830 GMT) when he went to vote as ballot papers for president, senator and MP are all on white paper. He says the ballots should be blue for the president, green for the senator, white for the MP and yellow for councillors. The councillors' ballot was yellow, he says. There were about three police officers around, the atmosphere was ok and there were lots of people in lining up to vote, he says. After voting his finger was marked with indelible pink ink.

1029 GMT, Chipinge: Lackson Nyemba writes in an email: "I was first in the queue at 0400 (0200 GMT) and managed to vote by 0715 (0515 GMT) at Matione Primary School, Chipinge Central constituency. By the time I left, the queue was about 200m long. The atmosphere was quite peaceful with people chatting."

1024 GMT, Zvishavane: Francis Masere emails: "The situation in Zvishavene is calm. People went to polling station as early as 0400 GMT. I waited for about two hours to cast my vote. My name wasn't on the voters' roll but I was allowed to vote on the condition that I brought in a receipt which reported that I had registered as a voter before the deadline of 14 February, 2008."

1001 GMT, Harare: Rose texts: "Have voted in the northern suburbs. Very peaceful. Friendly and helpful officers. Whole process took approximately 35 minutes."

1000 GMT, Zesa in the UK texts: "I have just received a text from my sister-in-law in Chegutu. Voting has stopped in her area due to a shortage of ballot papers."

0938 GMT, Harare: Opposition Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) candidate Morgan Tsvangirai casts his vote, saying: "The people's victory is assured."

0921 GMT, Harare: Nicky told the BBC by phone: "I went to one station but the queue was too long. The people there told me they had been waiting since 0100 local time (2300 GMT). I only got there at 0600 (0400 GMT) and waited till now but it's too slow so I'm driving around to find a shorter queue within my ward - there are four stations that I can vote at so I'm going to try the others."

I have already voted. It was OK - unlike the confusion we anticipated. I got to my polling station early.

0912 GMT, Harare: Farai, 24, a student in Borrowdale spoke to the BBC via telephone: "I have already voted. It was OK - unlike the confusion we anticipated. I got to my polling station early. I was there from about 0600 and was among the first people to cast their ballots. I didn't stay long and came right back home."

There are not that many police around. I can't see any observers - maybe they are only inside
Clarence, voter in Mutare

0907 GMT, Mutare: S Moyo texts to say that voting has been peaceful so far: "No acts of violence, intimidation. People are free to choose their candidates."

0906 GMT, Kadoma: Olla in Kadoma, north-west of the capital, says voting is going on very well except for some cases where suspected Zanu-PF supporters are being forced to vote while being observed because the ruling party suspects that some of its supporters will vote for opposition candidates. "They are forced to declare to polling officers, as illiterate and they need assistance," Olla emails.

A policeman and voter and her baby at a polling station in Zimbabwe
Voting has been largely peaceful

0905 GMT, Bulawayo:Hlo emails: "At about 0600 I was up to go to the polling station. I arrived before it opened only to find a long queue, when I was thinking I would be the first one. After about two hours, I was happy to get in and vote for my preferred candidate for the president and others. This was the first exciting vote for me."

0859 GMT, Harare: AFP news agency reports that President Robert Mugabe has cast his vote. "We are not in the habit of rigging... We don't rig elections," the 84-year-old said. "I cannot sleep with my conscience if I have rigged."

0837 GMT, Marondera: Cleopas, 38, in Marondera - a town about 70km east of the capital, Harare, emails: "Voting is going on. People started going to the polls as early as 0530 local time (0330 GMT). Everyone is in high spirits and texts like these are doing the rounds among friends: 'Make sure the old man leaves the keys for state house - if he is shy, tell him to drop them at the robots [traffic lights] on the corner of 7 ave and samora machel ave.'"

ZIMBABWE'S REGIONS
Zimbabwe map
1: Mashonaland West
2: Mashonaland Central
3: Mashonaland East
4: Manicaland
5: Masvingo
6: Midlands
7: Matabeleland South
8: Matabeleland North

0833 GMT, Mutare: David Farira says voting kicked off peacefully in the city east of the capital, Harare, but with far fewer voters than expected queuing to cast their ballots. The pre-election hype that characterised the campaign period has not yet matched the number of people going to the polling stations, he says.

In Sakubva, the most populous high-density suburb, there were very short queues. In Dangamvura, the second most populous high-density suburb, and the city centre, the situation was the same, with about 40 people counted at one station. Our contributor says that only in the new high-density suburb of Hobhouse were there long queues. "I made sure my vote is counted," Obvious Zengeya said after casting his ballot in Hobhouse.

"My vote will contribute towards change to a better Zimbabwe." An official manning a polling booth in Sakubva said that voters were expected to flood voting stations in the afternoon. There are no incidents of violence reported anywhere in Manicaland Province, our contributor says.

0830 GMT, Harare: Our contributor Festus at Glen Lorne polling station says the queue is building. Some people have brought deckchairs and umbrellas and there is a hot food stall set up.

He says the atmosphere is good, but people are starting to talk about the numbers of voters who are being turned away, their names not on the voter's list.

Two young white Zimbabweans offer to take a group of black voters up to Chisipite or Gletwin Farm, a further 15km away, to see if they are on the voters' list there.

Our contributor says there is indignation as word starts to go around.

0826 GMT, Mutare: Clarence, 27, at a polling station in the eastern city of Mutare, says: "I got here about 20 minutes ago and am in the middle of the queue. People are just being cool - everyone is relaxed. Then as soon as they have voted, they leave straight away and return to their homes. There are not that many police around. I can't see any observers - maybe they are only inside."

0824 GMT, Mazowe: Stephen told the BBC that people have been voting peacefully in Mashonaland Central, but turnout is still low as most miners in the area have gone to work despite it being a public holiday. As he went to cast his ballot at 0630 GMT in a mining compound, he says he noticed that there was "a minor hiccup" with the ballot box labels. The written label and colour coding lid on the boxes for the presidential vote and senatorial vote did not tally. The president's box had a green lid instead of a blue one. Stephen says he notified the poll officials and the error was rectified.

0820 GMT, Bulawayo: A voter in Bellevue texts: "Been in the queue since three hours ago. A slow process - I guess it's because of the four ballots. The mood is optimistic, everyone is eager to cast their vote. Everybody is voicing their thoughts out loud, fear is gone, there is hope. Despite the delays everyone is in good spirits."

0820 GMT, Masvingo: Long and winding queues are characterising the elections in Masvingo, south of Harare, says Owen Chikari. Voting was delayed for almost an hour at some urban polling stations. Desperate voters some who been queuing since midnight threatened to destroy Kubatana polling station. But tempers cooled down following the arrival of the ballot papers around an hour after the polls were expected to begin.

"We know that ballot papers did not arrive on time in some areas but the situation is now under control," Ignatius Mushangwe, an official with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, said.

Our contributor says that in rural parts of Masvingo there was a high voter turnout. "We had to sleep in the voting queue because what we need this time as Zimbabweans is a complete change that will make life easy," said Nyasha Mhosva who was in the voting queue at Nemazuwa School polling station. Voting continues, our contributor says, and troops have been deployed in all areas.

0800 GMT, Harare: Our contributor Festus says problems are starting to surface at St Joseph's School polling station in Harare East as huge numbers of people are finding their names are not on the electoral roll.

I made her look again, then for all my family. My father and mother aren't on the list. Only my one of my brothers is on the list
Ben in Harare

One voter, Ben, says he has walked three kilometres to vote and after an hour in the queue found his name was missing. "I showed my ID card and the polling officer started to check the list but said I wasn't on it. I made her look again, then for all my family," he says.

"My father and mother aren't on the list. My other brother Ian isn't on the list. Only my one of my brothers is on the list for this polling station where we have always, always voted in the past."

0809 GMT, Bulawayo: Sandra, 23, told the BBC over the phone from a polling station in Bulawayo: "I'm in the queue - there's seven people in front of me. I only got here an hour ago and so it's all going very efficiently. There is a long queue behind me but it is moving. People around me are quiet and are waiting patiently to cast their vote. People are just waiting for their turn."

0748 GMT, Harare: A voter in Mbare texts: "The situation is calm and peaceful and voting is going on smoothly."

I did not want to miss this opportunity
Mlungisi Mabhena, Zimbabwean teaching in South Africa

0736 GMT, Harare: Sandra says she is standing in line waiting to vote and the atmosphere is peaceful "though tinged with a kind of scepticism". "We don't know whether our votes will count or rigging will occur as in 2002," she texts. "I think the opposition should have done more to mobilise people to register. While most of my friends are very vocal about their desire for change, most failed to meet the registration deadline."

0723 GMT, Mutare: Stuart Valintine emails from Mutare that voting has been peaceful and efficient with large numbers turning out, although it started 10 minutes late. "An old man over 70 who has always voted was turned away because his ID document says he is an 'Alien'," he writes. "He was born in Mozambique, but has live and worked all his life in Zimbabwe."

0715 GMT, Hwange: The usual voter apathy in Hwange, in the north-west, is not in evidence, says Joel Gore. Many people have come out to vote and even Zimbabweans living from South Africa are in the area in large numbers to cast their ballot. He says campaigners can be seen removing election posters to save them as many people are anticipating a presidential run-off .

0714 GMT: A texter from Harare, who has just voted quietly and peacefully, emails, "Some registered voters turned away because name not on voters roll. I saw the name of someone I know who emmigrated years ago was on."

0710 GMT, Bulawayo: Themba Nkosi says at polling stations he has visited in the townships, there were thousands of people, both the young and the old queuing to vote. Those in the queues were in jubilant mood, chatting to one another regardless of which political background or affiliation they came from. At Cowdray Park township, voters started queuing as early as 0300 (0500 GMT) - most of them Zimbabweans working and living in South Africa who started arriving on Friday. "I did not want to miss this opportunity," Mlungisi Mabhena, who works as a teacher in Johannesburg, told our contributor. Mr Mabhena has never voted in Zimbabwe but this year he made sure he came to register to vote because he wants change, he says. Our contributor says no violence has been reported so far and police and soldiers are patrolling the townships where the majority of the city's 1.6m residents live.

0640 GMT: Presidential contender Simba Makoni votes at a Mandara shopping centre in Mashonaland East. "I feel good, I voted for the best candidate," he told AFP news agency.

Hundreds of Zimbabwean wait in a voting queue on election day in Harare
Some people arrived as early as midnight to book their place in the queue
Owen Chikari, Masvingo

0620 GMT, Harare: Ben texts to say he has cast his vote: "The atmosphere is peaceful and the polling officers seem keen to make the process efficient."

0619 GMT, Kwekwe: A 30-year-old male voter in Kwekwe, south-west of Harare, texts: "I have just voted after an hour but the lines are now moving faster. The people are just relaxed and making jokes in the queues."

0610 GMT, Harare: A male voter in Highfields says the queue he is in is moving. People are chatting, it is peaceful and police can be seen monitoring the situation. But people are worried about tomorrow, he says, and on Friday the shops were packed with people trying to stock up in case of trouble.

0540 GMT, Karoi: Naume Muza in Karoi, north-west of Harare, says: "It took me almost 10 minutes to cast my vote. They had to check my name in the voters roll and then I was given four ballot papers: presidential, senatorial, member of parliament and councillor." He says so far voter turnout has been low. At the 10 polling stations he has visited, there have only been a handful of people waiting to vote.

So if you won't take note of electors' complaints why are you here at all?
Disabled voter in Umwinsidale, Harare

0539 GMT, Masvingo: Voting started 30 minutes late in many polling stations in Masvingo as ballot papers arrived late, says Owen Chikari in Masvingo. But the long and winding voting lines are now beginning to move. Somepeople arrived as early as midnight to book their place in the queue, he says.

0530 GMT, Harare: From a polling station in a large marquee between a petrol station and police outpost in Umwinsidale, Festus says voting has been progressing peacefully and the whole process of voting takes just under five minutes. There are no uniformed policeman inside and the one patrolling outside did not enter when a disabled lady entered, he says. However, although she had on previous elections been on the electoral roll for this ward, she was told her name was not on the roll and she must go elsewhere. She tried to complain to the observers both inside and outside the tent, but no-one paid any attention or took any note of her complaint. She told a chap wearing a yellow jerkin which read Regional Faith Observer: "So if you won't take note of electors' complaints why are you here at all?"

0525 GMT, Bulawayo: Themba Nkosi says polls have opened with many people queuing, eager to vote. Zimbabweans from South Africa are still pouring into the city, arriving by minibuses, coaches and private cars, he says.

0518 GMT, Harare: A voter at a polling station in Roosevelt School says there is a queue of about 50 people, where the atmosphere is "party like", with police around but standing away from the queues. "Everyone is in a very positive mood," the texter says.

0516 GMT, Harare: Freelance journalist Brian Hungwe says the doors to the polling station at Alfred Beit Primary School have just opened - about 15 minutes late. People had been getting a bit agitated, but now the atmosphere is cheerful. There is a long queue of about 3,000 people.

0511 GMT, Harare: Noel Kututwa, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Election Support Network that more than 8,000 election monitors, tells the BBC there are concerns about the presence of police officers in polling stations and the state of the voters roll. "We know that there are a lot of duplications," he says. "We also know there are a number of voters who are on that roll whose age is over 100 whom we believe are no longer alive. We know that the voters roll has not been adequately tested."

0503 GMT: Farai, a voter in Harare, says the queue at his polling station in Borrowdale is short, with about 100 people, and he is about to go in and vote.

0311 GMT, Harare: A male voter, 25, texts to say the queue at a polling station is already 30-plus deep, nearly two hours ahead of the polls opening.





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