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Zimbabwe: Voters react - Monday

Voters in Zimbabwe


Official results from Zimbabwe's general election are trickling in amid speculation about vote-rigging.

Voters from across the country sent the BBC their experiences and observations as they waited for results on Monday 31 March.


Monday 31st March

The air is thick with expectation and with rumour. The parts of the country we have seen are very calm and, in some cases, unusually quiet
BBC's Ian Pannell

22:38 GMT, Kwekwe: One voter in Kwekwe emailed in to say: "I don't blame the ZEC for being so slow, they have to deal with four elections at a time, an increased number of constituencies (from 120 to 210) and increased number of senetorial posts and over 1,000 counselor's post. We respect Mugabe for being a war time hero but the time has come for new ideas. The great horse must now leave the race to the new enthusiastic one!"

22:31 GMT, Harare: Tonderai said his name wasn't allowed to vote: "I have voted in every election since the year 2000. Though I was on the voters roll I was turned away in the Hatfield Constituency because I did not have a paper declaring that I had renounced my foreign citizenship. I was informed later by the Zimbabwe Lawyers Association that this was illegal. I was heartsick and angry that while many dead people could be put on the voter's rolls and appear to have voted, those of us who are living must suffer."

20:48 GMT Chitungwiza: Mafukidze talked of seeing results from polling stations: "In seven hours we started receiving collated results from people who had gone the extra mile to calculate results from polling stations. What surprises me is that its now 24 hours and the Zimbabwe Electroral Commision is not yet finished announcing results. I don't understand what complications they are facing in adding up figures."

20:30 GMT, Harare: A voter in Harare recounted her experiences. "We live in Zimbabwe and don't feel elections were fair. Registered and holding all relevant papers, we arrived at our polling booth to be told we could not vote because our names were not on the register."

20;07 GMT, Bulawayo: One citizen in Bulawayo said: "After casting my vote on the 29th, I went around Bulawayo, parts of the midlands, Matebeleland North and South. The results I saw on polling stations were reflecting Mugabe's exit. People of all ages are very confident that the old man is going."

19:10 GMT, Chegutu: One eyewitness wrote to the BBC website: "We waited 300m away from polling stations, awaiting vote counting as every one was expecting change. This area is close to Mugabe's home and he lost it to MDC.The Tsunami called change is moving across Zimbabwe."

18:49 GMT, Harare: An anonymous voter said: "The polling clerks who were supposed to help the elderly and the disabled would vote for them, something I found very peculiar. And when the boxes would fill up they would toss them under the tables instead of placing them on top of the tables where everybody can see them. Those who complained about this were roughly bundled into police vehicles on account that they were disturbing the peace."

17:44 GMT, Harare: Louie has sent us this account: "Police have already been deployed on the streets in Harare and are telling people not to assemble, to keep quiet. I have never been this afraid before."

17:31 GMT, Chiredzi: Picket e-mailed us to voice his concern "after voting on Saturday the counting process started immediately and was finished by about 2200hrs. At about 0300hrs all results from the constituency were collated at the command centre. By early morning we knew who was going to represent us in parliament. But to my surprise the results for Chiredzi West have so far not been announced. One can only wonder as to what is taking place."

16:53 GMT, Harare:Vusumuzi e-mailed to say "after having rejoiced that the regime is going down we're now hearing that they've actually won. We heard that Mai Mujuru had lost the Mount Darwin seat but the results show that she has won instead. We no longer know who to trust. Just the thought of going back to Mugabe's rule is so depressing."

16:46 GMT, Zimbabwe: Clemence contacted us with his concern over vote rigging "the voting was fine in my constituency and the MDC won with a very big margin. Now to my surprise what I am hearing on TV and Radio is totally different. I believe they are just starting to rig the vote."

16;42 GMT, Harare: N. Dzimbabwe e-mailed to express his hope for the country "If ZANU is/was rigging the vote then Chen Chimutengwende would not have lost. I understand the MDC's disappointment that the landslide victory they promised is not happening. This seems to be a tight race and I'm glad that no one party will have absolute majority. The future of my country looks much brighter than it was before the elections."

15:53 GMT, Harare: James e-mailed to say he believes Mugabe is up to his old tricks again. "Mugabe wants to announce the results at night so that any dissension is quelled by the soldiers he is deploying in the volatile urban areas. There is no way that he can win with the present state of the country."

15:32 GMT, Harare: Rainman e-mails us to say voting was generally peaceful and free. "People talked freely - even in the voting queues - of their discontent at Mugabe rule. They openly said they would vote for change and if it didn't come it would have been stolen from them."

15:26 GMT Glen View, Harare: Anderson told the BBC that there was clear evidence in his constituency of intimidation by police and soldiers. "There was a heavy police presence at polling stations. Conversation was not allowed among voters, cell phones had to be switched off. The whole atmosphere was tense. If this was the psychological warfare in an urban area, I can only imagine what it was like in rural ones."

15:08 GMT, Gweru: Zvenyika reports via e-mail that in remote districts of Zimbabwe there are no road networks and the Zimbabwe electoral commission has to rely on tractors to get around. The logistical challenges means it is unrealistic to "expect the ZEC to collate, verify the results and publishing them any faster than they are doing without compromising the validity of the entire election system," he says. "Throughout the voting exercise, I did not once see or hear about any international election observer or accredited journalist visiting any of the remote polling stations."

15:07 GMT, Gweru: Mabasa, a Zanu-PF supporter e-mails in to say that he witnessed a "free" election characterised by "peace and tranquillity". He told the BBC that he was not particularly worried about the delayed results: "The MDC are celebrating now but I think it is premature. Let them wait for the official result to be announced."

14:59 GMT, Harare: "The real fear now is that the government is holding back the official results to incite violence," says Mukonikoni by e-mail. "This would give them reason to impose some kind of martial law."

14:30 GMT, Harare: Thokozani e-mailed to say people are anxious about the delays in the results. "We are tired of suffering at the expense of a few selfish individuals. I hope the world just doesn't turn a blind eye as has happened before. We need help," he says.

14:28 GMT, Harare: Patrick voted yesterday for the MDC. He contacted us to say: "When the results started coming through there was real excitement, cell phone networks were jammed with people exchanging results. Now the excitement is dying down, as the results are showing the MDC and Zanu-PF are tied. People are beginning to feel that there has been some trick by the government."

13:54 GMT, Mutare Lazarus e-mails in to say that if people feel election results have been rigged, "people will burst with anger and probably demonstrate or become violent".

13:51 GMT, Harare Thomas told the BBC of his fears: "My constituency is Harare central. I think the results are there and they are taking their time. I feel they are manipulating the numbers. I fear a win for Zanu-PF. We really fear that. We know for sure that in the urban areas Zanu-PF will not win. But what about elsewhere?"

13:42 GMT Zvishavane: Kudzie e-mailed to say: "People here are very anxious. We have been accessing many websites and using our phones to try to get the results. The critical challenge is the abuse of the state security forces. They have been deployed in most places. Helicopters were flying just over our town a few days before elections. I have not met anyone who is backing Mugabe. And yes we are all very nervous."

13:25 GMT Ndondandishe from Harare e-mails in saying that in Glen Norah there has been no reported violence and claims that the MDC has taken the constituency by a big margin: "We want change - and sure enough change has come. I phoned my parents in the rural areas of Masvingo and they said MDC has also won there, even though the official results have yet to be announced. That used to be a Zanu stronghold, but not anymore. We are tired of prices that go up everyday."

13:21 GMT An anonymous voter from Gweru e-mails in to express concerns: "The delay is becoming dubious, it seems they are trying to cook figures."

13:03 GMT, Harare: Shingie contacted the BBC to say: What worries me is that the results have not been published yet. Those working at the polling stations claimed counting was completed yesterday morning. How can it take so much time to verify? We are anxious and the longer it takes the more likely it seems that the 'verified' result will be far from the actual result."

10:43 GMT, Harare: Wilma e-mailed us to say: "They are already rigging the results, judging from the announcements on radio and television. It truly pathetic for Mugabe to keep holding on to power when it is pretty obvious that he has lost."

09:55 GMT, Zvishavane: Dhewa e-mailed us to say he believes "something fishy is going on". He says: "I understand the counting of the votes started soon after the polling stations were closed. So what puzzles me is the delay. Heavy deployment of riot police and other armed forces really shows something is being cooked up."

08:53 GMT, Gweru: Willard Nyamubarwa contacted the BBC to say voting was very straightforward and peaceful. But he is concerned about the delay in the publication of results, and that there is a tense atmosphere as people wait to find out the final results. Willard is also concerned that that MDC is saying it has won ahead of official results.

0837 GMT, Harare: Adam e-mailed us to say there is great concern that results are being manipulated by the government.

08:37 GMT: MDC supporter Munya texts in to say: "We are happy, enjoying a landmark victory despite the delay in announcing results."

07:57 GMT, Harare: Dumiso e-mailed to say: "The voting was peaceful, the only concern is the delay of the results. This will cause some problems if the opposition lose the at the end of the day. We want to change now."

07:13 GMT, Harare: Tawanda e-mailed us to say that he thinks the MDC won the election at all levels. "But the important thing is no longer who won but whether Mugabe will be willing to accept defeat," he says.

06:52 GMT, Harare: Esther e-mailed to say there have been unprecedented events - with no main news bulletin on Sunday night. She believes it is because the results are simply too embarrassing for Zanu PF.

The BBC has not been allowed to send reporters into Zimbabwe. Some names have been changed to protect their identities.




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Robert Mugabe casts his vote



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