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Mugabe, 89, Ready to Serve 5-Year Presidential Term

  • Thomas Chiripasi

President Robert Mugabe voting in Harare's Highfield suburb Wednesday with his wife, Grace, and daughter Bona.

President Robert Mugabe voting in Harare's Highfield suburb Wednesday with his wife, Grace, and daughter Bona.

Zimbabweans on Wednesday voted in national elections countrywide to elect a new government, bringing to an end the shaky unity coalition formed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2009 following the disputed 2008 presidential election result.

President Mugabe and his family voted at Mhofu Primary School in Harare’s Highfield suburb mid-morning while Mr. Tsvangirai and his family voted at Mt. Pleasant High School shortly before noon.

Mr. Mugabe told reporters shortly after casting his vote that he is prepared to serve a full term if Zimbabweans give him another mandate in the polls.

Marked Ballot

Marked Ballot

On the other hand, Mr. Tsvangirai said he remains confident that he will win convincingly despite some irregularities that his party noted.

Meanwhile, MDC-T general secretary Tendai Biti said his party is concerned that thousands of people were turned away in some parts of the country mainly in urban areas.

Biti also claimed that voters in Chipinge South were confused by the inter-changing of pictures of candidates on the ballot paper. He said this could result in the democratic will of the people of Chipinge South being subverted.

Long queues started forming early in the morning at a number of polling stations in several high density suburbs of Harare such as Mbare, Kuwadzana and Highfield.

Rungano Chikanya of Greendale told VOA Studio 7 that the queue was moving at a snail’s pace.

Despite allegations of vote rigging and delaying tactics that the MDC-T is alleging, Mr. Mugabe accused Tsvangirai’s party of being a cry babies.

Although Mr. Mugabe said everything was going on well, information received by Studio 7 reveals that a number of people were arrested in Hatfield after they allegedly printed fake voter registration slips that they produced at voting stations as proof of registration yet they had not registered.

Ballot papers also ran out at some polling stations but ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau said her commission would ensure that the last person in the queue would be allowed to cast his or her ballot.

Due to the late opening of some polling stations, Makarau said polling will now close at midnight.