Slow start,steady progress in Midlands polls

By Johannes Chin’ombe

GWERU –There was a smooth start of the 2018 poll in the Midlands as all polling stations managed to open in time, there have been mixed feelings on ZEC’s efficiency in logistical issues.

 A snap survey by Radio VOP witnessed that voting was slow at most polling station as polling officers took an average of three minutes for a voter to complete the voting process.

However, as the day progressed, queues had lessened aid the fact that half of the registered voters had not yet cast their vote by the time we visited their polling stations.

Candidates also complained of confusion over multiple voting centres per polling station regardless of ZEC saying they implemented the strategy to ease pressure on polling sites.

“We are facing challenges in trying to direct people to their respective queues as no communication was made by ZEC on multiple voting sites on one polling station, said Tawanda Mtali, a MDC Alliance polling agency at Gweru Theatre polling station.

People’s Republic Coalition (PRC) candidate, Douglas Kanengoni also cried foul over ZEC delay in accrediting his polling agents.

“Our agents were at their respective polling stations by six in the morning only to be denied accreditation. It’s so humiliating,” he said.

Provincial Elections Director Dorcas Mpofu however cleansed ZEC of the allegations saying the complaining people are just unorganised.

“This process is crystal clear and hard to note any loophole except for the few unorganised people you can meet. Amid challenges on multiple voting places, you will witness that by day end queues will be shorter as it decongests polling points.

“As a result, we expect to have finished the process at the anticipated  7.00pm deadline. More so, some people failed to provide polling agents lists in time and want to blame ZEC for that,” Mpofu said.

However, statistics provided to Radio VOP during lunch were that a total of 95 844 out of 761 474 expected voters had casted their vote by 1000am 

Midlands Province has a total of 1 540 polling stations, 12 386 polling officers, 1 540 presiding officers, 177 national assembly candidates and 865 local authority candidates.