Taurai Mangudhla

ZVISHAVANE-MBERENGWA – Voters in the Zvishavene-Ngezi and Mberengwa North constituencies endured long queues to choose their preferred candidates in the 2018 harmonised elections.

Voting started in earnest in the Zvishavane area with thousands of voters turning out to cast their votes.

Business Times visited a number of polling stations in the Zvishavane-Ngezi Constituency where the youth dominated queues.

The first visit was around 5 am at Nyaradzai B Community Hall in the old high density suburb of Maglass followed by Kubatana Community Hall.

Forty three year old Agness Mashawi was the first on the queue.

Donning a heavy winter jacket, wool hat and small blanket for warmth, Mashawi said she left her house at 3:30 am to vote.

With a lot of excitement, she said, the strategy was to vote early and go about her daily routine.

The third polling station was at the District Administrator’s office around the central business district before going to Mandava Health centre where we waited for the first person in the queue Gabriel Chipona to cast his vote.

Speaking to Business Times, Chipona said “The process was smooth, there was no hassle at all.”

“An elderly woman was asked to vote ahead of me because the elderly are being given priority. Everything was above board and there were no delays at all,” he added.

Chipona however said, the lighting was poor in the voting tent.

“I could hardly see and I am very young and have no problems with my eyesight. I can only imagine those who are much older and those with sight problems. This is 7 am, imagine when it gets dark” he added.

His concerns on the poor lighting were also shared by another male voters who requested not to be named.

“The only problem is the light and I think this will be a challenge for us.”

Similar concerns were raised by voters about 2km away at Zvizvobgo Towerlight in Mandava where tents were used.

The  battle for the House of Assembly seat is largely between Zanu PF’s Dumezewe Mawite Mpofu and MDC Alliance’s Micheal Timveous.

Like the rest of the country, the constituency plays its part in electing the country’s President in a battle reduced to two – President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa – out of 23 candidates.

About 40 km along the Bulawayo highway is the Mberengwa Turn off, one of the major polling stations in the Mberengwa North constituency.

Queues at Mberengwa Turnoff polling station were long.

Voters say there were few polling stations in the area.

“We came from beauty business center and it’s about 6 km from here. They should have put more polling stations,” said a young man in the queue.

Further down is Mberengwa Primary School, the district (Mberengwa North) command center in the current elections.

Voters wait patiently in the scorching sun for their turn. The queues were by far the longest despite there having three different voting points -A,B and C- at the school.

“I will wait because I know I will eventually vote. I am not rushing anywhere,” said a gentlemen in the queue.