LIVE: Zim state media ‘harshly criticises MDC’s Nelson Chamisa on election day’

Zimbabwe is going to the polls in its first election since authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe was ousted last year. Follow the live update here

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Last Updated at 11:48

11:35

MDC’s Chamisa has reportedly told BBC that he is confident of victory in today’s election.

“It’s a done deal… We are not losing this election – we are winning this election. I’m not interested in hypotheticals  – we are will win this election to the extent it’s free and fair – especially in the rural areas. It’s a done deal,” BBC quoted him as saying.


11:21

Ladies carrying their children in an election queue at a polling station where Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa cast his ballot at Sherwood Primary School in Kwekwe. (AFP)

11:06

A politician in the Zimbabwean opposition stronghold of Bulawayo says there are numerous reports of “voting going at a snail’s pace.”

David Coltart, a supporter of opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, says he hopes election observers will pay special attention to the pace of voting “as it is a means of suppressing the urban vote.”

Coltart says on Twitter that Zimbabwe’s electoral commission deliberately slowed voting in urban areas in the 2002 election to undermine the opposition, which traditionally has strong support in major cities. Past elections have been marred by irregularities.

But Zimbabwe’s electoral commission says this election — the first without longtime leader Robert Mugabe — will be free and fair. – AP


11:04

Zimbabwe’s state-run Herald newspaper is harshly criticising main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa on election day, calling him a proxy for former leader Robert Mugabe and rejecting his claims to represent change.

The front-page commentary follows Sunday’s remarks by the 94-year-old Mugabe that he would not vote for his former deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa and that Chamisa is the only viable candidate.

“Now this is the man who tries a comeback by proxy,” The Herald says. Addressing the 40-year-old Chamisa, it continues: “You willingly become his cat’s paw while masquerading as an independent man representing a new generation.” – AP


11:00

Mnangagwa leaves the polling station after casting his ballot at Sherwood Primary School in Kwekwe. (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)

10:53

And the Red Cross Team is on the ground providing free first aid coverage to voters at polling stations.


10:48

A of the voters has just cast his vote while donning his university graduation gown. He hopes that this election will bring him a job

10:42

It’s a close race for the presidency in Zimbabwe as the country goes to the polls.

Here’s a look at the two main candidates vying to lead the once-prosperous southern African nation out of the shadow of former leader Robert Mugabe, who stepped down in November under military pressure.


10:31

Mnangagwa’s wife’s First Lady Auxillia, has also cast her vote

10:30

Mnangagwa wore a scarf with the country’s national colors as he arrived at a primary school converted into a polling station, and chatted briefly with election workers after casting his ballot.

He told reporters that he is committed to a Zimbabwe in which people have the “freedom to express their views, negative or positive.”

He called the vote peaceful. And he took the criticism of him by former leader Robert Mugabe on Sunday in stride, saying that “He is a citizen … He can engage me anytime.” – AP


10:22

Reports indicate that Mnangagwa has cast his vote at Sherwood Primary shcool in Kwekwe.

Speaking shortly after casting his vote, the president said that the country “is experiencing democracy never witnessed before”


10:05

A former Cabinet minister and opposition leader in Zimbabwe says it’s a “great day” for the country as it goes to the polls.

Dumiso Dabengwa, head of the opposition Zimbabwe African People’s Union, tells the South African news outlet eNCA that the election offers two starkly different paths for Zimbabweans.

“It’s a decider as to whether Zimbabwe goes forward or remains stuck in the problems that it is facing today,” said Dabengwa, who was imprisoned for years without charge under former leader Robert Mugabe.

He describes the vote as a choice between a “new, fresh start” and the “status quo”. – AP

Dabengwa says he supports main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.


10:01

AP is reporting that Piercing whistles and cheers greeted Chamisa as he voted in the country’s historic election.

Crowds swarmed the 40-year-old lawyer and pastor at a polling station just outside Harare.

Chamisa is challenging the 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe’s first election without Robert Mugabe on the ballot.

The contest could bring international legitimacy and investment or signal more stagnation if the vote is seriously flawed.


09:53

eNCA has posted a video of Nelson Chamisa talking to the media soon after he cast his vote.

“It’s a great moment for Zimbabwe… We hope that in the rural areas the ballot that has been used is an appropriate one.

“Victory is certain for the people,” says Chamisa

 


09:47

Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa shows his ballot before voting in a polling station during general elections in Harare. (AFP)

09:45

Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa casts his ballot in a polling station during general elections in Harare.

09:43

Chamisa has just cast his vote

09:35

Former Liberian president, who is also a leader of the international observer missions has described the elections as “a critical moment in Zimbabwe’s democratic journey”.


“The elections today provide an opportunity to break with the past,” Sirleaf said at a polling station in a school in Harare.

“The lines and voter enthusiasm we are seeing this morning must be matched by an accurate count and their choice must be honoured.” – AP


09:26

Zim opposition stalwart predicts Mnangagwa victory – report

Zimbabwean top opposition lawmaker Eddie Cross has reportedly predicted a massive victory for Emmerson Mnangagwa in the country’s most contested plebiscite on Monday.

According to New Zimbabwe.com, the outgoing Movement for Democratic change lawmaker also praised his party boss Nelson Chamisa for putting up a good fight.

Cross, however, said that the country’s ruling Zanu-PF presidential candidate was likely going to emerge victorious after the polls as he has revived the country’s hopes. “We will see on Monday, but I think Emmerson will get majority.

I think Chamisa has done a good fight, but he is not going to win majority,” Cross was quoted as saying.


09:15

Of importance to note in this election is the presence of Western election monitors for the first time in years.

According to AP, this is an indicator of a freer political environment, though concerns have been raised about state media bias toward the ruling party as well as a lack of transparency with the printing of ballot papers.

European Union election observers were seen at one polling station in Harare, checking the voting process.

African Unions attended the opening of polling stations elsewhere. Even though it was a public holiday, some government offices were open so that those who had lost identity cards could get replacements and then cast their ballots.

Inside polling stations, voters were given three ballot papers: one for their presidential pick, another for member of parliament and a third for local councilor. Polling officers helped voters put each ballot paper in the right box.

“We need change because we have suffered a lot here,” said 65-year-old Mable Mafaro while voting in Harare. “We have suffered a lot. That’s all.”


09:07

A voter arrives at a polling station during early morning voting in Kwekwe as Zimbabwe conducts a general election.  (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)

09:05

Voters line-up in a queue during early morning voting in Kwekwe as Zimbabwe conducts a general election.  (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)

09:01

An elections officer applies indelible ink to a voter finger during early morning voting in Kwekwe as Zimbabwe conducts a general election. Picture: Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)

08:53

Mnangagwa has urged Zimbabweans to vote in peace in a tweet on his Twitter account.

“On Election Day, let us vote with peace in our hearts. Let us be respectful, tolerant and love one another. Let us remember that no matter who we support, we are all brothers and sisters


08:40

One of the voters, @talentndige, says he has voted for the first time in his life and is “proud to have taken part in deciding the future of Zimbabwe and future generations”.

08:19

Past elections were marred by violence, intimidation and irregularities, but Mnangagwa, a former enforcer for Mugabe who says he now represents change, has promised that this election will be free and fair.

The presence of Western election monitors for the first time in years is an indicator of a freer political environment, though concerns have been raised about state media bias toward the ruling party as well as a lack of transparency with the printing of ballot papers.

Inside polling stations on Monday, voters were given three ballot papers: one for their presidential pick, another for member of parliament and a third for local councilor. Polling officers helped voters put each ballot paper in the right box. – AP


08:18

Former Liberian president and a leader of one of the international observer missions, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, says:

“This is a critical moment in Zimbabwe’s democratic journey. The elections today provide an opportunity to break with the past,”

“The lines and voter enthusiasm we are seeing this morning must be matched by an accurate count and their choice must be honored.”

Sirleaf said this at a polling station in a school in Harare. – AP


08:15

Thousands of election monitors have fanned out across the country to observe a process that the opposition says is biased against them despite electoral commission assurances that it will be credible.

A record of more than 20 presidential candidates and nearly 130 political parties are participating. If no presidential candidate wins 50% of the vote, a runoff will be held on September 8. – AP


08:13

Dozens of people waited in line to vote outside many polling stations in Harare, the capital.

“I want to do this and get on with my business. I am not leaving anything to chance. This is my future,” said Emerina Akenda, a first-time voter. – AP


08:06

SABC’s Sophie Mokoena is tweeting that Mnangagwa is expected to arrive at the polling station at 10:00.


08:04

Incumbent president Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to vote at Sherwood Primary school polling station in Kwekwe

Voters have already started casting their votes


08:00

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is expected to vote at Kuwadzana Primary School polling station

07:53

Here are ten things you should know about the Zimbabwe election.

07:44

AFP reports that polls have opened across Zimbabwe for the first election since authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe was ousted last year, with lines of voters waiting to cast their ballots.

“I just have to do this. I have to see a better Zimbabwe for my kids. Things have been tough,” Tawanda Petru, 28, an unemployed man voting in Mbare, a low-income district of the capital Harare, told AFP.


07:42

In brief

Zimbabweans are voting in their first election without Robert Mugabe on the ballot, a contest that could bring international legitimacy and investment or signal more stagnation if the vote is seriously flawed.

At least 5.5 million people are registered to vote on in this southern African nation anxious for change after decades of economic paralysis and the nearly four-decade rule of the 94-year-old Mugabe.

Long lines of voters are waiting outside some polling stations. Thousands of election monitors are in the country to observe a process that the opposition says is biased against them.

The two main contenders are Mnangagwa, 75, a former deputy president who took over from Mugabe last year, and Chamisa, who became head of the main opposition party just a few months ago – AP


07:25

Watch this video in which president Mnangagwa Z accused his main rival Chamisa of striking a deal with former leader Mugabe on the eve of an election and cast doubt on Chamisa’s intentions of rebuilding the country.

07:18

Zimbabwe to vote for its post-Mugabe future

Watch this Reuters video in which David Doyle and MacDonald Dzirutwe report on the tight contest between Mnangagwa and Chamisa.


07:12

Zanu-PF’s secretary for legal affairs and acting spokesperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, has reportedly rubbished Mugabe’s claims that he was removed from power by force. “The people of Zimbabwe ushered in the new dispensation.

They resisted the personalisation of their country and heritage by one family and its supporting criminal cabal. But for that expression of their will to be enabled the Security Forces particularly the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) acted as enablers.

They restrained the coercive instruments, which hitherto had been used to suppress the free expression of that will,” Mangwana was quoted as saying.


07:01

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has tweeted to wish the opposition Movement for Democratic Change success in the elections

“Wishing the MDC success in elections. Democracy requires that we hold parties accountable and as my late friend Morgan would say, Zim must see post liberation era politics. Zanu mustn’t trick people into a belief that a change of leader is a change of party. AFRICA needs change.”


06:57

Meanwhile, an international mission of election observers says Zimbabwe has made progress toward holding a credible election, but that significant concerns remain, including state media bias toward the ruling party and problems with the layout of ballot papers.

US Republican Karen Bass, a leader of the mission of the Washington-based International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, said on Sunday that there are “red flags” in the organisation of the election but that she hopes for a peaceful outcome reflecting the will of most Zimbabweans.

She says she is encouraged by a freer political environment in Zimbabwe as well as the introduction of biometric voter registration, even if “there are concerns with that as well.”


06:53

One of the voters in Mbare says he joined the voting queue as early as 04:00 to cast his vote.

He hopes to see “change” after the elections.


06:41

Haru Mutasa of Al Jazeera is tweeting a video of the situation in Harare’s Mbare township where people have already started to queue. Polling stations are set to open at 07:00

06:30

Nelson Chamisa, who turned 40 in February, is old enough by only a few months to be president of Zimbabwe under the constitutional minimum age limit.

But he hopes that his youth will be the force that propels him to election victory on Monday against all the odds.

Chamisa joined the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as a student when it was founded in 1999.


06:25

Here are key dates in the life of Emmerson Mnangagwa, favourite in Zimbabwe’s July 30 presidential elections and heavyweight in the regime of ousted long-time leader Robert Mugabe.

06:08

On the eve of the elections, Mugabe said that he would not vote for his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa in the presidential election.

“For the first time ever we have now a long list of aspirants to power,” Mugabe said at his Blue Roof private residence in Harare.

“I cannot vote for those who tormented me… I will make my choice among the other 22 (candidates) but it is a long list.”


05:58

The poll is a culmination of dramatic political events triggered on November 6, when then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa (now president) was sacked by Mugabe.

Here is a timeline of the events leading to this historic poll.


06:08

On the eve of the elections, Mugabe said that he would not vote for his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa in the presidential election.

“For the first time ever we have now a long list of aspirants to power,” Mugabe said at his Blue Roof private residence in Harare.

“I cannot vote for those who tormented me… I will make my choice among the other 22 (candidates) but it is a long list.”


05:58

The poll is a culmination of dramatic political events triggered on November 6, when then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa (now president) was sacked by Mugabe.

Here is a timeline of the events leading to this historic poll.


05:58

Take a look at this infographic see some of the events leading to this historic vote

05:58

See pictures of all 23 presidential candidates participating in the election.

05:58

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former ally in the ruling Zanu-PF party, faces opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) in a historic vote for the southern African nation.

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