VOTING kicked off to a slow start in parts of Matabeleland North with the situation improving mid-morning as Zimbabweans cast their votes to elect their representatives in parliament for the com
ing five years.
In Tsholotsho, where former Information minister Jonathan Moyo is locking horns with incumbent MDC MP, Mtoliki Sibanda and Zanu PF’s Musa Mathema, the voting process opened quietly but picked up mid-morning.
Winding queues started forming as people gathered to pick their MP in a constituency that has aroused interest countrywide.
Tsholotsho is likely to be one of the most contested seats in the current election.
Mathema cast her vote at Mhlabengubo, five kilometres from Tsholotsho business centre, where she queued together with a dozen voters.
Moyo and Sibanda both voted at Thabisa pre-school at about the same time.
Moyo, who was mobbed by local and international journalists who thronged Tsholotsho to see him cast his vote, said he was confident of winning the seat.
“I voted for Tsholotsho and Tsholotsho is going to win today and if Tsholotsho wins, Matabeleland also wins and the whole of Zimbabwe wins,” said Moyo who was dressed in a long sleeved coffee safari suit and a cowboy hat.
Asked what would happen if he loses today’s vote Moyo retorted curtly: “I am not going to lose, I am going to win.”
On whether he would rejoin the ruling party Moyo said he would never rejoin the party.
“In any case floor-crossing is not permitted in Zimbabwe.”
Moyo claimed that the ruling Zanu PF leadership was panicking as a result of his standing in Tsholotsho.
In Nyamandlovu, where Zanu PF candidate Obert Mpofu squared off against Jacob Thabane of the MDC, few voters waited to cast their votes while in other areas in the constituency polling stations were virtually empty.
Part of the explanation for shorter queues is the density of polling stations meaning voters don’t have to wait long to cast their ballots.
Meanwhile, voters thronged voting centres in Bulawayo with some voters waiting at polling stations from as early as 5.00 am to cast their votes.
At Lobengula Primary School in Makokoba constituency a winding queue was forming as early as 6.00am while at MacDonald Hall in the same constituency dozens of voters were already waiting to vote at 7.am.
However, the voting process progressed peacefully with no cases of violence reported by lunchtime.