Voting in the Zanu PF primary elections has been postponed in most parts of the country after several polling stations received election material late.

Polling stations were supposed to open at 07:00 am today and close at 17:50 pm but some opened as late as 16:30 pm, while others did not open at all due to logistical challenges.

Zanu PF National Political Commissar, Retired Lieutenant General Engelbert Rugeje briefed the media this evening, saying voting will resume tomorrow and end by mid-day in constituencies affected by late arrival of voting material.

He said there was a temporary delay in the printing of ballot papers.

Cde Rugeje also confirmed that some candidates’ names are missing on the ballot papers, and voters are allowed to write the name of their preferred candidate on the space on the ballot paper, as long as the candidate was cleared to contest by the party’s National Elections Directorate. 

It was only at the polling stations in Bulawayo, Harare and Masvingo urban, where voting started early.

In Mashonaland Central Province, elections were conducted in only two constituencies: Bindura North and South, while the rest will start tomorrow.

It was the same story in Matabeleland North province as polling stations only opened in Umguza and Bubi constituencies while the remaining 11 constituencies will proceed with their elections tomorrow.

In Mashonaland West Province, ballot papers for Norton, Mhondoro Mubayira, Chegutu East and West constituencies arrived at the Chegutu Zanu PF administration district offices in the afternoon, but party supporters who had lined up at various polling stations in Katanga and Ngoni in Norton, Chakari in Chegutu and Waverley and Tait primary schools in Kadoma were starting to disperse by lunchtime.

While candidates and election officers in most constituencies where election material arrived late agreed to the opening of polling stations tomorrow, it was not so in Chimanimani East constituency, Manicaland Province, where voters queued into the night to cast their votes.

Prospective voters queue to cast their vote after sunset in Chimanimani East constituency

In constituencies where voting began in time, there were a few hiccups.

At ZRP Support Unit polling station in Harare, only females were seen casting their ballots, while reports in Belvedere suggest that some prospective voters could not to find their names on the voters roll.

There was a huge turnout at polling stations in Bulawayo, but the Provincial elections team leader, Cde George Nare confirmed that a number of people were turned away during the verification process.

“We strictly adhered to the voters roll that was compiled during the cell verification exercise and those who were not in the voters roll were not allowed to vote. 

The primary elections are being held to come with Zanu PF candidates who will contest in the harmonised elections to be held later this year.