THERE is peace and tranquillity across the country in the aftermath of Wednesday’s harmonised elections, results of which are still trickling in.
Yesterday, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the body in charge of all electoral processes in the country, called on Zimbabweans to remain peaceful as they await the announcement of the election results, while the Zimbabwe Republic Police commended the public for being calm.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police urges the public to continue being peaceful as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission finalises the voting and ballot counting process. The police reiterate that no gathering at polling stations will be allowed.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police commends Zimbabweans for the exemplary conduct and peaceful environment which characterised the pre-election and the election period. This should continue during the post-election period. Police will continue to maintain law and order in the country through patrols, blitz and general traffic enforcements,” National Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said.
On its part, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) applauded Zimbabweans for observing peace before, during and after the elections.
National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) spokesperson, Advocate Obert Gutu, said this has been the most peaceful polls.
“The 2023 harmonised elections were arguably the most peaceful in the history of post-independent Zimbabwe. The period before the elections were held and also immediately after the casting of ballots has been remarkably peaceful.
“As the NPRC, we would like to salute and most sincerely thank the people of Zimbabwe for conducting themselves in such a peaceful manner. Indeed, Zimbabwe is now a mature democracy. This is as it should be at all times,” he said. Most Zimbabweans cast their votes glitch-free on Wednesday except for some areas, mostly in Harare and Bulawayo, that experienced delays due to logistical hiccups.
Voters in Mashonaland Central described the elections as the most seamless, transparent and credible since 1980.
Early yesterday morning voters were at polling stations checking the V11 forms which were displaying the preliminary results following the collation process the previous night.
Normalcy had returned in Mt Darwin and Muzarabani as early as 2pm on polling day as almost all the eligible voters had cast their votes in the morning without hindrances.
Polling started at 7am and ended at 7pm as scheduled in the province.
Voters and presiding officers interviewed by this publication expressed great satisfaction with how the electorate and ZEC had conducted the polls.
Voters across the province expressed their utmost contentment with the peaceful environment instituted by the Second Republic, saying this had been a rarity.
In an interview, 81-year-old Veronica Feremenga said these had been the most peaceful elections she had witnessed since she was born.
“Mwanangu (my son), these elections were so peaceful and I had never seen such peace during an election period since I was born.
“I am very happy and satisfied, this is the Zimbabwe I love to see,” she said.
Mr Tendai Jani, a vendor at Kandeya Business Centre in Mt Darwin, commended the Second Republic for ensuring peace while registering his happiness with how it was business as usual in a short space of time.
“My brother I am very happy, this is very commendable. Usually we know the election period to be tense and very serious, but as you can see we are happy here and everyone has gone back to minding their business and doing their jobs,” he said.
A hospitality worker in Muzarabani identified as Carol, said the peace and harmony that was ensuing in the town was nothing short of remarkable.
She said August 23 did not even seem as if it was polling day because everything went on unfettered, something she had not experienced in past polls.
“I am very happy with this, this is very good. Here in Muzarabani everything has just been going on flawlessly since even before election day.
“I hope this continues when and even after the Presidential results have been announced.
“As people in Muzarabani we are very happy with this,” she said.
Mt Darwin’s District Elections Officer Mr Exstaff Koti told The Herald yesterday that everything had gone on well with challenges only in one ward.
After President Mnangagwa extended the voting period, Ward 3 in Mt Darwin North was the only one which had to vote yesterday and the electorate were patient to exercise their democratic right with no skirmishes.
Mr Koti said even candidates in the Mt Darwin District maintained cordial relations throughout the electoral period despite their political differences.
A voter casts her ballot at Gutaurare Primary School in Chimanimani yesterday
“Everything went well and people voted unhindered save for Ward 3 where there were issues with the ballot papers prompting voting to be postponed to today (yesterday) but the voters were very understanding so no issues were recorded.
“The election environment was so calm it didn’t even seem as if it was polling day, the candidates were friendly and co-operative with each other so like I said the environment was calm,” he said.
On polling day, presiding officers also expressed satisfaction in the manner they had overseen the polls.
It was the same case in Mashonaland East Province where voters expressed their happiness in the manner the elections were conducted.
Mrs Rutendo Rwenya from Chivhu said she was happy that the elections were peaceful.
“I am happy that for the first time the polls were peaceful and there was no violence in this constituency. I would like to thank all voters and the leadership at large for maintaining peace during the elections,” she said.
A resident of Warren Park in Harare, Mr Victor Dumba, said the elections were peaceful despite the voting process having commenced a bit late.
“People were patient enough and waited for the arrival of the voting material, this is commendable,” he said.
A Dzivaresekwa resident, Mrs Ellina Mafurise, also commended the security forces for the peace and stability that prevailed in the country during the election period.
“During this whole election period it was just calm nationwide. Even on the voting day it was just like any other normal day, there were no incidences of violence, this should be applauded,” she said.
Meanwhile, in Mashonaland West’s Norton Constituency, residents hailed the Government for the peaceful environment.
Mr Timothy Matuke of Govans Ward 3 said the process was done in a transparent manner adding that no violence was witnessed in the constituency.
“We applaud the Government for ensuring a peaceful environment. We never witnessed any form of violence, so we are prepared to accept any outcome,” he said.
Mrs Spepy Mazarura said the voting process was smooth adding that what is needed is to maintain the peaceful environment to ensure the betterment of the country.
“We are happy that we were given the opportunity to vote. This was done peacefully. All was good so people should accept the poll outcome,” she said.
In the Midlands, voting in Gokwe South district proceeded in a peaceful manner.
The district has five constituencies that include Gokwe Sesame, Gokwe Sengwa , Gokwe Kana, Gokwe Mapfungautsi and Gokwe Central.
Speaking to the Herald last night, district elections officer Ms Petronella Dube said all polling stations had opened and closed on time.
“The day started and progressed very well with no incidents,” she said.
By 8am today, constituency command centres had started receiving results from wards for verification.
In Mutoko South Constituency, it was peaceful yesterday as people were checking results posted at the polling stations.
For others it was business as usual as they attended to their day-to-day activities.
Mutoko South Constituency Elections Officer, Dr Rosemary Nyarugwe, said the situation was calm and they had not received any reports of violence.
“At the moment we are collating V23 for all wards. We have nine wards and have received from six wards and are waiting for the other three wards to deliver,” she said.
Beitbridge West Constituency Elections Officer Mrs Sikhangezile Mafu said the situation remained calm across the constituency.
In Mashonaland West, Magunje constituency, Zanu PF candidate Cde Supa Monga Madiro said the environment remained calm.
“We are happy with the peaceful environment which exists in the constituency..We expect everyone to accept the outcome of the elections for the good of the country,” he said.