Live updates: Referendum

Zimbabweans are voting in the referendum for a new constitution. NewsDay brings you the updates in real time.

10:21 am: Voting in Gwanda commenced peacefully with a group of vapostori women casting their votes first at Pipzkop.MIsa

10:22 am: Voting started at a slow pace in Chinhoyi polling stations visited by reporters with a sizable queue police officers also trying to cast their vote.

10:25 Reports claim that Harare East has started at a slow pace. However we are told that the number are now picking up


10:47 am: Voting took off to a slow start with no queues at most polling centres in Bulawayo.

The only noticeable queue of about 20 people was witnessed at the Large City Hall, the central polling centre in the city.
In the high density suburbs, only police officers could be seen milling around polling stations whilst polling officers had nothing to do.

A survey by The Standard revealed that most residents went about with their personal businesses with some going to church, vending and others pirating with their commuter omnibuses and taxis.

In separate interviews, residents who had cast their votes said they did so hoping that a new constitution will change their lives.

Polling station in IN Bulawayo, Pumula at 7: 30am there was still no sign of people coming to vote
Polling station in IN Bulawayo, Pumula at 7: 30am there was still no sign of people coming to vote
An unidentified man casting his vote at Large City Hall in Bulawayo
An unidentified man casting his vote at Large City Hall in Bulawayo
Paddohaust polling station
Paddohaust polling station

11: 00 am: Revealing information by Trudy Stevenson, Ambassador in Senegal

Dear Zimbabwe,
How I wish I could be with you tomorrow to vote and to watch how others vote in this major Referendum on the New Constitution for our country.

Unfortunately, I am thousands of miles away serving as your Ambassador in Senegal and the Gambia, and ZEC has announced that time was too short to allow government officials outside the country to vote, in this Referendum.

We are all very disappointed, but we hope that those able to vote will do so, freely and fairly, and that the result will take our country forward.

Residents of Mbare queue to vote in the Referendum in the early today.
Residents of Mbare queue to vote in the Referendum in the early today.
Mbare turnout
Mbare turnout
A picture of elderly lady assisting her colleague on a wheel chair to vote in Mbare
A picture of elderly lady assisting her colleague on a wheel chair to vote in Mbare

11:29 am: Low turnout in Glenview. At Glenview 5 polling station there are as few as 20 people.

Follow our multimedia element here. This is a collage of the timeline of events building up to 16 March.

You can also listen to this podcast. John Nyashanu weighs in with his booming voice:

11:50 am Voter turnout in Shurugwi is low save for villagers in Mukandapi who have been directed by the village head to vote for the constitution. Misa

11: 55 am: Voting in Matobo district is progressing slowly with the elderly people being the most visible. By 9am at Halale Primary School, five people had voted.

At Minda Mission, the eldely, particulary women where trickling in.
Most youths said they were not interested in voting as they knew little about the draft constitution.

11: 57 am: Police recruits swamp David Livingstone Primary School in Harare to vote on the referendum.

11: 58 am: PM Morgan Tsvangirai voted at 10 am at chamikuka primary school. NCA boss and leader of the no vote campaign professor Lovemore Madhuku voted Mt pleasant heights. Welshman Ncube voted at Courtney Selous primary school in Greendale

Our fans speak on our popular Facebook page. Here is a screenshot

Zimbabweans speak on our popular Facebook page that is followed by more than 100k.
Zimbabweans speak on our popular Facebook page that is followed by more than 100k.

A woman in Bulawayo proudly shows her voter’s ink. Voting is your right, she seems to be saying.

The future is her "finger".
The future is her “finger”.

12: 50pm: “We are all equal according to this constitution. You have the right to life, i have the right to life.” – President Mugabe

12: 51 pm: Reports from Mbare show Chipangano is at work, forcing people to go and vote.

President Robert Mugabe talks to reporters after casting his vote.
President Robert Mugabe talks to reporters after casting his vote.

1: 40 pm: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says the constitutional referendum is a step towards free and fair elections later this year.

Addressing journalists after casting his vote at Chitungwiza’s Chaminuka Primary School in St Mary’s, Tsvangirai said the referendum was a historic event since the constitutional movement was launched in 1997.

1: 42pm: Low turnout at polling stations in Mutare urban and surrounding areas

Polling stations opened as early as 7 am in the high-density areas.

However, turnout at most Dangamvura polling station is low with mostly elderly people casting their votes in the morning. There are a number of polling stations in the high-density suburbs. There is a small number of youths who are showing interest in voting.

There were less than three voters when this paper visited Zhakata bottle store polling station while there was a sizeable crowd mainly at Chirovakamwe primary school.

Easter Ushe who is the Returning Officer for Zhakata polling station said people were coming at intervals The Returning officer for Chirovakamwe Team A, Virginia Mhlanga said they were expecting the number to increase later midday.

However the situation is different at Meikles park were over 660 people have so far casted their vote by 11:35. The officers said they opened at 7am and since them, many people are coming to cast their votes.

There is a long winding queue and the reason being that the polling is at the city centre where informal business is operating.

In Sakubva, Fern Valley and Zimunya the turnout is very low again.

People are concentrating on their business. They said they are fed up of politics and want to focus on working hard for their familes.

Those interviewed professed ignorance, saying they were not familiar with the contents of the draft constitution. They blamed COPAC for not giving them enough time to study the document.

Those who have voted said they casted their vote for certain clauses which they either heard by friends or their political parties.

There has been no incidence of violence reported so far. Shops and banks are closed but it is business as usual for retail and food outlets. Those who work for indigenous business people said they were not given time to vote despite the day being declared a public holiday.

Watch video of an analysis of what it means for Zimbabwe to be voting today:

And the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and wife, Elizabeth Macheka cast their votes in Chitungwiza.

tsvangirai votes

2: 56pm A Catholic sister was there to monitor the voting

A member of the Catholic church observing closely the voting.
A member of the Catholic church observing closely the voting.


As from 7am to 11am 19422 people had cast their votes in Matabeleland
South, the provincial elections officer Joram Nyathi
confirmed at 1:40pm.

“There 13 constituencies here and we have 622 polling stations. As at 11am 19422 people had voted while 500 were turned away due to various reasons such as having no identity particulars, being aliens, bringing drivers’ licenses,and for being below the age of 18years,”said Nyathi.


Voter turnout is very low with most polling stations reporting figures below hundred by mid- day in the densely populated suburbs of Mbizo and Amaveni.

Only Tasungana polling station had recorded a total of 115 votes by midday with seven having been turned away for various reasons mostly for bringing defaced Identity cards.

Other polling stations had less than 80 people who had voted with absolutely no queues forming outside any polling station here.

There were no incidents as voting progressed smoothly with a total lack of excitement on those participating.

Zimbabwean citizens of foreign decent referred to as aliens were also being denied their right to vote which right they will only enjoy if the Copac draft constitution becomes the supreme law.


3: 04pm: In Mabvuku/Tafara constituency there was voter apathy, there were no queues and people were trickling in a slow pace.

Several people were being turned away because they are aliens and they were the larger number of voters.

At Chikurubi Support Unit there was a fairly long queue and the voting process was moving at a slow pace there.

Tsinhirwano A school (Mabvuku) a total of 51 people were turned away by 12 midday because they were aliens and Charles James of Malawian descent who spoke to The Standard said:

“We came in our large numbers because we expected to be allowed to vote for the new constitution.”

People who spoke to the Standard who had also been turned away said they had brought expired passports, photocopies of Id’s and drivers licenses.

Other places

The voter turn out was very low in most areas in Norton, Chegutu, Kadoma and Muzvezve.

There was quite a number of potential voters who were turned away for
various reasons among them being underage.

There was heavy presence of police officers at most polling stations.

3: 21pm Proud that our hashtag #zimbabwedecides is trending on twitter. Follow us on @newsdayzimbabwe.


4:01pm: Reports from Bulawayo say Police dispersed a Burial Society meeting place which was taking place in Cowdrey Park, Byo.

4:02pm: 237 people vote Tshino Primary School in Tsholotsho and six were turned away.

5:37pm: ZEC says at 10am 22,427 had voted in Bulawayo and there were 945 spoiled ballots.

Some young men waiting to cast their vote at Nyamandlovu primary school.


Nyamandlovu voting centre

Nyamandlovu voting centre
Nyamandlovu voting centre

6: 02pm: A total of 1,312,738 votes were cast in the 2000 referendum.

6: 03pm: Counting of the ballots for the constitutional referendum is set to begin today, with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announcing that results were expected within five days.

Newly appointed ZEC chairperson, Rita Makarau said counting was expected to start at 7pm, but could be delayed in areas were voting had started late.

6:05pm: THE MDC-T has expressed concern at what it termed irregularities before and during today’s referendum, claiming there were cases of violence and some of its members were intimidated.

The party’s secretary general, Tendai Biti told a press conference that there were concerned by the way some members of Zanu PF viewed the referendum, while also claiming there had been “omissions by electoral officials”.


6:30pm update: 30 minutes left and the polls will be closed. Rush and vote.


Updates were brought to you by John Mokwetsi, Bethel Goka, Tinotenda Samukange and the amazing team of journalists at The Standard.

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  1. where in Gwanda is a place called Pipzkop? I know of a place called Spitzkop

  2. People voting repeatedly in Banket,polling stations nearly empty

  3. Long queue here Cheziya

  4. Good wrk , newsday u are walking with technology in hand , thanx for the live updates!

  5. This is quite slow, last live update was an hour ago (10:21 am) its now 11:25 and nothing new?
    oh well…………….

  6. oh, OK there’s an update at 11:00 am, silly me !

  7. Thanks Treasury

  8. do we have to keep pushing refresh, or will this page update automatically?

  9. I am afraid you will have to refresh Chipmunk. Thanks for following. You can also follow updates on @newsdayzimbabwe. We are using #zimbabwedecides as our hashtag

  10. thank you for assistance

  11. dai zvikadai nemaelections. then everyone will be informed.

  12. am not voting coz i dont know what i am voting for,
    no to blind voting

  13. I dont even know what is in the draft constitution hey; how im i suppose to vote

  14. They are saying we shld vote yes,bt it’s yes to what?We do not know the contents of the final draft! We shld decide and not told

  15. Chitowa it’s only that u are not updated whether due to yo ignorance or lack of it , let me hasten to say u ar living in the past whilst we are moving foward taramba anozo chema let me cast for u bro even come elections u wil be still indecisive mukai

  16. Ko asi maenda kulunch here munotaura , mangosiya maisa Commander of thief and Dark forces , ndoya live update yacho here nhayi

    1. nhai iwe treasury, live updates covers everyone, be it Tsvangirai, Mugabe, Ncube, Mutambara, sekuru or gogo kwaMupandawana uko. everyone is covered. thats why Mugabe has been covered just like the foto footages we have been seeing all along. dont spoil the funny we are getting from newsday pliz.

  17. Keep up the good work Newsday. Kuyancomeka lokhu, likwenze njalo lapho okudingakala khona.

  18. War Veterans have caused unease at Matisi Secondary School in ward 4 in Guruve when they cast their votes but did not leave the polling station. The veterans just remained seated and some villagers were now wary of casting their votes in their presence. Others did not seem bothered as they trooped in but presiding officers said to be slow. In Muzarabani South – police.

  19. A district official in Zimbabwe belonging to the prime minister’s party was seized by four gunmen on Saturday as the country voted for a new constitution, the party’s spokesman said. “Our district secretary for Headlands was kidnapped this morning. He was taken from his home by armed people,” Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told AFP. Samson Magumura’s…

  20. Updates: keep it up newsday, you are nothing but the best media in zim. Keep your independentness.

  21. No yo country wel, is kadoma chegutu and norton in Mash central? Kip job wel done though for updating us on the voting proceedingz.

  22. turnout is very low. people are not sure what they are voting for.

  23. Ini ,siya ndiite zvangu ini

  24. Thank you newsday for the live updates.we hope you will do the same during the election campaign period and ultimately during the elections.keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you The Alarmist

  25. Ndiko kuti paper revanhu uku.

  26. One person died in the queue to vote at Hoya in Muzarabani

  27. Newsday and all the staff @ AMH , u guy really mean BUSINESS , sezvauri , pauri , tapiri tiri LIVE , thank u so much

  28. Very few pple @ 25mls Mtare south

  29. Kureva Chokwadi

    Mukwara chete, in this year time

  30. Desert yapera ,kwasara main meal!!! Chirega uone kurohwa kunoitwa munhu nezanu pfeee!!

  31. Voter apathy was serious in bulawayo,bt some people never cease to amaze me unonyatsoona kuti munhu ari kushupika bt kuti anoexecisa right yake haadi hanzi hazvichinje chinhu,ko chakaita kuti kuve neinclusive gvt chii,kuti tishandise usd chii hanti ndomaelection acho.panongo buda maresults yes yahwina mutibvisirewo gm wenrz mike karakadzai nekuti tashupika nekuda kwemunhu uyu 8 months no pay .

  32. EDITOR

    You could have improved the quality of this story by editing some of your photos which are substandard

  33. These GPA/GNU clowns have negotiated a constitution that has nothing to do with what people want. Its expediency, survival and unfettered power for themselves. It is always the case everywhere in the world that politicians forget who put them in the high places that they eventually abuse and defend. Nothing to do with personalities but why is so much power given to the office of the president? What are they afraid of? Checks and balances? They want to be incompetent, selfish, corrupt, lazy and self enriching with nobody disputing this or challenging them. And this gay issue and satanism? These issues are abhorrent in any culture and religion and so why not specifically have them as banned in Zimbabwe.
    And on devolution there is nothing there and that is alarming. For years certain regions and areas have benefited from state resources at the expense of others because influential and powerful politicians belonging to the “right tribe” hail from there. Provinces should have been allocated through the right offices, resources to develop their own areas because central government has failed. As for both MDC formations; well they have agreed to everything Zanu pf wanted because they are tired of the fight, because they now also benefit from state resources and because they want to one day have the same power that the current president has. How could they both agree to this fraud of a constitution.
    I am waiting for the new party Madhuku and Gwisayi are forming. Lessons they should learn are that they should never to negotiate with a failed and hugely abusive organization/government corroded with dirt and corruption, if they want to be in power and sort out this man made mess we see. The old government was facing collapse because of stupid economic policies and misrule and that is why they GPAed/GNUed the MDCs. The MDCs were in a powerful position and they have let it slip.
    I voted NO but my only hope now is under this flowed constitution is vote for a new party that is not tainted by the GPA/GNU. The gall of these people to go begging for money for elections from the private sector that they have decimated affecting people’s lives economically. I am so angry that the MDCs have sold out. News channels were reporting that nearly 2 million Zimbabweans bothered participate. Read the script; that is less than 20% of our population.

  34. Zhira Dzangu wakarasika. Uchafa uchisupporta mapato asingafi akatonga nekuti haufungi.

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