TOP contenders in this year’s presidential elections, MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa, of Zanu PF, as well as former President Robert Mugabe, all cast their ballots yesterday amid tight security.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA/FREEMAN MAKOPA/
Mnangagwa voted at Sherwood Primary School in Kwekwe in the company of his wife First Lady Auxillia and son, Emmerson Mnangagwa Jnr.
Security at the polling station was tight amid reported fears that some “Mugabe functionaries” posed security threats to the President’s life.
Mnangagwa arrived at the polling station and voted before he was whisked away after expressing optimism at the outcome, saying the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the country was good for democracy.
Mnangagwa told reporters that Mugabe, who had indicated at a Press conference on the eve of the elections that he would vote for Chamisa, was free to address journalists.
Mnangagwa’s security was tightened following an explosion that occurred soon after he had addressed a Zanu PF rally in the run-up to the elections at Bulawayo’s White City Stadium on June 23.
Yesterday, the atmosphere at Mhofu Primary School in Highfield turned electric when Mugabe arrived to cast his ballot, as hundreds of other voters ululated and chanted “Gushungo! Gushungo! Gushungo!”
Mugabe’s appearance in Highfield, alongside his wife Grace and daughter Bona Chikore, stirred excitement in the crowd despite that he had fallen out of favour with many people by the time he was elbowed out of office.
With tight security restraining the crowd from coming into close contact with the 94-year-old Mugabe, the former President acknowledged the ovation by raising a feeble fist in the air.
Mugabe, clad in a navy blue suit, was hand-held by his wife as he made way into the polling station.
After casting his ballot, he, however, did not address journalists, who had been eagerly awaiting his arrival for hours as traditional while he was still head of State and government.
His security details quickly whisked him away into his modest motorcade soon after.
At Kuwadzana 2, there was a lot of pushing and shoving as journalists tried to penetrate the human wall of security details around the youthful MDC Alliance presidential aspirant.
Chamisa had to ask his security details to get supporters to back off a little so he could speak to the media as the pushing and shoving continued after he had walked out of the polling station.
“Where is Nkululeko (Sibanda)? Please, manage the Press
. . .” Chamisa could be heard saying before the situation was finally brought under control.