10:25 a.m: A politician in the Zimbabwean opposition stronghold of Bulawayo says there are numerous reports of “voting going at a snail’s pace.”
David Coltart, a supporter of opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, says he hopes election observers will pay special attention to the pace of voting “as it is a means of suppressing the urban vote.”
Coltart says on Twitter that Zimbabwe’s electoral commission deliberately slowed voting in urban areas in the 2002 election to undermine the opposition, which traditionally has strong support in major cities.
Past elections have been marred by irregularities. But Zimbabwe’s electoral commission says this election — the first without longtime leader Robert Mugabe — will be free and fair.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has cast his vote in his constituency of Kwekwe, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of the capital, Harare.
Mnangagwa wore a scarf with the country’s national colors as he arrived at a primary school converted into a polling station, and chatted briefly with election workers after casting his ballot.
He told reporters that he is committed to a Zimbabwe in which people have the “freedom to express their views, negative or positive.” He called the vote peaceful.
And he took the criticism of him by former leader Robert Mugabe on Sunday in stride, saying that “He is a citizen … He can engage me anytime.”
A former Cabinet minister and opposition leader in Zimbabwe says it’s a “great day” for the country as it goes to the polls.
Dumiso Dabengwa, head of the opposition Zimbabwe African People’s Union, tells the South African news outlet eNCA that the election offers two starkly different paths for Zimbabweans.
“It’s a decider as to whether Zimbabwe goes forward or remains stuck in the problems that it is facing today,” said Dabengwa, who was imprisoned for years without charge under former leader Robert Mugabe. He describes the vote as a choice between a “new, fresh start” and the “status quo.”
Dabengwa says he supports main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
Piercing whistles and cheers have greeted Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa as he votes in the country’s historic election.
Crowds are swarming the 40-year-old lawyer and pastor at a polling station just outside Harare.
Chamisa is challenging the 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe’s first election without Robert Mugabe on the ballot. The contest could bring international legitimacy and investment or signal more stagnation if the vote is seriously flawed.
One of Zimbabwe’s voters is the brother of Itai Dzamara, an activist abducted by suspected state agents in 2015 after urging longtime ruler Robert Mugabe to resign at a time when most Zimbabweans dared not do so.
Patson Dzamara says on Twitter that change is coming and he thanks his brother for “blazing a trail for me and others” with his brazen and sometimes solitary protests. “My brother Itai Dzamara, this is for you. I did it for you.”
The missing activist’s family and supporters have called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe enforcer, to explain what happened to Dzamara after he was bundled into a car by five unidentified men.
Mnangagwa, who took over after Mugabe resigned in November, has not responded. Mugabe on Sunday called Dzamara “that character” and claimed not to know about his fate.
Patson Dzamara says he supports Nelson Chamisa, the main opposition leader.
Zimbabwe’s president is urging the country to remain peaceful during a historic election, saying that “We are one people, with one dream and one destiny. We will sink or swim together.”
The 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over after longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down in November under military pressure.
Mnangagwa’s top challenger is 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, who took over the main opposition party after the death of longtime Mugabe challenger Morgan Tsvangirai in February.
Zimbabwe’s more than 5 million registered voters are forming long lines in the capital, Harare, and elsewhere.
Zimbabweans are voting in their first election without Robert Mugabe on the ballot, a contest that could bring international legitimacy and investment or signal more stagnation if the vote is seriously flawed.
About 5.5 million people are registered to vote on Monday in this southern African nation anxious for change after decades of economic paralysis and the nearly four-decade rule of the 94-year-old Mugabe.
Long lines of voters are waiting outside some polling stations. Thousands of election monitors are in the country to observe a process that the opposition says is biased against them.
The two main contenders are 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former deputy president who took over from Mugabe last year, and Nelson Chamisa, who became head of the main opposition party just a few months ago. Associated Press