Judith Todd, daughter of former Rhodesian Prime Minister Garfield, gives a narration of her voting experience yesterday.
Todd recently got her Zimbabwean citizenship back, after she was previously labelled an alien. She was anxious that she may not be allowed to vote, but her fears were allayed, when she visited the polling station.
Below is her account.
Just after 7am on a bitterly cold and windy morning in Bulawayo, I was at the gate of the nearest polling station.
It was locked. Suburbs, where I live, is very well served by polling stations in various centres including Girls’ College and the Bulawayo Polytechnic and there were also two at Milton High School, which is a 10-minute stroll from my house.
Half way between my home and the Holiday Inn at Ascot shopping centre, a group of civil society organisations have set up a situation centre from where they will be issuing reports throughout the day.
A security guard at Milton, looking so poor and old and frozen, was within calling distance of the locked gate, which he came and unlocked for me and then wandered through the hopelessly-derelict looking school with me. He asked whether I would like polling station A or B.
B, which was meant to be served through the locked gate, looked deserted, so I chose A, which was in the main assembly hall. There were only two or three other voters around, but the officials and observers were all in place and ready to serve me.
Before I left home, I had checked with Baba Jukwa on Facebook and followed his advice to carry my own pen for voting. He warned that the ink in the pens allegedly provided by a shady Israeli intelligence outfit, allegedly working with the Zanu PF regime, might fade before votes were counted.
Also, he passed on the warning that voters should watch out as the information on ballot papers was not clear and people might, therefore, be inveigled into voting for “the wrong MDC”.
In fact, the process was very smooth, the information was clear.
I voted and was soon on my way with a bright pink small finger glowing on my left hand.
En route back home from the Ascot shopping centre an hour or so later, I passed through Milton once more to see if activity had increased. It had, slightly.
There were, maybe a dozen cars, including one labelled Sadc in the main parking lot outside the Assembly Hall off the main Leopold Takawira Road.
But the gate on Townsend Road leading to polling station B in Milton school was once more locked. I found a ZEC official and alerted her, she was horrified.
By the time I passed that gate again she had rooted out the poor, old, frozen security guard and he had once more unlocked it. This time it had been left open.