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Zimbabweans Voting for President, Parliament, Local Councils

Zimbabweans are going to the polls Saturday to choose a president, parliament and local councils. VOA's Peta Thornycroft reports from Harare.

In the rural areas in Mashonaland West, which has been the heartland of support for President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF, I saw very few voters. I was there at one polling station from the time voting started and I was in that area for about three hours, and I was surprised to see how empty the polling stations seemed to be. The longest queue I saw was about 20 people.

Back in Harare there are longer queues in some of the urban areas, but again nothing like we saw in the 2002 presidential election. And people who voted then and who voted in 2005 say there are many more polling stations now, than there were then, so the queues are moving faster.

In the second city, Bulawayo, MDC (Movement for Democratic Chage) MP David Coulthard, now standing for the Senate, said early this morning that it was taking five minutes to process one voter and that he could not see how on earth they could get processed by closing of voting at 7 p.m. Saturday. He said now it has gone down to about two minutes per voter.