|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Harare — Zimbabwe's chaotic presidential elections dissolved into confusion Monday morning as the government said voting would be extended an extra day but most polling officers refused to allow people to vote in this southern African nation.
The High Court ordered the government to extend voting countrywide for a third day after thousands of people remained on lines in Harare when the polls were supposed to close. Many voters returned to vote Monday after being chased away from polling stations by police Sunday night.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on state television Monday morning that the government would comply with the court order under duress and would only extend voting around the capital of Harare because many polling stations in the rest of the country had already been dismantled.
However, by 8:30 a.m. Monday, 1½ hours after polls were to reopen, polling observers in Harare said they remained closed.
"People have come as early as 4 a.m.. They wanted to vote, but nothing is happening in the ground," said Derek Madharani, an opposition poll observer. "I don't know what we can do now. We have exhausted all the channels to plea with this government to be fair to the people, to give them a chance to vote, but our pleas are falling on deaf ears."
Harare is a stronghold of the Movement for Democratic Change, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, who is challenging President Robert Mugabe's 22-year grip on power.
Mr. Mugabe and his Zimbabwean African National Union Patriotic Front ruled without significant dissent until recent years, when the economy entered its worst-ever crisis. Inflation is over 110 per cent, unemployment is 60 per cent and hundreds of thousands of people are going hungry.
Despite pre-election violence and intimidation that opposition officials blame on Mr. Mugabe loyalists, voters headed out in record numbers to cast their ballots during the weekend vote - especially in urban areas like Harare.
The opposition and many observers have accused the government of trying to rig the elections by preventing urban residents - who support the opposition - from voting.
Alex Chinhanga, 25, a project co-ordinator for an educational institution who was chased away from a polling station in the poor Glen View suburb Sunday night said he was concerned about missing work to vote.
"We don't know what will happen when we go back to work with our bosses. Are they going to say, `What happened?' or will they just keep quiet?" he asked.
The government announced turnout figures Monday that showed massive voting in Mr. Mugabe strongholds with far fewer voters casting ballots in opposition areas.
Mashonaland Central, which normally votes strongly for the ruling party, had a 68 per cent turnout. The opposition stronghold of Harare had a 47 per cent so far and the city of Bulawayo a 46 per cent turnout, the government said.
Despite long lines in Harare, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo was quoted in the independent Daily News Monday as saying that reports of high turnout for Harare were "really pictures painted by people with creative imaginations."
Overall, 2.7 million of the nation's 5.6 million registered voters, or 48 per cent, went to the polls, the government said.
The Zimbabwe Educational Trust, an independent research group, said last week that the voters' rolls were in such disarray that any turnout higher than 2.6 million could be rigged.
Also Monday, the state-run Herald newspaper said white people, opposition officials and an American were deployed to some polling stations in a suspicious manner that led authorities to believe there was a plot to disrupt the elections to give the international community a chance to declare them unfair.
The Herald also accused the American and British governments of “setting up the stage for a major military offensive" into the country.
Mr. Tsvangirai, Mr. Mugabe's most competitive challenger since independence in 1980, is promising to revive the economy and end corruption.
Mr. Mugabe has painted Mr. Tsvangirai as a servant to white interests and Western powers who want to see the country fail. Two weeks ago, Mr. Tsvangirai was charged with treason in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate Mr. Mugabe, an allegation he has denied.
Mr. Mugabe has promised public works initiatives if he is re-elected and has pledged to continue his controversial program of seizing white-owned farms and giving them to landless blacks. Whites make up less than 1 per cent of the country's population but own about a third of the nation's commercial farmland.
In the weeks before the vote, pro-Mugabe militants attacked opposition supporters, while police broke up several opposition rallies and arrested dozens of Tsvangirai supporters.
Ruling party militants took over two polling stations, stole voting materials from a third, and at another station, ballots arrived already marked in favour of Mr. Mugabe, observers and opposition supporters said Saturday.
In a statement Sunday night, opposition officials said attacks on its polling
monitors and supporters continued throughout the country.
Monday March 11, 08:47 AM
Zimbabweans jam polls for third day
By Nicholas Kotch and Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's bitter election has gone into an unprecedented
third day but witnesses said President Robert Mugabe's officials were
defying a High Court order and refusing to accept votes.
Thousands of people jammed polling stations in the capital Harare, an
opposition stronghold in the southern African country, after polling
stations reopened at 7 a.m. (5 a.m. British time).
Witnesses and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition charged
that presiding officers in several Harare townships had no instructions to
allow voting to begin.
State radio also said voting would be extended only in Harare and the nearby
Chitungwiza settlement, contrary to a High Court order on Sunday night that
voting should continue throughout the country because of big queues.
The opposition went to the High Court shortly before the scheduled two-day
election was due to close to request an extension of the poll. It charged
that Mugabe was deliberately slowing the vote to disenfranchise opposition
The confusion and problems on Monday were the latest episode in what MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai says is a systematic attempt by Mugabe to use
violence and "dirty tricks" to cling on to power despite deep unpopularity.
Mugabe, 78, once seen as a model democrat, has taken the former Rhodesia
from civil war to prosperity in the 1980s and now to penury that threatens
the stability of the whole southern African region including regional giant
Tsvangirai poses the toughest challenge to Mugabe's monopoly of power since
independence from Britain in 1980 and there are fears of a violent reaction
if the opposition's supporters are robbed of a chance to vote.
NO INSTRUCTIONS TO RESUME VOTING
In Harare's Kuwadzana township, about 800 people queued outside a primary
school, watched by half a dozen riot police.
The polling station's presiding officer told Reuters he had not received
orders from electoral authorities to resume voting.
"We have now gone for one hour and 30 minutes and no voting is taking place.
That's a flagrant violation of the government's own orders," MDC spokesman
Learnmore Jongwe said at 8.30 a.m. after touring seven polling stations in
"They simply don't want people who are going to vote against them to vote,"
Benjamin, one of several hundred people waiting outside a polling station in
Kuwadzana, said he was determined to vote.
"People have decided to stay away from work and vote. People want change. 22
years is too long," he said.
The government citing high costs, logistical and administrative problems,
said it could not comply with the court order to keep polling stations open
Supporters of Tsvangirai said police beat thousands of voters away from
polling stations late on Sunday night after the court order, saying they
should come back on Monday.
Norwegian observer Kare Vollan said 1,000 voters had been turned away at
Harare's Warren Park at 11 p.m. on Sunday.
RIOT POLICE CLOSED POLLING STATION
Witnesses said riot police shut down another polling station about an hour
after the court ruling, scattering around 2,500 people who had waited most
of the day.
Quoting Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, state radio said polling
stations would reopen on Monday only in the two areas that had the longest
queues late on Sunday.
"Comrade Chinamasa has said it is impossible to comply with the order to
extend the vote nationwide because in some areas, polling has already closed
and ballot boxes have already been returned," the radio said.
Britain, the former colonial power, and the United States have warned a
rigged election could destabilise the country.
Neighbouring South Africa, widely criticised for failing to condemn Mugabe's
handling of his political and economic crises, fears a meltdown would cause
a flood of refugees. The Zimbabwe crisis has battered its currency.
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede said that by midday on Sunday barely a
quarter of the voters registered in Harare had cast their ballots. The
205,000 votes gathered was about half the number that voted in parliamentary
elections in June 2000.
From The Times (UK), 11 March
Mugabe running out of time after judge extends poll
Bulawayo/Harare - Zimbabwe’s presidential elections were extended by another day last night after a judge accepted that the massive turnout in the capital would prevent voters from casting their ballots. At the same time, however, police forced the closure of polling stations in Harare, driving out voters with batons and telling them to return today. An election observer from Norway, Kare Vollan, speaking at Warren Park, a western Harare township, where there was a huge turnout, said: "The authorities are closing all the polling stations in Harare because of the court decision." David Hasluck, director of the Commercial Farmers’ Union, said that he had not been allowed to vote after queueing for 20 hours at Hallingbury primary school, in the Harare suburb of Marlborough. "There were about another 1,000 people behind us waiting to vote," he said.
The Government, which had opposed the application by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to extend the election, said later that it would obey the order only in Harare and the nearby Chitungwiza settlement. Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister, was quoted by state radio as saying that polling stations would reopen in the two areas that had the longest queues late last night. "Comrade Chinamasa has said it is impossible to comply with the order to extend the vote nationwide because in some areas, polling has already closed and ballot boxes have already been returned," the radio said. The High Court judge Ben Hlatywayo made the ruling after he flew in a helicopter at dusk, accompanied by lawyers for the MDC and the State, over polling stations where thousands were waiting to vote. The delays came after the Government’s decision to reduce the number of urban polling stations - by nearly 40 per cent in Harare - and to hold the presidential elections at the same time as local government elections. In urban areas, dominated by Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, there was a new mood of angry defiance in the queues, some almost a mile long. The word "change" was spoken openly. There was also a high turnout in rural areas, where President Mugabe’s militias operate with impunity.
Mr Mugabe, 78, who has been in power for nearly 22 years and is seeking a fourth presidential term, suffered a setback when Eddison Zvobgo, a senior member of his Zanu PF party, broke ranks and said that he hoped that he would accept a dignified exit from power in the likely event of defeat. Mr Tsvangirai said: "The old man (Mr Mugabe) is running scared. Time is running out for him." He received cheers of happy birthday when he arrived to vote at Avondale primary school in Harare yesterday morning. He has just turned 50. Mr Mugabe was a victim of confusion when he arrived to vote at a polling station and found his name was on the presidential voters’ roll but not on the municipal list. He had to go to another polling station where he was named on both lists. There is still anxiety over the likelihood of a fraud by the Zanu PF party. Learnmore Jongwe, an MDC spokesman, said that 47 per cent of rural polling stations had no MDC polling officers after a series of arrests, abductions and assaults. Three British citizens were reported to have been arrested. Melanie Patterson, 26, who was born in Zimbabwe, but lives in London, said that her brother and sister, who live in Harare, and her brother-in-law, Will Powell, were detained while driving MDC election observers to polling stations.
Dr Zvobgo, a lawyer by profession, and whose views are respected on both sides of the House, denounced Mr Mugabe’s land-grab scheme as "the devil which has spoilt everything" and condemned attempts at driving through unconstitutional legislation as "bristling with arrows pointed at the heart of freedom". He said that the party’s official position was that it would accept the election result. He admitted that there could be a coup attempt, but seemed confident that few in the Armed Forces would join it. "Even if such a thing happened and succeeded, it would not be permanent," he said. Dr Zvobgo said that the Government should accept the blame for the country’s food and fuel shortages, its 116 per cent inflation and a 70 per cent unemployment rate. "People are angry," he said. "Some factors were beyond our control, but others were within our grasp and we either mismanaged or we hesitated and lost an opportunity." He called for a government of national unity so that "political energies could be harnessed towards state objectives, and we would stand a great chance of being listened to sympathetically by those who have the means to help ... the European Union, the US and so on."
From ZWNEWS, 11 March
Top MDC officials arrested
Two senior officials of the MDC were arrested this morning in what is thought may be the start of a wider swoop on leaders of the opposition party. Welshman Ncube, secretary-general, was arrested as he drove from Bulawayo to Plumtree. Gift Chimanikire, deputy secretary-general, was arrested in Harare. It was not clear what charges had been brought against the two.
From The Guardian (UK), 11 March
Voters defiant in Mugabe heartland
Electorate in rural areas regarded as president's stronghold are resisting intimidation to vote for opposition
Muzarabani - This may be President Robert Mugabe's stronghold but voters in Zimbabwe's rural areas are not likely to deliver the resounding endorsement he is expecting. Voters in the Muzarabani constituency braved gangs of Mr Mugabe's youth militia and intimidation from police and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to cast their ballots. In interviews with the Guardian, voters refused to declare their support for Mr Mugabe. Muzarabani, in Mashonaland Central, is considered a bastion of the ruling Zanu PF party. The number of polling stations in the constituency was increased by 82%, apparently because the Mugabe government was confident of support there. This increase in the sparsely populated area is in dramatic contrast to Harare and other cities where polling stations were reduced. To further beef up the vote for Mr Mugabe, Muzarabani was declared a "no go" area for Mr Tsvangirai's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Open campaigning here was impossible and the MDC's efforts simply to get its polling agents to monitor the voting was met with state-sponsored violence. There are signs that even here, in Mr Mugabe's heartland, support for him is waning. Residents say that hunger and violence are the issues they are most concerned about. "I am not happy with the situation, but I voted for the candidate of my choice," said a grey-haired peasant farmer, who was too frightened to say he supported Mr Tsvangirai. "My vote is my secret."
"Mugabe's militia and war veterans say they don't want to see any MDC here and they say they will kill us," said Peter Mukorera, 32, the MDC's constituency chairman. "And the police don't give us any protection. It is very rough." Mr Mukorera was shot at, stoned and threatened with death at Utete polling station on Saturday while police stood by. Police took the keys to two vehicles he and others were using to transport party polling agents and a few hours later the vehicles were set alight by the Mugabe supporters who had a base camp next to the polling station. "I ran through the bush and I fell down twice from fright when they shot the guns," said Mr Mukorera. "I kept running and finally slept in the bush. Later I hiked out but two of our officials are still missing." Mr Mukorera said his home was burned to the ground six weeks ago. Two more MDC vehicles in Muzarabani were impounded by police yesterday. The violence encountered by Mr Mukorera was part of a systematic nationwide campaign against MDC polling agents in rural areas. In Karoi, in Mashonaland West province, one MDC polling agent was beaten and drowned while another was wrapped in hay and set alight and is now in hospital, according to local residents. Other agents were beaten in nearby Banket. In Shamva, in Mashonaland East, about 20 MDC polling agents were attacked by youth militia on Friday. They got their wounds stitched up and then many returned to their pollings stations for voting on Saturday. In Honde Valley, in eastern Manicaland province, 80 MDC polling agents were illegally detained by the army and several were beaten. Four of the polling officials are still missing, according to the Human Rights Forum. In the southern area of Matabeleland, two vehicles transporting MDC polling agents were attacked and three agents are missing, according to witnesses.
The MDC estimates that more than 50% of the country's rural polling stations have operated without the presence of any opposition representatives. Under new electoral laws decreed by Mr Mugabe last week, all other polling officials are appointed by the government, so the opposition party agents are the only guarantee that there is no ballot stuffing or other irregularities. A threatening atmosphere hung over the Gatu polling station, in Muzarabani, when I visited it yesterday afternoon. Clusters of thuggish youth militia waited around on dusty paths nearby and threatened Peter Mukorera, the MDC official I interviewed, while I was standing just a few feet away. The presiding officer at the polling station was courteous and revealed that 1,400 people had voted. But another government polling official was menacing and tried to get police to detain me. Armed officers came up and tried to detain me again when I was speaking to a local resident about the election. Under such daunting circumstances, the MDC supporters in Muzarabani were pleased to have at least one representative in every one of the constituency's 51 polling stations. "The courage and strength of the local MDC people has taken Zanu PF by surprise," said Chris Pearce, a driver for the Zimbabwe Citizens Support Group which transported the MDC polling agents to the remote polling stations. "The government did not expect to see MDC officials at every polling station. They are taken aback. We feel we have won."
From The Guardian (UK), 11 March
'We won't move from here till we vote'
Samson Kandiyado endured 21 hours under the baking sun followed by a damp night to keep his place in the line to consign Robert Mugabe to history. But when he finally stood before the polling officer yesterday afternoon, she claimed his name was not on the electoral roll. "They said I do not exist," he said. "They use every trick. They pretended they couldn't find my name. They looked under 'Z' when I'm called Kandiyado. I argued with them and then after a long time they found my name." Last night, the Harare high court ordered that Zimbabwe's presidential election be extended to a third day as hundreds of thousands of residents of the capital and its neighbouring townships claimed the ruling party had engineered horrendous queues and laborious voting procedures to keep people away from the polls in urban areas where Mr Mugabe is widely loathed. The government said it would appeal. Shortly before the court ruling, riot police fired tear gas to disperse people protesting at the polls closing while many were still waiting to vote. Tens of thousands more had simply given up and gone home. In the countryside, it was a different story. The government was keen for people to vote in the belief there is either genuine support for Mr Mugabe among the very poor or that months of violence and intimidation will have made people too afraid to vote against him. But there were signs of defiance yesterday among some rural voters.
Mr Mugabe's main rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, persuaded the Harare high court to extend the election into a third day because he said the government was trying to stave off defeat by stripping many of his supporters of the right to vote. "Zanu-PF is now engaged in a last-ditch effort to stop people from voting it out of power by ensuring that the voting process in [opposition] strongholds is slowed down," he said. The US embassy in Harare warned of "massive disenfranchisement of urban voters". Zimbabwe's independent electoral observers accused the government of robbing hundreds of thousands of people of their vote. The South African observer mission calculated that it would take five days for everyone to vote in the capital. General Abdulsalami Abubakar, the former military ruler of Nigeria who leads the Commonwealth observer mission, joined other monitors in calling for an extension of the voting. The ruling Zanu-PF responded by claiming it had uncovered a "white" plot to discredit the election. The government said it had detained two British citizens and two Americans arrested for carrying "illegal radio equipment", but it transpired they were Zimbabwean residents detained with dozens of other opposition activists attempting to monitor the polls. The frustrations of voting are further evidence of the lengths to which Mr Mugabe is going, after 22 years in power, to disenfranchise his opponents. The government and opposition alike implicitly agree that the outcome of the election hinges on the turnout in urban areas. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change believes a substantial vote in the towns and cities, where 60% of voters are registered, will be enough to offset the rigging and intimidation which plague rural constituencies.
The government's own statistics at the end of the first day of voting on Saturday reveal how successful it has been in keeping the urban vote down. Harare and Chitungwiza account for one in six registered electors. According to the state electoral commission's figures, the turnout in the capital and its main township on the first day of voting was 18%, half that of almost every other province. In the traditional Mugabe stronghold of Mashonaland East, the turnout on Saturday alone was officially 44%. But in Mashonaland, ruling party militia and war veterans arrived at some villages before dawn and herded the entire population to the polls with warnings that the vote is not secret. In some rural polling stations, the police and election officials stood over voters as they marked their ballots. Election observers also said there was evidence of ballot boxes already stuffed with votes being carried into polling places.
A key part of the government's strategy to discourage the urban vote was to reduce the number of polling stations and create long queues. In the Zengeza district of Chitungwiza, the government nearly halved the number of polling places. At Zengeza 2 voting station, several hundred people were already in before it opened on Saturday morning. Within hours, the queue stretched hundreds of yards and grew through the day to more than 2,000 people, who were shuffling through the polling station at the rate of less than 50 an hour. "People really know what the government is doing," said Emanuel Nyauagwa. "It's part of the rigging. They don't want us to express what we think. They don't want urban voters to vote. But I tell you one thing, we won't move from here. We won't just accept the situation as it is." The government has tried to explain away the cut in polling stations in Chitungwiza and Harare by saying it was saving money or that additional ballot boxes were needed in rural areas to cut the distance people had to travel. But the empty rural voting stations on Sunday belied that claim. Zimbabwe's information minister, Jonathan Moyo, laid the ground to dismiss the low voting figures in urban areas as the result of apathy. "I have been quite interested to see claims of a massive turnout in urban areas, quite clearly based on the queues instead of numbers. All things being equal, we are expecting a much larger turnout in the rural areas than the urban areas," he said.
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 11 March
Mugabe's rural voters shun polling stations
Harare/Matabeleland/Mashonaland - The sight of election agents fanning themselves with voter education posters outside deserted polling stations demonstrated graphically the low turnout in President Mugabe's strongholds in rural Zimbabwe yesterday. One polling station after another in Mashonaland was visited by a handful of voters, while election officials sat listlessly on the grass. The schools, farm buildings and local government offices that house the ballot boxes appeared abandoned. In the typical rural constituency of Hurungwe West barely 400 people voted in the 35 polling stations on Saturday, the first day of Zimbabwe's presidential election. This seemed to have declined further yesterday. The constituency has 42,000 electors. In Banket, Lion's Den, Mhangura and Chinhoyi, which all returned MPs from Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party in the June 2000 parliamentary elections, polling stations were similarly deserted. During those elections, queues were common. The contrast will worry Mr Mugabe and his men. If the trend is representative, the turnout in Mashonaland West province - Mr Mugabe's home area - is unlikely to exceed 50 per cent. In 2000, the president relied on this heartland to counter-balance the rejection he suffered in the cities. This time, people living in Mashonaland suspect that the voting figures may be massaged to guarantee that Mr Mugabe achieves the majority he needs. "If they announce a high count here, then it's a fact that the ballot boxes will have been loaded. We will all know," said a farmer who has been monitoring the election.
The first figures from election officials did show eye-catching variations. While it was claimed that 44 per cent voted in Mashonaland East during the first day of polling, the figure for the opposition-dominated Harare district was just 14 per cent. Polling agents for Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change have been unable to cover more than half the rural polling stations. The rest are virtually devoid of independent scrutiny. In some areas of Mashonaland, the government's agents appeared to be breathing down voters' necks. There were six reports of police entering polling booths and "assisting" voters. Police ordered whites to stay away from polling stations, explaining that their presence was "intimidatory". But even if Mr Mugabe has failed to mobilise his voters, the second element of this marred campaign has been going to plan. Opposition supporters were facing overwhelming problems casting their votes in the big cities, including Harare. The queues forced some voters to queue for up to 16 hours. Few managed to vote within eight hours. A polling booth in the Highfield township had queues four abreast and the average waiting time to vote was eight hours. Outside the Highfield High School was a large pile of uncollected, rotting rubbish because the city has been without a mayor and council for three years. The township has become a ghetto, and most of its occupants live in extreme poverty.
Jonathan Chinhoyi, 44, a machinist, arrived at 3.30am at one of only two Highfield polling booths. Thin, cheerful, but desperately tired, he said: "I voted for Zanu-PF in 1980, for independence. I voted for them again in 1985, in 1990, in 1995, and I voted twice before for Mugabe. Two years ago I voted for the others." He laughed. "I don't care if I wait here for another 224 hours," he said. "I will vote. We must have change." In the queue were people too tired to talk, many were fractious, yet all were determined to stay. There was also a hint of future trouble. Kiasi Sithole, 30, had abandoned the queue, and hoped to return when it shortened. "I will come back, but it is too long now. If we are not able to vote, we will take to the streets," he said. At the Batanai Primary School, in Mabvuku, east of Harare, another decrepit ghetto, a queue filled with stoic people, hungry, thirsty, and desperately tired, some with swollen feet from standing so long. The picture was repeated in the wealthy suburb of Avondale, a mixture of some of the most elegant homes in Africa and middle-class flats. Here the queue forced many people to wait for 16 hours.
In the opposition stronghold of Matabeleland, there were reports of MDC polling agents "disappearing" on the way to polling stations; of sealed ballot boxes being reopened illegally; of armed Mugabe supporters lining up voters in groups of 10 to make sure they voted for their man. Aware that the MDC has overwhelming support in the cities, election officials simply cut by half the number of urban polling stations. It was a direct if clumsy way of reducing the urban vote, as the polling stations simply did not have the capacity to deal with the huge flow of voters, many of whom went home without casting their votes. Out in the countryside, the opposite was true. "Every other village has a polling station and how can we possibly monitor them all especially when they are moving from place to place," one MDC activist said. "They are making it very difficult for us but we are doing the best we can."
Supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and observer groups welcomed the decision, which gives hope to large numbers of people still waiting in queues to cast their vote.
[The court] ordered that an extension be granted not only for Harare... but the whole country until close of voting tomorrow
Lawyer for MDC
But correspondents say it is not clear what exactly will happen on Monday morning- the government could win its appeal against the ruling or simply ignore it.
And even if the court's decision comes into force, observers point out it may not be an unmitigated boon for the MDC.
As polling stations across the country will open for a third day, this could allow the ruling Zanu-PF to add votes in rural areas where its support is strongest.
As the time for the official end of voting passed on Sunday at 1900 local time (1700GMT), thousands of people were still waiting to cast their ballot.
Witnesses said that following the court ruling, police dispersed thousands of people waiting to vote at polling stations in Harare that had stayed open after they were due to close.
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Some 5.6 million people have been eligible to vote in the election, in which President Mugabe faces a strong challenge to his 22-year rule from MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr Tsvangirai celebrated his 50th birthday on Sunday, and voters sang Happy Birthday To You when he visited Evendale polling station in Harare.
Meanwhile two Britons and an American have been arrested in the east of the country after being accused of attending an illegal gathering.
Election Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede said that everyone who wanted to vote would have the chance to do so, but he did not say whether the authorities would comply with the court order.
"The whole country has voted, with the exception of about 10 polling stations in Harare," said Mr Mudede.
More than 5,000 people were reported to be waiting at one voting station in the Kuwadzana district of the capital late on Sunday.
"It is not fair. Voting is not a crime. We are not happy at all," said Peter Chiriseri, as he waited to vote.
"I will accept it, I will more than accept it, because I will have won."
"The polling days should be extended, especially in Harare. If the authorities refuse to extend it would be a tragedy for this country. People have expressed themselves and we are awaiting the outcome."
"There is no way this can be completed in two days. The current poll exercise has become a crisis, but could quickly explode unless it is better managed."
"Some have been at the polling stations as early as 0400. The whole process is being punctuated by calmness, but for a first time in as many years one can rule out voter apathy. In fact the reduced number of polling stations has made queues longer."
"I, as a resident of Harare, rate-payer and property owner, am now denied any say in the election... This is truly outrageous, as these things should have no connection. What depths next?"
"We got up at 0630 this morning and waited in a very friendly mixed-race queue. The queue moved slowly but surely and we were back home at 1000 after voting - in time to watch the cricket, South Africa versus Australia."