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Robert Mugabe casts his vote

A frail 94-year-old Mugabe, accompanied by his wife, Grace, shuffled into the polling booth - and spent several minutes filling in his ballot paper with the help of an assistant.

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe (C) his daughter Bona (C) and wife Grace cast their votes at a polling station at a primary school in the Highfield district of Harare during the country's general elections on July 30, 2018. Picture: AFP

HARARE - Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe has cast his vote in a Harare township in the country's first election that does not include his name on the ballot paper.

A frail 94-year-old Mugabe, accompanied by his wife, Grace, shuffled into the polling booth - and spent several minutes filling in his ballot paper with the help of an assistant.

A huge crowd gathered outside, some cheering, many booing.

WATCH: Zimbabwe goes to the polls

FLOUTING ELECTORAL LAWS

Two presidential candidates are being investigated by police for allegedly flouting electoral laws.

In an update on Monday afternoon, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has urged candidates and political parties to comply with provisions of the law.

The electoral commission says over 90% of the polling stations opened on time.

The commission's chair Priscilla Chigumba says so far it’s been smooth sailing.

“There is high voter turnout at most polling stations and polling is characterised by a peaceful atmosphere.”

She also confirmed that the commission has reported two presidential candidates to the police for violating the Electoral Act by campaigning on Sunday.

She was asked about what consequences they face.

“Traditionally, what we normally do is where complaints have been received with regard to whether the Electoral Act or its regulations have been violated, we refer such complaints to those bodies that have investigative powers such as the Zimbabwean police or the Zimbabwean Human Rights Commission.”

According to the Electoral Act, no political party or candidate may publish or permit the publication of statements promoting or opposing a particular party or candidate 24 hours before elections.

But on Sunday MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and Zanu-PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa criticised each other publicly, while urging voters to support them.

While police investigate them for the violations, Chigumba is calling on political leaders to be exemplary.

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would like to urge political parties and candidates to be exemplary and to comply with the provisions of the law.”

She’s reminded them of the code of conduct they’ve signed.

“No political party or candidate may, from midnight 24 hours before polling day in any election or referendum until polling stations are closed on that day, convene or hold a public gathering of any kind.”

Zimbabweans are still voting at over 10,000 polling stations across the country through its first election since the removal of Mugabe who cast his vote a short while ago.

It marks the first election he's participated in as a citizen and not president.

VOTING OBSTRUCTED?

Chamisa, the main challenger to Mnangagwa, a long-time Mugabe ally, has given no evidence for his claim that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is impeding voting in urban areas where he enjoys strong support.

In a tweet on Monday afternoon, Chamisa said: "The people's will is being negated and undetermined due to these deliberate and unnecessary delays.”

The electoral commission was not immediately available to comment but its denied Chamisa's previous allegations of bias.

Chigumba has called for peace during today's historic polls.

“We need everyone to comfortable to go out and exercise their right to vote without fear or being intimidated.”

A credible election is essential if Zimbabwe is to exit painful sanctions and secure the donor funding needed to stem chronic cash shortages.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)