APATHY yesterday marred the 2015 Presidential election with people literally trickling into polling stations.
Heavy downpours around the country did not help the situation, as the few pockets of people who were streaming into the polling centres had to brave the rains to await their turn to vote.
The voting process was largely peaceful with people casting their ballots without intimidation or any major incidences.
Security was tight with uniformed police officers manning almost every polling centre.
A check in Lusaka Central, Munali and Kanyama Constituencies showed that none of the polling stations had recorded more than half of the registered voters in the respective centres.
Electoral officials and some monitors attributed the low turnout to the heavy downpour and the little voter education before the poll.
“We opened at 06:00 sharp and we had a long queue in the morning but it’s like people ran away the moment it started raining,” said one of the polling agents at Mtendere Primary School where some African Union observers were deployed.
At Mtendere Primary School in Munali Constituency, only 650 out of the registered 4,197 voters had cast their ballot by 10:00 hours and the polling station was visibly empty.
A check at Vera Chiluba Primary School revealed that 1,102 people out of 5,517 registered voters had cast their ballot by 10:10 hours.
Out of the 6,434 registered voters in the polling station’s eight streams only 1,571 had cast their ballot by 12:30 hours.
At Prince Takamado Primary School polling station in Lusaka Central Constituency, only 1,254 had voted by 11:30 hours out of 5,695 registered voters while at Chibelo in the same constituency 913 out of 2,548 had cast their ballot.
In Masaiti Constituency on the Copperbelt, voter turnout was also low.
Sitima polling station opened at opened at 06:00 hours and only eight people voted at that time.
Presiding officer Godfrey Chola attributed the low turnout to the rural nature of the area, adding that a number of people were attending to their fields.
By 11:00 hours only 54 people had voted out of the registered 321.
At Lumano polling station stream one and two the response was similar and voting was affected due to a heavy down pour.
The situation was also the same at Kabwata polling station where only 75 people out of the 777 registered had cast their votes.
And at Mukolwe polling station presiding Officer Dennis Mweemba said the response was low because a number of the people had gone for the weekly Tuesday market.
Mr Mweemba said the place being a farming area, the people normally sell their produce on Tuesday’s at Masangano.
Kamafwasa polling station also recorded low voters as only 42 people had cast their votes after 13:00hours.
At National Service polling station which falls under Bwana Mkumbwa constituency the response was not overwhelming as by 13 hours 300 people had voted out of 1,448 registered voters.
At Chipata polling station which only 150 people had cast their votes by 11:00 hours.
At Sky ways polling station in Kabushi constituency voting started at 06:09 but was delayed due to a heavy down pour.
Presiding offcer Francis Nkole said voting was briefly suspended because the makeshift office roof was blown off after a storm.
Following this incident the polling station had to relocate to another place within the same vicinity.
Ndola Central constituency’s Sekela polling station opened at 06:00 hours and by 07:00 hours 20 people had cast their votes.
Chintu polling station recorded a favourable response by 06:00 hours as 20 people were already present on the queue and the situation was also the same at Mukuyu polling station where 37 people had queued up at the time of opening the centre.
Voting in Mpongwe was expected to take longer than usual as selected polling stations in the district are situated far from the totaling centre.
Mpongwe District returning officer Joaquim Mangwale said in an interview that four polling stations in the area were located in far flung areas and were only reachable by helicopter.
“Muyambe, Mushive, Kapili and Munkoyo are located quite far from here (the totaling centre) but the electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has organised a chopper that will ferry the ballots but this may cause a delay concluding the counting process,” he said.
[TIMES OF ZAMBIA]