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Zimbabwe Election Official Defends Conditions For Masvingo By-Election

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairman George Chiweshe said Friday that he is satisfied with preparations for a by-election to take place Saturday in Masvingo’s Zaka East constituency, despite reservations about procedures expressed in a paper from the Zimbabwe Election Support Network and a boycott by the main opposition.

ZESN said the constituency lacked a properly constituted electoral court. Both factions of the opposition complained a level playing field was not established in Zaka East.

Chiweshe said the law requires a by-election to be held within a specified time after a seat is vacated. Incumbent Tinos Rusere of the ruling ZANU-PF party died in March.

Both factions of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change are boycotting the Zaka East ballot, but ZANU-PF and two smaller opposition parties have fielded candidates. The ZANU-PF candidate is retired soldier Livingstone Chineka; the United People’s Party has fielded Nicholas Shanga, and Rameck Batirai of the Zimbabwe People’s Democratic Party is also in the running for the Zaka East seat.

Chiweshe tells reporter Carole Gombakomba that despite objections by ZESN and the opposition, conditions in the constituency are in line with legal requirements.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...