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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Says Ruling Party "Out Of Ideas" On Economy

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

The founding president of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change is campaigning for president in the election coming up in March 2008 telling voters the ruling ZANU-PF party has run out of ideas on how to revive the economy.

Tsvangirai said the government's drive to force down prices, which has emptied store shelves and virtually halted domestic production of food and other essential goods, showed that ZANU-PF is a party whose time has come and gone.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of one faction of the divided MDC, told a campaign rally in Bulawayo on Sunday that it is time Zimbabweans from all walks of life united to remove President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF from power to end their suffering.

Correspondent Netsai Mlilo reported from Bulawayo.

Elsewhere, the nongovernmental Zimbabwe Election Support Network said it intends to file a complaint with the Office of the Registrar General alleging "irregularities" in the government's ongoing mobile voter registration drive.

The independent election monitoring body said some would-be first-time voters have been unable to register to vote though they managed to obtain identity cards.

ZESN said residents of Matebeleland and Lower Gweru have complained that mobile registration vehicles are deployed for a “ridiculously” short time. It said the registration teams were deployed at the Kawondera and Dzikamidzi primary schools in Zvimba for just one day, making "a mockery of what should be a noble exercise”.

But spokesman Utoile Silaigwana of the state Zimbabwe Electoral Commission told the government-controlled Herald newspaper that mobile voter registration was meant to give “every citizen a chance to acquire national documentation and to be registered” as a voter. Silaigwana said the commission is urging all Zimbabweans to visit their local registration centers before the exercise ends on August 17.

ZESN program manager Tsungai Kokerai told reporter, Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that not everyone is able to register to vote next year.

In other political news, the Tsvangirai MDC faction said its members of parliament will attend the opening of the assembly on Tuesday, breaking with a recent policy of boycotting such events at which President Robert Mugabe presides.

The statement said the Tsvangirai formation decided to attend in consideration of ongoing crisis talks mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Mr. Mugabe is to officially open parliament's last session before next year’s general election, and will deliver his state of the nation address.

Secretary General Tendai Biti of the Tsvangirai MDC faction told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that his party duly respects the efforts of President Mbeki and the Southern African Development Community to bring about a negotiated end to the crisis.

Spokesman Gabriel Chaibva of the MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara said party members will be at parliament in force, adding that it would be inconsistent to boycott the opening of parliament when faction members attend ordinary sessions.

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