With just seven weeks to go to presidential, general and local elections in Zimbabwe, there is considerable confusion among voters, civil rights advocates and officials as to how many more days Zimbabweans have to register and inspect the voters roll.
Civic organizations said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, already under criticism for the way in which it redistricted to add 90 new elective constituencies and its failure to make basic information on the delimitation results widely available, has issued conflicting statements on the extension of registration and inspection deadlines.
The government announced last week that it was putting off nomination courts to give all political parties more time to select candidates, which legal experts took to mean that related deadlines for registration and list inspect would also be pushed off.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper on Monday quoted the ZEC as saying voter registration, originally scheduled to end February 7, would run through Wednesday, Feb. 13. But the Zimbabwe Election Support Network and other civil society groups said voter registration should continue through Thursday, Feb. 14.
Registration centers are supposed to be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Nomination courts are expected to sit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15.
National Coordinator Xolani Zitha of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, which is urging young people in particular to register, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that that although the response has seemed strong in urban areas, rural inhabitants have not received enough information on the process.
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