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Zimbabwe Ruling Party, Opposition Offer Starkly Different Campaign Messages

Just days before Zimbabwe's key parliamentary elections, ruling party and opposition candidates are presenting starkly different campaign messages as they rally their supporters.

President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party say the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is merely a front for former colonial ruler Britain, which he says wants to re-colonize Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe himself has promised Zimbabweans enough food despite a weak harvest -- and has handed out computers to schools during campaign appearances.

But the opposition says the ruling party has ruined the economy and now can not address Zimbabwe's most pressing problems: chronic shortages of cash, fuel, and food.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says the charge his party is funded by Britain is just a tactic to cover up failed government policies, including land reform.

Zimbabwe's election season has been marked by well-attended rallies and significantly less violence than erupted ahead of polls in 2000 and 2002.

This year, ZANU-PF is fighting to maintain its majority in parliament as voters cast ballots for 120 elected members. President Mugabe appoints the remaining 30 seats.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Zimbabwe Standard.