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Election Monitoring Group Issues Caution On Zimbabwe By-Elections

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said Thursday that parliamentary by-elections taking place on Saturday in Rushinga and Chikomba may not be free and fair. ZESN cited various irregularities in the electoral preparation process.

Rushinga is in Mashonaland Central province; Chikomba is in Mashonaland East.

The group issued a report saying that while there has been little pre-election violence, electoral rolls in the constituencies are in poor condition, the number of polling stations has been reduced and voters are not sufficiently informed as to the process.

But ZESN Chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove said he was more concerned about the October 28 rural district council elections, in which the ruling party has already claimed some 400 seats of roughly 1,000 being contested because hundreds of opposition candidates were disqualified in the nomination process under new regulations.

Dr Matchaba-Hove, a physician as well as founder of the respected monitoring group, told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that violence has been more of a concern in the approach to rural council elections late this month.

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