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Zimbabwe Opposition Charges Favoritism In Voter Registration Drive

The Zimbabwean opposition has accused the country's registrar general of tilting the electoral playing field nine months ahead of national elections by sending the lion's share of mobile registration units to provinces dominated by the ruling party.

The Movement for Democratic Change faction led by MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai cited imbalances in the distribution of voter registration units and charged that this was by design to register more voters in areas controlled by the ruling ZANU-PF party and leave voters unregistered in parts of the country where the MDC is strong.

MDC sources said Mashonaland East with 11 constituencies has been allocated 470 mobile registration centers. Mashonaland West with 10 constituencies was allocated 379 while Mashonaland Central with 10 constituencies was given 335 centers.

All three Mashonaland Provinces are dominated by Zanu PF.

By comparison, Harare-Chitungwiza Province, with 18 constituencies, has been allocated 79 just registration centers, while Masvingo with 14 constituencies has 259 and Manicaland with 16 constituencies has been allocated 264 centers.

The government launched a nationwide mobile registration exercise last month, dispatching units around the country to register new voters or re-register those who had moved, and to provide identity cards to those lacking them.

The opposition says many would-be voters have been unable to register because they lack national identification cards, but that registration teams in certain areas said they could not issue the documents because they did not have film for ID photos.

Elections Secretary Ian Makone of the Tsvangirai opposition faction told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his party is seeking a meeting with Zimbabwean Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede to express its concerns.

Elsewhere, the opposition ZANU Ndonga party said it won’t field a candidate in next year’s presidential election but will throw its support behind Tsvangirai.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare.

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