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Zimbabwe Election Monitor Calls For Extension Of Voter Registration

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network issued a report Thursday saying the mobile voter registration exercise now in progress must to be extended and more effectively publicized if all eligible voters are to have enough time to register.

ZESN's preliminary report on the ongoing voter registration exercise documented the challenges many citizens face as they try to register or obtain identity cards and other documents. The organization, which mobilized thousands of election monitors in the 2005 general election, said there has been some interference in the registration process by traditional rural leaders. But it could not confirm reports that the government has deployed police and troops in the voter registration drive.

Internet news service ZimOnline reported that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which runs elections in Zimbabwe, has engaged “hordes of army and police officers” for the registration exercise which is scheduled to end on August 17.

VOA was unable to reach ZEC Chairman George Chiweshe or his spokesman, Sly Gwana, for comment on the findings released by the monitoring group.

ZESN National Director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava told reporter Carole Gombakomba that the findings show the timing and logistics of the registration drive raise many questions as the country prepares for local, general and presidential elections in 2008.

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