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Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Extends Mobile Registration Exercise

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said Friday that it plans to relaunch the mobile registration program that ended August 17 in certain areas where it has decided that the exercise was “not satisfactorily conducted” because of logistical hitches.

The commission said it came to the decision after reviewing reports from teams deployed to oversee the mobile registration drive - important for Zimbabweans living in remote rural areas - and consulting political parties and others.

The statement did not identify the areas that would see further mobile registration.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network – among others including both factions of the divided opposition Movement for Democratic Change - registered dissatisfaction with the operation. ZESN officials said logistical problems prevented many citizens from registering to vote or obtaining key documents such as national identity cards.

ZESN Acting Director Denford Beremauro told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that although his organization welcomed the commission's move, it remains concerned that logistics could hinder voter registration.

Deputy Secretary General Priscilla Misiharambwi-Mushonga of the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Arthur Mutambara said the issues her formation raised with the election commission went beyond the mobile exercise.

The electoral commission pledged to launch a massive public education campaign on the importance of the mobile registration exercise, noting as well that the process of registration continues full time in district offices of the registrar general.

Elections Director Ian Makone of the MDC faction of Morgan Tsvangirai said that his formation was not satisfied with the electoral commission's statement, which did not provide details on how and when the new mobile drive will be conducted.

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