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Zimbabwe Opposition Parties Dispute Report Of Scant Voter Mobilization

Both factions of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change have taken issue with a report from the Zimbabwe Election Support Network saying that they were "barely visibleā€ over the past several weeks in terms of their mobilization of potential voters to register during a recently ended official mobile registration drive.

ZESN said the important registration exercise failed to draw as many people in rural areas and similarly marginalized exurban districts who are likely to find it difficult to obtain transportation permanent registration offices in their districts.

ZESN said only the ruling ZANU-PF was visible to its monitors and even then only in a few districts like rural Masvingo and Kariba, on the northern border with Zambia.

But Elections Director Ian Makone of the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that while his formation agrees with ZESN that the mobile registration exercise was not well conducted, his formation did what it could given logistical challenges and election uncertainties.

Elections Director Paul Themba Nyathi of the rival MDC faction of Arthur Mutambara said his formation is doing its best under difficult conditions to mobilize voters.

The Zimbabwean government has called local elections in January 2008 and general and presidential elections in March 2008. But some have urged the ballots be put off in view of the ongoing crisis talks between the ruling party and opposition, and the logistical challenge of implementing recently legislated electoral changes.

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