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Not Only Zimbabwe Opposition Concerned About Tight March Election Timetable

Not only Zimbabwe's opposition but senior provincial officials of the ruling party have suggested that national elections ought to be pushed off beyond March in spite of the government’s insistence that they must be held at that time.

Provincial chairpersons of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front of President Robert Mugabe have told party brass that the present schedule calling for March elections leaves little time to choose candidates and organize campaigns.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quotes ZANU-PF Secretary for the Commissariat Elliot Manyika as acknowledging that provincial party leaders indicated that they needed more time to mount effective political campaigns.

The opposition says the elections must be postponed until South African-mediated crisis talks are completed and the resulting accords have been implemented.

ZANU-PF Deputy Commissar Richard Ndlovu told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the ruling party is geared up for the elections and will start holding "consensus" primaries beginning January 18.

Despite the concerns expressed by some ZANU-PF officials, they are not likely to challenge Mr. Mugabe over the election date, political analyst and University of Zimbabwe Professor John Makumbe told reporter Carole Gombakomba.

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