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Zimbabwe Primary Elections Flawed On Both Sides Of The Political Divide

Nomination court sittings around Zimbabwe on Friday marked an end to a primary election season that observers say was marred by violence in some instances and by alleged irregularities on both sides of the country's political divide.

Primaries of the ruling ZANU-PF party were punctuated by clashes between rivals for candidacy in a number of cities, leaving at least seven people dead. Some top ruling party officials - including a number of ministers - were toppled by newcomers, but the leadership imposed candidates constituencies including Zvimba, Bindura and Gutu.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai was also in turmoil and although it departed from its previous policy that incumbents would not be challenged, the grouping's leadership nonetheless imposed a number of candidates in Harare constituencies such as Mabvuku-Tafara and Budiriro.

The Arthur Mutambara MDC grouping was also accused of undemocratic practices.

For perspective on the process, reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to Women’s Trust Director Luta Shaba and National Director Alois Chaumba of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, who said attempts to hold democratic primaries were thwarted by party hierarchies.

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