The outcome of Zimbabwe's rural district council elections Saturday is unlikely to be a surprise, according to analysts who say the playing field as in other elections has not been level and cite irregularities that worked to the benefit of the ruling party.
While ZANU-PF has fielded candidates in practically all 1,344 rural wards, opposition parties including both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change, the United People's Party, ZANU-Ndonga and other smaller groups are also contesting.
Some analysts question whether the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai should have contested the rural polls at all, considering its decision not to enter the senate elections in 2005, leading to a split in the party that continues today. Further, some analysts questioned why the array of contestants from different parties didn't form a united front against the ruling party to secure an electoral victory.
Reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked two analysts for their take on the elections. Ernest Mudzengi directs the National Constitutional Assembly, and Glenn Mapani is studying governance at Cape Town University.
Mapani led off the discussion by saying that he saw some fundamental problems with the rural council elections election which were likely to skew the results.