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Zimbabwe Election Support Network Empowers Locals Ahead of Polls

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network has launched a program to empower electoral administrators in the country ahead of possible early elections that President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party want held this year, though many believe the polls will only be called next year.

ZESN is working with the Australian Electoral Commission, the International Foundation for Electoral Reforms, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, UNDP and the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division in this capacity-building program.

Last week ZESN held a five-day training workshop in Bulawayo that drew participants from over 30 civic society organizations to deal with electoral issues.

ZESN Director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava told VOA her organization is trying to educate the communities to avoid problems that have been encountered previously in the country.

Chipfunde-Vava said ZESN wants to raise awareness within communities about the electoral process, in particular encouraging and educating people on why it is important for them to vote.

ZESN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations formed to co-ordinate activities pertaining to elections in the country. It's main focus is to promote democratic processes and free and fair elections.