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Zimbabwe to Embark on 30 Day Mobile Voter Registration Blitz

ZImbabwe Elections 2013
The Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) next week embarks on a 30-day ward-based mobile voter registration blizt ahead of crucial polls expected some time this year.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti and ZEC officials confirmed that US$25 million has been secured for the exercise.

Officials from ZEC and the Registrar General’s Office will be dispatched to the country’s 1,958 wards to register interested elligible voters.

Only 200,000 people managed to register as voters in the just-ended exercise that was criticised by all political parties in the unity government. Non-governmental groups charge that voter registration exercises are being hampered by the police barring them from educating the people on the process.

Police in Hwange on Tuesday summoned officials from the Zimbabwe Election Support Network to answer charges of illegally conducting voter education in the province.

Later in the day, police raided the offices of the Legal Resource Fund, a ZESN member organization, and seized hundreds of ZESN posters and flyers meant for distribution in the province.

Police sources said ZESN had conducted voter education from 13 to 17 May without accreditation.

But ZESN has hit back accusing the police of “continued arrest and criminilization of civic society for allegedely conducting voter education without seeking permission from ZEC.”

ZESN called the police actions unconstitutional and urged ZEC to intervene.

The electoral body has since last week been inviting non-civil society organization that want to conduct voter education to register with them.

ZEC vice chairperson Joyce Kazembe could not comment on the developments saying she was travelling to Bulawayo for a meeting with faith-based organizations on voter education.

ZESN director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava told VOA that the programme is crucial as Zimbabwe prepares for elections and if possible must be given more time.
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