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Zimbabwe Seeks to Relax Voter Registration Requirements

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission met Tuesday with the ministers of justice and co-home affairs in an effort to come up with a statutory instrument to regulate voter registration.

Cabinet this week instructed Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Co-Home Affairs Ministers Theresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi to address problems affecting the on-going mobile voter registration that ends Sunday.

All political parties in the unity government are not satisfied by the exercise. The three ministes are expected to report back to cabinet next week.

Sources privy to the meeting say there are proposals to expand the mobile voter registration exercise to all schools in the country and to allow local government councillors to also write letters confirming people’s addresses so they easily register as voters.

Constitutional law expert and National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku told VOA that the cabinet decision is a welcome development though late.
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Meanwhile, police in Harare sparked a storm Tuesday when they invited political parties to a meeting ostensibly meant promote peace ahead of elections expected later this year.

Officer commanding Harare surbaban, Regis Chitekwe, called the meeting and urged political parties to encourage their members to desist from political violence and hate speech.

Sources privy to the meeting say police officers were reluctant to address issues to do with President Robert Mugabe as other political parties present at the meeting complained that he is being given prefential treatment. Mr. Mugabe opponents complained bitterly that the president can insult and attack his opponents with impunity.

They pointed out that only Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's supporters were being targetted by the police on allegations of denigrating Mr. Mugabe. This alleged bias has led the MDC to press the Southern African Development Community to push Mr. Mugabe to reform the security sector.

Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri has publicly stated that he supports Mr. Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Police spokesman superitendant Paul Nyathi dismissed the claims of bias and told VOA that similar meetings will continue to be called to ensure peace prevails in the country before, during and after the elections.
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