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Zimbabwe Opposition Says Dirty Tricks Rife in Thursday's Balloting


A spokesman for Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, says the campaign for parliamentary elections has been plagued by dirty tricks. Nkanyiso Maqeda says, for example, that MDC activists have found a print shop that was turning out thousands of leaflets with the party emblem saying that it was withdrawing from the race.

Also, Mr. Maqeda told English to Africa reporter William Eagle that thousands of teachers involved as poll monitors outside their own districts had late access to absentee ballots and as a result were not able to vote. And, the MDC spokesman says, the ink used for the stamp on voters’ hands is easy to wash away – making it easier for ruling party voters to cheat.

The ruling party has denied any accusation of cheating or vote rigging. Meanwhile, some observers say there has been a marked reduction in violence during this campaign – in contrast to the last parliamentary and presidential races.

MDC spokesman Nkanyiso Mageda also says he has little faith in international observers in reporting the problems. He says many of them have already announced that the elections will be free and fair, while others stay in comfortable hotels in the cities – far away from the more vulnerable rural areas.

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