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Election Monitor Urges Zimbabwe To Relaunch Voter Registration Drive

A spokesman for the Zimbabwe Election Support Network said Monday that the civic group has urged the registrar general to re-launch mobile voter registration.

A ZESN report alleged irregularities in the registration exercise that ended August 17, saying these must be addressed for next year’s elections to be free and fair.

ZESN said organizers failed to sufficiently publicize mobile registration, leading to poor turnout, while the operation's success was also undermined by insufficient funding, unqualified personnel and corruption among traditional leaders.

The election monitoring group said only 80,000 people were registered, adding that a large number of people displaced by the government's 2005 slum clearance campaign known as Operation Murambatsvina were not served by the mobile registrars.

ZESN said it had received no reports of violence or intimidation during the exercise - but noted that members of the police, the Central Intelligence Organization and the prison service were involved in the registration process. The five-page report noted the presence of such authorities at Gumbeze Primary School in Mount Darwin.

But ZESN faulted the political opposition for not mobilizing its supporters to register.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network Monitoring Officer Denford Beremauro told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the country is poorly prepared to hold proper and professional elections in early 2008 as planned.

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