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Zimbabwe Electoral Officials Bar Scrutiny Of Suspect Mail-In Ballots


Officials of the non-governmental Zimbabwe Election Support Network and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said they have been denied monitoring access to the country's postal balloting system ahead of elections on March 29.

Election Support Network Chairman Noel Kututwa said that although his group has been accredited to observe the elections, it has been denied access to the postal ballot process, which was set in motion late last week.

An estimated 77,000 civil servants, including police officers, soldiers, diplomats and members of the security forces have started to send in postal ballots.

Policy Coordinator Eddie Cross of the MDC formation led by presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai said the party has received reports of police and soldiers voting under supervision and, in one confirmed case, filling out multiple ballots.

Kututwa told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the ZEC is obliged by law to provide observers access to all aspects of the voting process.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe media watchdogs assembled on Monday in Pretoria, South Africa, said there was little chance the elections taking place March 29 will be free and fair, accusing the Harare government of failing to implement regional guidelines.

Correspondent Benedict Nhlapho attended the roundtable and reported.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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