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July 30, 2013

Mugabe Accused of Rigging Zimbabwe Election

by VOA News

Zimbabweans go to the polls for national elections Wednesday with the opposition accusing President Robert Mugabe of trying to rig the vote.

In an opinion article published Tuesday by The Washington Post, Mugabe's main opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, accused the president of attempting to steal the election.

Tsvangirai said officials have made voter registration difficult in his party's strongholds and kept hundreds of thousands of people off the voters roll.

An activist group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, says this year's elections have been less violent than in years past, but expressed concerns about the voters roll and what it called one-sided election coverage by the Mugabe-controlled state media.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it is ready for the vote, and that election materials have been dispatched to all the provinces.

The elections will likely end the fragile power-sharing government set up by Mugabe and Tsvangirai in the wake of the disputed and violent 2008 polls.

The elections got off to a chaotic start two weeks ago, when voting for security agents stretched into a third day, one more than permitted by Zimbabwe's new constitution.

Tsvangirai's MDC party said the number of security forces voting early was inflated by the election commission to rig the count for Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

Mugabe, 89, has ruled Zimbabwe since the country won independence in 1980.