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With Elections Approaching, Harare Gives Village Headmen A Raise

The Zimbabwean government has increased allowances for village headmen from Z$7,000 a month to Z$150,000 (US$0.50) retroactive to the start of 2007.

Critics like Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition Programs Manager Phillip Pasirayi said this gave the appearance of vote-buying as the amounts exceed some worker salaries.

The country is headed for local elections in January of next year with presidential and parliamentary elections in March 2008. The ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe has traditionally dominated rural constituencies which are subject to the influence - and at times intimidation - of traditional village leaders.

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