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Zimbabwe Delays Voter Registration After Cash Fails to Appear

Zimbabwe delayed registering voters before an election expected this year because the Treasury has yet to disburse the required money, Joyce Kazembe, deputy chairwoman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, said.

Registration, which includes a “clean-up” of the list of eligible voters, was expected to begin yesterday and last three months, she said in a telephone interview from Harare today. The formerly opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and political activists have said the list included the names of dead people.

“Those people who are proved to be deceased will be removed during the registration process, while newly eligible voters will be added,” Kazembe said. “Money hasn’t been forthcoming from the Treasury department, so we’re now waiting.”

President Robert Mugabe has said he wants the elections held in March. The Southern African Development Community in 2009 brokered an agreement between Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, creating a unity government following a 2008 election the regional body said was marred by violence. Under the agreement, Zimbabweans must approve a new constitution before presidential and parliamentary elections can be held.

Zimbabwe’s state-controlled Herald last month quoted the ZEC as saying $220 million would be needed to hold the ballot and constitutional referendum.

About 5.5 million Zimbabweans are on the country’s voters’ roll, the Herald reported last month.

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