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group begins voter education in rural areas
Simplisio Chirinda, ZimOnline
October 11, 2007
HARARE - A Zimbabwean
political pressure group says it has begun an exercise to educate
and enlighten voters in rural areas that are the backbone of support
for President Robert Mugabe and his government.
in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) says the campaign that began last
weekend in the eastern Mtoko rural district will make use of music
and other forms of pop culture to raise awareness among villagers
and the youths on issues related to voting and elections.
CZC is a coalition of
human and civic rights groups, churches, women's groups, the labour
and the student movements campaigning for a democratic settlement
to Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.
Jacob Mafume said: "It is essentially an exercise to look
for alternative forms of communication to raise awareness on election
"We want to use
music, dance and street comic to teach people on how they can go
about it in elections but the ultimate goal is to make sure that
the rural electorate knows their rights when it comes to voting."
have traditionally voted for Mugabe and ZANU PF and are expected
to do so again in presidential and parliamentary elections next
year despite a worsening economic crisis and food shortages gripping
ZANU PF attributes support
from rural voters to what it says are its pro-poor policies and
a long association with the villagers who backed its guerrillas
during the 1970s war of Zimbabwe's independence. However,
some analysts say the ruling party has also largely benefited from
some rural voters' ignorance about their rights.
Mafume said CZC campaign
was aimed at educating voters about their rights only and not canvassing
for support for any political party.
He added that a diverse
crowd of people attended the music concert at Mtoko which he described
as a "pilot project" to see how the group could inform
and educate voters ahead of next year's polls.
The Harare administration
has in the past accused civic groups such as the CZC of using voter
education as a pretext to campaign for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party.
However, a law passed
by Parliament that would have made it illegal for civic groups to
carry out voter education never made it into the statute books after
Mugabe withheld ascension.
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