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Harare, Zimbabwe - Scores of independent Zimbabwean civic, pro-democracy and rights groups say they will boycott monitoring of voting in a referendum on a new constitution Saturday unless the state election commission withdraws bans on activists that affect several key local organizations.
The commission has so far refused to accredit as poll monitors members of the Zimbabwe Association of Human Rights and says groups under police investigation will also be barred access to the March 16 polling.
At least four leading rights groups have been raided by police searching for alleged subversive materials this year. None has been convicted of any wrongdoing.
The Crisis Coalition, with about 300 affiliate member groups, said Tuesday many will withdraw from “the observation process” if the election commission does not reverse its “ludicrous stance” by late Wednesday. - Sapa-AP