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The Africa Report: 30 July

EWN’s Africa Correspondent Jean-Jacques Cornish reports on the day’s top African news

Protesters demonstrate against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. A number of organisations have expressed concern over the transparency of Zimbabwe's upcoming elections on 31 July. Picture: EWN

NO FINAL VOTER'S ROLL FOR ZANU-PF OPPOSITION - YET

As Zimbabweans prepare to go to the polls to elect a president and parliament on Wednesday, official opposition complained they hadn't received an electronic copy of the final voter's roll.

It is hoped the elections will put an end to the troubled coalition government between veteran leader President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

On Tuesday, 567 CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies spoke to Zimbabwe's Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, David Coltart - a founding member of the official opposition, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Coltart confirmed the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has repeatedly failed to provide them with a voters' roll.

He also expressed concern that the votes cast by security forces have not yet been checked, fueling suspicion that Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is doctoring the voters' roll and ballots.

The role allegedly includes around 1 million dead voters or people who have moved abroad, as well as more than 100,000 people aged over 100 years old.

The ZEC claims the physical copy of the voter's roll will be available to the opposition today.

Tsvangirai is adamant that this is evidence enough of Mugabe's plans to steal yet another election by ensuring that the number of ghost voters are sufficiently greater than the margin seen in the first round of the 2008 elections.

This was followed by attacks on MDC supporters by pro-Mugabe militias, resulting in Tsvangirai pulling out of the presidential race and Mugabe claiming yet another victory.

Anti-conflict organisation International Crisis Group (ICG) has weighed in on the looming election, and said a free and fair vote does not exist.

"It is likely they will be so deeply flawed, or the results so sharply contested, that they will usher in an exacerbated crisis."

"If the vote is deeply flawed, they should declare it illegitimate and press for a re-run after several months of careful preparation, or, if that is not possible, facilitate negotiation of a compromise acceptable to the major parties. Strong diplomacy will be needed to forestall violence if the presidential contest moves to a run-off in conditions like 2008, or, if President Mugabe loses at any stage, to ensure a smooth transition."

TOGO OPPOSITION REJECT THE POLL RESULTS

Togo's main opposition coalition, Let's Save Togo / Collectif Sauvons Le Togo (CST) have rejected Monday's provisional electoral results which have determined the ruling party's continued incumbency.

The results of Thursday's poll ensures Togo's ruling party, Union pour la République (UNIR), led by President Faure Gnassingbe, two-thirds of parliament, more than that of the previous election which was accompanied by violence.

CST has declared the results false and called for a "transparent compilation of the results of public records" as the only acceptable alternative.

The coalition declared UNIR a family dynasty as the Gnassingbe family have been in power since 1967, when Faure's father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema took office until his death in 2005.

Despite the lack of outright violence accompanying Thursday's election, CST has alleged there have unlawful arrests as well as the suspicious outbreak of blazes at targeted markets.

Initially, CST chose to boycott the elections but reconsidered and participated in the race that sees them with a disappointing 19 seats out of the 91 in parliament.

BRITAIN TO DEMAND CASH BONDS FROM HIGH-RISK VISA APPLICANTS FROM FORMER COLONIES

Britain's Home Office - the leading ministerial department on immigration and passports, drugs policy, crime policy and counter-terrorism - has confirmed its intention to demand a £3,000 refundable cash bond for visa applications from "high-risk" visitors from six former colonies.

The six former colonies from Africa and Asia are: Ghana, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

The scheme will see visa applicants that are labelled "high-risk", having to pay up to R35,000 if they want to visit Britain.

The proposal has caused outrage and talks of retaliation have begun.

The announcement could hurt trade between Britain and the relevant countries as affected businesses are predicted to then seek business elsewhere in Europe.

Illustrating Britain's preoccupation with security, the department has defended its offensive campaign slogans such as "Go home or face arrest", claiming this is a way to prevent the influx of illicit immigrants and those using visits to the country for nefarious reasons.

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