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Zim's Contested Voter Roll A Key Battleground

PADDED out with babies, dead people and phantom voters, Zimbabwe's electoral roll has long been a contentious feature of its elections and is accused of being the rotten core of vote rigging.

The list of voters eligible to cast ballots in elections due on July 30 will be a major focus for foreign observers deployed to the country in an effort to ensure the vote's credibility.

In previous ballots, manipulating the voter roll has been one of the strategies used to fix results.

In 2013, observer group Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network described the voter roll that was the basis of former president Robert Mugabe's final election victory - a 61 percent landslide - as "a systematic effort to disenfranchise" voters.

They estimated that around one million electors had been robbed of their political voice.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over from Mugabe with support from the military last November, has vowed a break with the past - promising an election free of violence, intimidation and fraud.

To allay fears of phantom voters, Zimbabwe has produced a new  register featuring biometric voter data for the first time.

In recent weeks, voters have even been able to inspect and verify their

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