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Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Tsvangirai in Solidarity Walk; Party Divided on Senate

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai walked for an hour and 45 minutes on Friday to get from his home in Avondale in the Harare suburbs to the headquarters of his Movement for Democratic Change, to show solidarity with the country’s workers who are regularly commuting on foot due to an acute national shortage of fuel.

Many Zimbabweans living in the lower-income outer suburbs of the capital are walking 40 kilometers a day to get to and from their jobs. In some cases transport is simply not available due to the fuel crisis, and in other cases they can no longer afford it.

Harare is reported to be negotiating with Rand Merchant Bank of South Africa to set up a credit line that will enable it to settle arrears with fuel suppliers in the country and to maintain the flow of gasoline and diesel going forward. The bank reportedly is asking the government to commit export receipts to service the credit line.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Mr. Tsvangirai following his morning walk of around eight kilometers to reach his job.

Other problems faced Mr. Tsvangirai when he arrived at Harvest House in downtown Harare, where the party’s headquarters is located. There are sharp divisions in the MDC over whether to field candidates in the first election for the new senate provided for under constitutional amendments that the opposition party bitterly opposed.

Mr. Tsvangirai said he opposes contesting the senate election, which President Mugabe has said could be held by the end of this year. But Mr. Tsvangirai said his party is democratic and he will respect the decision of those who choose to run.

Party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi explained the debate within the opposition.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...