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Zimbabwe Opposition Debates Senate Poll Participation

Discussions within Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change to date show a leaning among supporters against taking part in elections for the senate which is being reinstituted under a constitutional amendment rammed through parliament by the ruling ZANU-PF party, MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai said Monday.

Members of the MDC’s youth wing agreed in a weekend meeting that the party should not field candidates in the senate which a senior government official has said are to be held in December, opposition youth affairs chairman Nelson Chamisa told VOA.

MDC youth and others opposed to seeking senate seats say that participation would in effect endorse the ruling ZANU-PF party’s patchwork constitutional changes. Such opposition members also argue that taking part would legitimize what they allege to have been systematic election rigging on the part of the party in government.

But MDC Secretary General Welshman Ncube told the Standard newspaper that the party should enter the ballot because its National Council made a commitment in the runup to the March 31 general election, to participate in future elections.

Mr. Ncube and others of his opinion add that boycotting the senate elections will mean surrendering the democratic space to President Robert Mugabe's ruling party.

Reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked Mr. Tsvangirai about the ongoing debate inside the country’s main opposition party.

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