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Zimbabwe Opposition Politician Faces Charges of Organizing Intra-Party Violence

A Zimbabwean parliamentarian aligned with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction led by MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai was arraigned on Tuesday in Harare on charges that he organized a July 2 attack on members of a rival opposition faction that seriously injured another member of parliament.

State prosecutor Savious Kufandada told the magistrate's court that Mubhawu paid Z$15 million to youths affiliated with the MDC Tsvangirai faction to carry out the attack on Harare North parliamentarian Trudy Stevenson. She sustained a serious injury to her head and a broken arm in the attack mounted by about a dozen people.

Mubhawu is the member of parliament for Mabvuku, an outlying district of Harare that has been a stronghold of the MDC, and is dominated by the Tsvangirai faction.

Also injured were Linos Mushonga and Simangele Manyere, local officials of the MDC faction led by former student leader and expatriate businessman Arthur Mutambara.

Mubhawu's lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, dismissed Kufandada's allegation, saying his client was at church in Chitungwiza, 30 kilometers from Harare, the day of the attack.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe filed a report.

Elsewhere, spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Tsvangirai faction said the party would no longer seek permission from police to hold meetings and rallies. He said the police had “abused” advance notice of gatherings to foil opposition organizing efforts, most recently in the provincial towns of Chinhoyi and Kwekwe.

Studio 7 correspondent Loirdham Moyo filed a report from Mutare.

Separately, Tsvangirai's faction raised objections to the selection of former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa as mediator between Zimbabwe and Britain. Chamisa told a VOA reporter that there could be no solution to the national crisis unless the people of Zimbabwe themselves were allowed to shape a new and democratic constitution.

Among civil society organizations, the National Constitutional Assembly said it intends to press its demand for a new constitution with protests Wednesday in Harare, the capital, as well as in Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Gweru.

NCA Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the protests would go ahead despite the fact that Public Order and Security Act prohibits public gatherings of two or more people. He told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his group expected about 1,000 demonstrators to go into the streets in each city.

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