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Violence Flares Ahead of Zimbabwe Rural Council Elections

Political tensions are rising in a number of Zimbabwe's rural districts before elections late this month for rural district councils, in effect local administrative bodies.

One hot spot is Gokwe South district in the Midlands, where an opposition candidate who is running unopposed saw his house burned down, and a chief loyal to the ruling party is said to have confiscated the plough - in planting season - of another activist in the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai. The owner of the plough was managing the campaign of an opposition candidate.

Local MDC officials said the home of Samson Ncube, running unopposed in Gokwe South, was burned last week. Gokwe police declined to comment on the matter.

The same opposition sources said the man from whom the plough was taken was told by police that they could not take action, and advised to seek relief in the courts.

MDC Provincial Chairman Cephas Zimuti told Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that despite such incidents the opposition intends to defend its gains in the district.

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