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Zimbabwe Opposition's Tsvangirai Faction Overhauls Troubled District

The Zimbabwe opposition faction led by Movement for Democratic Change founding president Morgan Tsvangirai has taken steps to rebuild its organization in the Harare district of Mabvuku, whose former leader was dismissed from his post there after he embarrassed the party by coming out against domestic violence legislation.

The Tsvangirai faction named former Harare city councillor Falls Nhari of Mabvuku to head up an interim committee for the party in the troubled district, also the scene of an attack on a rival MDC faction leader in July which left her seriously injured. Ousted district leader Timothy Mubhawu fell under suspicion in that political violence.

Mubhawu stirred the ire of MDC women and faction leaders recently when he said in parliamentary debate on legislation to toughen penalties for domestic violence that establishing women as the equals of men ran against God's will. That provoked a demonstration by opposition women and disciplinary action by the faction, which dismissed Mubhawu as Mabvuku leader and dissolved the local organization.

Elections for a permanent committee will be held in two months, Tsvangirai faction officials said. Some Mabvuku party members complained that there was no local consultation in the three Mabvuku wards before the interim panel was named.

But Harare province chairman Morgan Femai told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the process adhered to the party's constitution.

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