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Zimbabwe Opposition Coalition Vows Further Peaceful Prayer Meetings

A spokesman for the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, an umbrella for opposition religious, civic and political organizations, said Monday the group was it held a prayer meeting on Saturday in Bulawayo without any violence or clashes with the police.

Police initially banned the meeting but later agreed to let it go ahead on condition that no political leaders address the gathering. But opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction leader Arthur Mutambara ultimately spoke to the gathering, though restricting his comments to nonpolitical aspects of the national crisis.

A prayer meeting called on March 11 by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign in the Harare suburb of Highfield led to a confrontation in which an activist was shot dead.

Reverend Morris Nduri of Malawi also addressed the meeting, urging Zimbabweans to cast away their fears and stand up against President Robert Mugabe.

Pastor Ray Motsi of the Christian Alliance told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that in future his group will try not to mix religion and politics - while leaving the door open to speakers who offer solutions to the country's long-running political and increasingly severe economic crisis.

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