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Zimbabwe Opposition Urges Minister To Issue Non-Violence Orders

The faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change led Morgan Tsvangirai, summoned by Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi over allegations that its members have been the victims of police violence, says that before the meeting Mohadi should order provincial police to stop harassing opposition members.

Faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the MDC was not setting a condition for the meeting, which has been set for Wednesday, but requesting that the minister show that the government is serious about stopping political violence.

VOA could not reach Mohadi, who summoned Tsvangirai and other officials saying he wanted them to substantiate their charges, issued in a news conference last week, that members have been killed or injured by state-sponsored political violence.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, an assistant commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, said the opposition had cooked up the figures for political gain.

Chamisa, confirming that a delegation of the MDC faction will meet with Mohadi, told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the government’s intentions are not clear but that the party will give authorities a chance.

Though Southern African leaders headed by South African President Thabo Mbeki have urged the Harare government to investigate and halt alleged official violence, unlawful arrests and intimidation of opposition and human rights activists appeared to continue this week. In the Mashonaland Central town of Bindura, authorities arrested 15 MDC members on Sunday for attending a party youth forum, sources said.

Thamsanqa Mahlangu, an MDC provincial youth chairman, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the youths arrested in Bindura were beaten by liberation war veterans before being handed over to the police.

Also in Mashonaland Central, ruling party militants evicted five opposition members from Ruwanga Farm, citing their political affiliation, MDC sources said.

The Tsvangirai faction wrote to Southern African Development Community leaders last week threatening to quit the talks Mr. Mbeki is mediating if the violence in Zimbabwe did not stop. SADC leaders urged Harare to take action to save the talks.

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