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Zimbabwe Presidential Candidate Tsvangirai Highlights Urban Poverty

Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Change founding president Morgan Tsvangirai took his campaign for the presidency to the high density suburbs of Harare Thursday, walking the streets of Budiriro, Mufakose, Kambuzuma, Kuwadzana, Dzivarasekwa and Tynwald to focus attention on poverty and misery.

Tsvangirai told reporters later that he had seen "unprecedented levels of poverty, unemployment and hunger," promising to restore the country's battered economy if he defeats President Robert Mugabe and independent Simba Makoni in the election coming up on March 29. A fourth presidential candidate is virtually unknown.

"We've come here to give all these people hope that the change that is coming is one they can trust, one that will make a difference in the face of massive unemployment, hunger and unprecedented poverty we have all witnessed. The bankrupt Mugabe regime has no solutions to offer," Tsvangirai told journalists.

Meanwhile, a top aid to rival presidential candidate Simba Makoni accused the Central Intelligence Organization of sabotaging efforts to launch the campaign of the former finance minister who was cast out of the ruling ZANU-PF party early this month on declaring his candidacy in a direct challenge to President Mugabe.

Makoni spokesman Denford Magora said the organization had intended to launch its campaign in Murehwa and Mutoko in Mashonaland East Province, a ZANU-PF stronghold, but encountered a number of suspicious setbacks.

Magora says service stations that had agreed to provide fuel were being threatened, and the country's Central Vehicle Registry told the campaign it will take two weeks to register their vehicles, because it has run out of number plates – a problem that has been frustrating Zimbabweans doing business with the agency since 2006.

Tsvangirai spokesman George Sibotshiwe told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the MDC founder's impromptu tour of the high-density suburbs or townships was undertaken to highlight the hardships people are experiencing.

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