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Zimbabweans Find Themselves Facing Mounting Violence At Home And Abroad

After years enduring a seemingly intractable political crisis, Zimbabweans rather than finding resolution and relief in the electoral process are instead facing rising violence at home in the form of politically motivated attacks on those believed to support the opposition, and abroad in South Africa, where millions have emigrated.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says the death toll among members from political violence has reached 48, while South African officials say 42 have died in the past week's mob violence aimed at Zimbabwean and other immigrants.

Political analyst Patrick Rankumise of the Africa Institute in Pretoria, South Africa, tells reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the xenophobic attacks in South Africa reflect frustration with inadequate basic services.

Political commentator McDonald Lewanika, a spokesman for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, argues that South African President Thabo Mbeki’s failure to bring about a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis in years of mediation - most recently on behalf of the Southern African Development Community - has nurtured a regional crisis.

In Zimbabwe, meanwhile, the MDC has hired a South African pathologist to conduct a post-mortem on murdered activist Tonderai Ndira, following a report by his family that officials at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare have banned forensic autopsies. Ndira's body was being held in the Parirenyatwa Hospital morgue.

MDC local councilor Munyaradzi Kufahakutinzwi of Mabvuku, Harare said Ndira was likely to be buried Sunday, but the family wanted to wait for the return to Zimbabwe of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai Tsvangirai to schedule the funeral.

Tsvangirai was due in Harare on Saturday from Johannesburg, where he has been based for weeks while pursuing diplomatic initiatives related to the March 29 elections whose results were long withheld and were ultimately questioned by his party.

MDC activist Injesi Asiti, who escaped abduction at the same time as Mashonaland East provincial treasurer Shepherd Jani, said he still fears for his life.

There has been no sign of Jani since his abduction on Thursday.

Asiti told reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Jani’s abductors were armed and his fellow activists were unable to stop them.

A “chabopa” or hit squad of ZANU-PF youth militia members and war veterans based at Peter Farm in Shamva North constituency, Mashonaland Central Province, was said to be on the rampage, attacking opposition supporters and burning their homes, shops and livestock, as correspondent Sylvia Manika reported.

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