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Zimbabwe President Mugabe Appeals Against Decision Forcing Crucial By-Elections

Harare police late this week gave the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai clearance to hold a rally in Chitungwiza on Sunday, following his protest of recent rally bans

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has launched appeals in the High Court and the Supreme Court seeking to nullify a High Court ruling last month giving him 14 days to set dates for by-elections for vacant House seats in Bulilima, Nkayi and Lupane, all constituencies in the country's western Matabeleland region.

Mr. Mugabe and others in the unity government have been reluctant to hold by-elections which might destabilize power-sharing. No by-elections have been held since 2009. There are currently 19 seats to be filled in the House of Assembly and Senate.

The Office of the Attorney General said the High Court judge who issued the latest ruling erred as as Mr. Mugabe cannot be compelled to call by-elections.

Former Nkayi lawmaker Abednico Bhebhe, one of those who brought the suit demanding the by-elections, told VOA's Blessing Zulu his lawyers are filing opposing papers.

Elsewhere, Harare police have given Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change formation clearance to hold a rally in Chitungwiza on Sunday.

Sources said the police move came after the prime minister protested to President Mugabe signaling his intention to appeal to the Southern African Development Community after rallies in Matabeleland North were prohibited last weekend.

Political analyst Trevor Maisiri said ZANU-PF is torn by in-fighting and reluctant to see Prime Minister Tsvangirai gaining electoral traction in the presidential race.

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