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Harare Spokesman Denies Passport-Seizure List Drawn Up

A Zimbabwean government spokesman has denied reports authorities have drawn up a list of opposition figures to be barred from foreign travel under new powers given to the government under constitutional amendments passed by parliament.

Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga told reporter Chris Gande of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that no such list of targeted opposition figures exists.

Mr. Matonga said authorities will not seize the passports of individuals deemed to have harmed the national interest by comments made abroad – as provided by one constitutional amendment – until such violations occur.

It was not clear whether President Robert Mugabe had signed the legislation passed by the ruling party using the two-thirds majority it secured in March elections which have been challenged by the opposition alleging voter intimidation and ballot fraud.

It was unclear if enabling legislation is still needed to implement the amendment.

Another amendment essentially nationalized all of the agricultural land in the country, consolidating the land reform which Harare has pursued for the past five years and which, the government’s critics say, has been economically disastrous.

Studio 7 reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele spoke with Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, the country’s leading opposition party, who is considered by many to be one of the primary targets of the new legislation.

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