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Zimbabwe Authorities to Probe Opposition Funding

Zimbabwean authorities are assembling a team of police investigators and agents from the Central Intelligence Organization to inspect the finances of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, based on allegations launched by a disgruntled MDC member of parliament that the party has received foreign financing.

Amidst deep divisions this week within the MDC over whether to field candidates in the upcoming senate election or boycott the ballot, parliamentarian Job Sikhala charged in interviews with two state-controlled newspapers that the opposition had received some $2.5 million from Nigeria, Ghana and Taiwan.

Senior MDC officials have dismissed the charges as a fabrication, and Nigeria and Ghana have denied funding the party.

But a police source speaking on condition of anonymity told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that authorities were taking the matter seriously and intended to target the MDC’s top six officials in their investigation.

That would include MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been urging members of the party to boycott the Nov. 26 senate election, and Secretary General Welshman Ncube, the leader of a faction which fielded candidates in 26 of 50 constitutuencies.

Mr. Sikhala alleged this week that the split in the country’s main opposition party was not about the elections but about control of the alleged foreign funding.

Reporter Zulu sought the perspective of British-based human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga about the hue and cry over the alleged funding from abroad.

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