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Harare Opposition & Civic Groups Forge United 'Save Zimbabwe' Front

Opposition parties and civil society groups, meeting in Harare on Thursday, formally agreed to form a unified front called the Save Zimbabwe Campaign aimed at ending the rule of President Robert Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF party

The meeting was organized by the Christian Alliance, a Bulawayo-based church group that emerged in 2005 to provide humanitarian aid to those displaced in a state eviction and demolition campaign. Sources said representatives of more than 25 civic groups attended and agreed to autonomy while tackling the national crisis together.

Founding President Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change was present, signaling the participation of his faction of the divided opposition party, while the rival faction led by Arthur Mutambara sent an official unknown to most present. A spokesman for the Mutambara MDC faction declined to identify the representative.

The smaller Zanu-Ndonga party was also represented at the meeting, sources said.

Reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe sought details from a key organizer, Jonathan Gokovah of the Christian Alliance, who said operational logistics of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign will be taken up in an action meeting next week. .

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC faction said grouping is pleased with the development and sees it helping the political opposition gain ground.

Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe coordinator Jacob Mafume was upbeat and said that the meeting outcome showed Zimbabweans are ready to confront the government.

British-based political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya expressed confidence that so long as the two MDC factions are genuinely committed to bringing about change, they should be able to work together under the new opposition structure.

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