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Zimbabwe Opposition Says It Has Given Minister Documentation On Violence

The Zimbabwean opposition on Tuesday accused Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi of ‘’politicking” in connection with statements published in the state-controlled Herald paper to the effect that the Movement for Democratic Change has ignored his requests for information on alleged violence against its supporters.

The Herald quoted Mohadi as saying his ministry wrote twice to the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai asking for evidence to back its allegations of violence, without receiving a response. He said that if the government does not get a response it will assume the charges the opposition has lodged in recent months are “mere lies.”

Mohadi in October challenged the opposition to come up with evidence to back up its charges that its supporters were being targeted by political violence.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai formation told reporter Patience Rusere that the party submitted the evidence Mohadi had requested in the form of a dossier, including pictures, during the initial meeting with Mohadi in October.

Elsewhere, the rival MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara, responding to an overture by the Tsvangirai grouping, said it is also prepared to unite with democratic forces across the board to unseat President Robert Mugabe in next year’s elections.

The Tsvangirai formation said Monday it plans to invite other opposition parties and civil society groups to join forces with it. The Mutambara grouping said it is ready to relaunch talks on patching up the split in the party which dates from 2005, when the factions divided over whether or not to contest elections for a new senate.

However, Mutambara formation spokesman Gabriel Chaibva told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it is unfortunate the Tsvangirai grouping floated the proposal in the press instead of putting it directly.

In another internal opposition development, former chairwoman Lucia Matibenga of the women's assembly of the Tsvangirai faction said that despite an adverse ruling Sunday by the formation's national council, she is continuing with her work in the provinces on the premise that she remains the assembly's legitimate leader.

Matibenga told reporter Carole Gombakomba that she has not been officially informed of the council’s decision to leave Theresa Makone in place as interim assembly head, but found the decision disturbing given objections by a majority of councilors.

Makone, who is now to hold the seat until three months after the next elections, which in effect means at least six months, said she is embracing the council’s decision, looking ahead and does not intend to "waste time" on squabbling.

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