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Zimbabwe Police Clear Legislator's Graduation Party But Restrict Speech

Police in the Kuwadzana suburb of Harare have given spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the opposition faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai permission to hold a graduation party on Saturday in the constituency he represents in parliament - on condition no one mentions the name of President Robert Mugabe or makes political statements.

Ironically, Chamisa was passed as a graduate last month by Mr. Mugabe, university chancellor ex officio, taking a degree in political and administrative studies.

Besides graduating from the University of Zimbabwe this year, Chamisa spent time in the hospital after being set upon by suspected state agents wielding iron bars at the Harare airport as he attempted to leave for a conference of lawmakers in Europe.

Police initially refused permission for the party, citing the Public Order and Security Act which was amended just this past week by parliament though the legislation has yet to be signed by President Mugabe. The much-criticized Public Order and Security Act requires those holding a gathering of more than four to seek police permission.

Chamisa aid his gathering was not a rally, so police permission wasn't needed.

He told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that although he obtained police authorization he would not comply with the conditions infringing on his freedom of speech.

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