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Zimbabwe Opposition Alleges State Security Offensive Ahead Of Elections

The branch of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change headed by presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai says police and state security agents have escalated violence and intimidation against their candidates and supporters in the approach to national elections set for the end of this month.

The Tsvangirai formation on Tuesday appealed to Zimbabwe's high court for relief and filed a complaint with the Zimbabwe Election Commission's multi-party liaison committee alleging official harassment of its candidates and supporters.

In a related development Tuesday, a magistrate in Chitungwiza, near Harare, refused to grant bail to the Tsvangirai MDC grouping's candidate for Saint Mary’s, Marvellous Khumalo. He was arrested last week for alleged political violence while campaigning door to door and is to appear in court March 18, 11 days before the elections.

The Tsvangirai opposition formation said it has been receiving reports from all of the country's 10 provinces of mounting violence, intimidation and arrests.

Tsvangirai formation spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the party believes that the continued detention of Khumalo is intended to sabotage the candidate's political campaign.

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