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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Proposes Cooperation On Violence, But It Continues

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a spokesman for the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe, has proposed that the ruling party and opposition set up a joint panel to look into claims of political violence and see those responsible are prosecuted.

Chinamasa told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that his party is “interested in the truth, whether it hurts us or not,” adding that the Zimbabwean judiciary must deal seriously with such political violence. A number of domestic and foreign observers have accused the government of orchestrating the political violence that has mainly targeted opposition members in rural areas since the March 29 elections.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai said the ruling party has yet to approach the MDC about such cooperation, but he said the MDC was ready to try anything to end the violence which the party says has taken the lives of at least 33 of its members.

Sources in Masvingo Province said police on Wednesday arrested about 50 ZANU-PF militia members in connection with violence, murder and rape in rural areas.

In Mashonaland East, a hotspot since the elections, violence erupted late Wednesday in Rukariro, Uzumba constituency, where the homes of three opposition supporters were said to have been torched. A source in Marondera said ZANU-PF activists from the Svosve communal lands destroyed four homes in Cherima Wednesday night.

Welfare Secretary Kerry Kay of the Tsvangirai MDC formation told Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that her department has been swamped by the needs of victims, but help and encouragement has been forthcoming from all directions.

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