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Zimbabwe Opposition Launches Fund For Victims Of Political Violence

Zimbabwean opposition leader and presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai spoke out on Tuesday against the political violence which he said has cost the lives of more than 50 supporters of his Movement for Democratic Change, and announced the launch of a fund to assist those who have been affected by such violence.

Harare correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported that Tsvangirai said his party has already raised Z$150 trillion dollars, about US$300,000 at the informal market exchange rate, and seeks further donations.

Tsvangirai promised that funds would go only to the intended beneficiaries, and that the fund would be administered by church and civil society representatives.

Violence continued, meanwhile, in Buhera West constituency of Manicaland province. Sources there said war veterans beat an MDC driver in Murambinda, accusing him of transporting the victims of violence from Murambinda Hospital. They later handed him over police in Murabinda. His whereabouts and condition were not known.

In Mashonaland East province, sources said the campaign manager for Ian Kay, who ran unsuccessfully for the Marondera house seat in March, was abducted on Monday night from her home, severely beaten, and released early Tuesday.

Another opposition member abducted in Marondera on Monday turned up Tuesday badly beaten. But another activist taken at the same time remained missing.

Elsewhere, Health Minister David Parirenyatwa vehemently denied involvement in violence in Murehwa, Mashonaland East province. VOA reported on April 23 that the Murehwa Community Development Trust accused Dr. Parirenyatwa and newly elected Murehwa senator Bright Makunde of involvement in the coercion of local residents by armed militia and war veterans to attend ZANU-PF political meetings.

Dr. Parirenyatwa contacted VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe on Tuesday and insisted the allegations were not true, telling reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that he is among those who have been advocating against resorting to political violence.

Bulawayo correspondent Netsai Mlilo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reports that the political violence in rural areas is straining family ties by making it difficult and possibly dangerous for city dwellers to reconnect with their rural places of origin - known as their kumusha in Shona or ekhaya in the Ndebele indigenous language.

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