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Zimbabwe Opposition Appeals Magistrate's Decision Nullifying House Election

The formation of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai has appealed a ruling Monday by a Mutare magistrate declaring null and void the March 29 election for parliament in Manicaland province's Chimanimani west constituency.

Magistrate Billard Musakwa ruled that Lynette Karenyi was guilty of forging signatures for her party's nomination, potentially nullifying her election to the house seat. He also imposed a suspended sentence of 20 days and barred her from seeking office for five years.

But officials of the Tsvangirai MDC grouping are calling the decision a politically motivated bid to erode its narrow majority over the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe.

Chief Parliamentary Whip Innocent Gonese of the Tsvangirai MDC wing told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Karenyi remains a member of the house pending the outcome of an appeal lodged in the Harare high court.

Meanwhile, the party said the member of parliament for Chipinge South, Manicaland, and 15 activists were picked up on Wednesday by detectives from the law and order section of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

They said MDC lawmaker Meki Makuyana was taken from his Chiredzi business offices and the others were rounded up separately. It was not immediately clear why they were detained.

But Manicaland province party spokesman Pishai Muchauraya told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that party officials suspect ZANU-PF seeks to cripple the MDC organization in the province in light of the Mutare magistrate’s decision.

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