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Fourth Lawmaker of Zimbabwe's MDC Convicted, Party Charges Political Bias

A member of parliament for Zimbabwe's former Movement for Democratic Change was sentenced to 18 months in prison - six of them suspended - on Thursday after conviction on charges that he committed violence in the turbulent post-election period of 2008.

Magistrate Samuel Zuze pronounced the sentence against Meki Makuyana, 44, member for the Chipinge South constituency of Manicaland province in the House of Assembly.

Makuyana was the fourth MDC lawmaker to be convicted and sentenced this year.

Mutare West MP Shuah Mudiwa was recently handed a seven year sentence for kidnapping.

Chipinge East member Mathias Mlambo got 10 months for committing public violence, and lawmaker Lynette Karenyi of Chimanimani West was found guilty of electoral fraud.

Karenyi, Mudiwa and Mlambo have appealed their convictions, and lawyers for Makuyana are also filing an appeal. The MDC issued a statement calling all the charges “trumped up.”

MDC Manicaland spokesman Pishai Muchauraya told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that such convictions reflect an attempt by the former ruling ZANU-PF party and loyalists in the judiciary to whittle down the MDC's House majority.

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