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Zimbabwe MDC's Bennett Charges Intimidation Campaign by State Security

The formation of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is holding internal consultations on how to respond to what it says are continuing threats and violence against its leadership and membership, especially in rural areas.

MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett, a member of the Senate and tipped to become deputy minister of agriculture though President Robert Mugabe has so far declined to swear him in, told VOA that he was recently threatened by unknown parties suspected of being state agents.

The former commercial farmer told reporter Sandra Nyaira of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that three armed men in a white pick-up truck visited a plot of land he has rented outside Harare and threatened to shoot his employees when they were denied access.

Bennett said the armed men claimed to be from the president’s office but did not present identity cards. They left after being confronted by Bennett’s son, he said.

The MDC said it considers this incident to be an attempt on Bennett's life. The incident followed Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s receipt in late July of a bullet in his mail.

Meanwhile, some 15 MDC parliamentarians face criminal charges which could lead to their losing their seats. Five have already been convicted, some of them sentenced.

The party alleges that state prosecutors and members of the judiciary under ZANU-PF sway have brought trumped up charges against MDC members of parliament in the aim of whittling down the former opposition party's majority in the House of Assembly.

Elsewhere, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, head of a rival MDC formation, told the Commercial Farmers Union Wednesday that the two parties had not been able to stop abuses of power by ZANU-PF and the President. He charged that ZANU-PF has put up massive resistance to MDC efforts to bring about positive change.

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