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Tsvangirai's Mashonaland West Rallies Hang in Balance Due to Intimidation

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai addressing supporters. File Photo.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change, says he’s being blocked from holding rallies in President Robert Mugabe’s province of Mashonaland West with supporters being sent death threats to scare them from attending.

Activists from Mr. Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF are said to be in the forefront intimidating the opposition supporters with the police telling the opposition party they cannot hold four rallies they were planning to have in the province, including one in president Mugabe’s rural backyard.

Tsvangirai was expected to address four rallies in the province next week but the plans are hanging in the balance due to the alleged threats.

The MDC’s provincial chairman for Mashonaland West, Wilson Makanyaire, told VOA the police, who have outlawed the rallies, are also not responding to the party’s request for help regarding the threats and intimidation.

“Our strategy is to invite traditional leaders into our meetings where now Zanu PF is panicking and even threatening villagers who want to come to our meeting. Our supporters are receiving death threats and being intimidated," he said.

Makanyaire said the MDC-T is pushing to hold the rallies regardless of whether or not the police give them the green light.

"The area we are having most of the problem is Zvimba which Mugabe believes he owns," said Makanyaire.

Campaigning before the 2013 elections First Lady Grace Mugabe warned the MDC that it should not dare enter Zvimba because it was the home of President Mugabe.

However, Makanyaire said they were not going to be intimidated by threats of any nature because people were tired of Zanu PF.

He said: "The MDC-T refused to be pushed over, that time is long gone. We will go ahead even in the absence of the police clearance."

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