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His Rallies Blocked, Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Courts Voters One At A Time

  • Netsai Mlilo
  • Martin Ngwenya

Zimbabwean opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, constrained in his campaigning options by police obstruction of rallies, staged a walkabout in the second city of Bulawayo on Monday as he did in Hwange and Victoria falls this weekend.

Officials in those two cities blocked rallies by the founder of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change by closing off access to the planned rally venues.

From Bulawayo, correspondent Netsai Mlilo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported on Tsvangirai's visit on foot to a number of Bulawayo districts and suburbs.

Tsvangirai told reporter Blessing Zulu after his campaign on foot in Bulawayo that he was energized by the enthusiastic response from the voters he met.

In Harare, meanwhile, rival MDC formation chief Arthur Mutambara was expected in court Tuesday for arraignment on charges arising from the publication in April by the Standard newspaper of an article he wrote blasting President Robert Mugabe.

Police arrested Mutambara on Sunday at his home in Marlborough, Harare. Sources said he was being held at the Matapi police station in Harare's Mbare section.

Also in custody on Monday was parliamentarian-elect Eric Matinenga of the Buhera West constituency in eastern Manicaland province, arrested Saturday for allegedly inciting violence. He was headed for Mutare magistrate’s courts today.

Mutambara’s lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, told reporter Patience Rusere that not only was his client being held without cause, but the place of his detention was inappropriate as the Matapi police station has been condemned as unfit for human habitation.

National Constitutional Assembly Director Earnest Mudzengi said Mutambara’s arrest looked like an afterthought, as the editor of the Standard, Davidson Maruziva, was arrested last month for publishing the offending article.

From Botswana, correspondent Martin Ngwenya reported that some Zimbabweans who fled political violence say they’re ready to go back home to vote in the presidential election run-off set for June 27, as many of them are finding life tough in Botswana and are determined to try to bring about change through the ballot box.

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