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Zimbabwe Opposition Cries Foul As Wife Of Parliamentarian Interrogated


The Zimbabwean government is keeping up pressure on members of parliament of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai, which secured the position of house speaker when parliament reconvened last month, MDC sources said.

MDC officials said the wife of Epworth member Eliah Jembere was detained by police and interrogated for seven hours on Monday.

They said Judith Jembere was picked up early in the morning and released only after attorney Alec Muchadehama, a lawyer for the party, intervened.

Eliah Jembere was arrested on charges of rape just before he was to be sworn in on August 25.

Two other members - Pearson Mungofa of Harare's Highfield East constituency and Bednoc Nyaunde of Bindura South, Mashonaland Central province, also remained in police custody after the state opposed their being granted bail last week. Mungofa is charged with causing public violence, Nyaunde with causing disaffection among the military.

Parliamentarian Mathew Mlambo of Chipinge South, Manicaland province, charged with public violence, was granted bail two weeks ago. The fifth MDC lawmaker, Trevor Sarukuwa of Mutasa Central, Manicaland, was released on bail Monday.

MDC lawyer Muchadehama told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Monday's detention of Judith Jembere was intended to boost pressure on Jembere and the other MDC members facing charges, and the MDC in general.

In other political developments, the MDC formation led by Arthur Mutambara has joined forces with independent parliamentarian Jonathan Moyo to petition the high court to set aside the election of Tsvangirai MDC Chairman Lovemore Moyo as house speaker, saying the August 25 ballot was not carried out in secret as required by the law.

Sources said the petition to the high court was made in Moyo's name, but that the Mutambara formation had collaborated closely in its preparation.

Sources said top Mutambara-formation officials met with Moyo for two days in Kadoma recently and resolved to back President Mugabe if he introduces a supplementary budget.

But eight of the Mutambara formation’s 10 members of parliament are said to be disenchanted with the party leadership’s close relations with the long-ruling ZANU-PF party. Mutambara in an interview dismissed reports of friction in his formation.

Jonathan Moyo said in an interview that he happened to be booked into the hotel where the formation’s meeting took place. But formation sources said he was invited.

Mutambara formation spokesman Edwin Mushoriwa denied in an intervie with reporter Blessing Zulu that the formation brought the high court action, but confirmed it would back a supplementary budget if it is submitted for the right reasons

Chief Whip Innocent Gonese of the Tsvangirai formation dismissed the petition by the Mutambara formation as “sour grapes” following the election of the speaker - the rival formation's candidate, Paul Themba Nyathi, backed by ZANU-PF, was defeated.

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

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