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Zimbabwe Opposition Activist Dies of Injuries - 2001-12-28

Another opposition political activist has died in Zimbabwe, in continuing political unrest in the country. Authorities are again accusing newspapers in neighboring South Africa of plotting to overthrow the government.

Laban Chiweta died in a Zimbabwe hospital Friday after being beaten on December 6 in what the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, says was an attack by a militia loyal President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

This brings to four the number of MDC officials who have died in political violence in the past week.

Zimbabwe government media in turn accuse the MDC of murdering a guerilla war veteran on Thursday.

Police say no arrests have been made in either of the two deaths.

MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai says the government is carrying out what he calls a campaign of terror and intimidation in the run up to presidential elections in March next year.

Mr. Tsvangirai is opposing Mr. Mugabe in what analysts say is the strongest challenge in the 21 years Mr. Mugabe has been in power.

The MDC also accuses the government of widespread electoral fraud and has brought a court action to stop what it claims is the removal of known opposition supporters from the list of voters.

The Zimbabwe authorities have repeated accusations that newspapers in South Africa are in collusion with British political groups to overthrow the Mugabe government. Foreign minister Stan Mudenge told diplomats on Thursday that a majority of South African newspapers are British owned and are plotting against Zimbabwe.

South African newspapers have been strongly critical of the Zimbabwe government and have called on South African President Thabo Mbeki to act decisively to help end the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.