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Zimbabwe/Politics II - 2002-03-20


Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been formally charged with treason -- only days after losing a disputed election to President Robert Mugabe.

Mr. Tsvangirai was charged today (Wednesday) at a court in the capital, Harare, in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate President Mugabe. Mr. Tsvangirai -- who faces a possible death sentence -- has strongly denied the allegation. The opposition leader's deputy Welshman Ncube was charged in connection with the alleged plot earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is beginning a three-day strike to protest government treatment of opposition supporters. Observers in Harare report the strike had started slowly, with civil services functioning normally, but activity in the city has been noticeably reduced.

The government had declared the strike call illegal.

On Tuesday, a special Commonwealth task force suspended Zimbabwe from the organization for one year. The 54-member nation group deemed this month's presidential election to be neither free nor fair.

(afp, bbc, prev)

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