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Opposition Lawmaker Arrested Again in Zimbabwe - 2003-01-04


In Zimbabwe, an opposition member of parliament has been jailed for allegedly urging motorists to show their dissatisfaction with President Mugabe's government by blowing their automobile horn.

The legislator under arrest is Abednico Bhebe, who is the Movement for Democratic Change's member of parliament for Nkayi, southwest of Harare. He was arrested in Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo for allegedly putting up posters telling drivers to send a message to the government by honking their horns. The posters told the drivers to "hoot enough is enough."

A statement issued by the Movement for Democratic Change said Mr. Bhebe was arrested together with Ferdinand Dropper, a senior party member.

Mr. Bhebe's lawyer says the police want to charge the two MDC members under a section of the Public Order and Security Act that says it is an offense to possess or display material likely to incite violence. The lawyer says Mr. Bhebe denies putting up the posters. He is expected to appear in court on Monday.

The arrest is not the MDC legislator's first run-in with the law. He was jailed shortly before presidential elections last March after he and a group of his party members were attacked by people he claimed were supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party.

During the attack, the legislator said he was struck on the back of the head with an axe. He says he was only able to get medical attention after he was released from jail, five days later.

Mr. Bhebe says the police arrested him and his followers but allowed his attackers to go free.

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