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Zimbabwe Minister Denies Government Obstructing Opposition Rallies

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi denied having told a news organization that the government is blocking rallies by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in the runup to rural district council elections later this month to keep it from mobilizing Zimbabweans for mass protests against President Robert Mugabe's rule.

The South African-based Web news agency ZimOnline quoted Mohadi as saying he is "in touch" with Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri to keep the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai from holding meetings if it urges people to go into the streets.

Mohadi told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the government has never blocked or interfered with opposition rallies.

But secretary general Tendai Biti of the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai said two out of every 10 applications for rallies his grouping files are turned down.

More reports From VOA's Studio Seven For Zimbabwe...