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Aide To Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Tsvangirai Dies Of March Injuries


Officials of the faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai said Thursday his personal aide, Nhamo Musekiwa, died from injuries sustained in March during a crackdown by the government.

Sources said Musekiwa died at Tembisa Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa said Musekiwa had been vomiting blood since March 11, when he is alleged to have been severely beaten by police along with other opposition officials and members including Tsvangirai himself. That day police halted a prayer meeting and in the ensuing confrontation one MDC activist was shot dead.

That confrontation, the arrest of Tsvangirai and other MDC officials, and video which strongly suggested Tsvangirai had been severely beaten while in custody from March 11 to March 13, stirred international outrage and prompted the Southern African Development Community to call a special summit, leading to crisis talks.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported.

The Tsvangirai MDC faction meanwhile, reported that three of its members were abducted in Chipinge South, Manicaland, by suspected activists of the ruling party.

MDC Manicaland spokesman Pishayi Muchauraya said the three supporters, Chipinge South Chairman Leonard Makusha, his assistant, Philip Munopera, and Elections Director George Makuyana, were being held at a police post that is located at the place of business of ruling party lawmaker Enock Porusingazi.

In the Makoni East constituency of Manicaland, MDC Councilor Loveness Makaure was summoned to the traditional court of chief John Rukweza Tuesday after being found putting up posters announcing a rally Friday at a local business center.

But Makaure refused to appear and the party said the rally would go ahead.

Manicaland spokesman Muchauraya told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that Wednesday's meeting between Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and Tsvangirai faction leaders did not seem likely to do much to stop harassment of opposition members by ruling party militants, police and agents of the Central Intelligence Organization.

Elsewhere, Tsvangirai met today with civic leaders who expressed their concerns over legislation to amend the constitution, which awaits the signature of the President, and the crisis talks being mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Civic groups had resolved to pursue talks with all political parties including the ruling ZANU-PF to voice concerns and ask to be informed of developments in the talks.

Taking part in the meeting with Tsvangirai were representatives of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, the National Constitutional Assembly, the Christian Alliance, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, the Zimbabwe National Students Union and the National Association of Non-governmental Organizations, sources said.

Civil society representatives are scheduled to meet next week with officials of the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Arthur Mutambara. ZANU-PF officials have yet to respond to their request for a consultation, civic sources said.

National Constitutional Assembly spokesman Madock Chivasa, who took part in the meeting with Tsvangirai, told reporter Patience Rusere that non-governmental organizations and the MDC faction agreed to cooperate more closely.

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