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Zimbabwe Politician Confesses to Killing His Wife - 2002-07-21

Learnmore Jongwe, a member of Zimbabwe's parliament and a key spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, handed himself over to police Sunday and confessed to the fatal stabbing of his wife.

Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the Movement for Democratic Change, the MDC, has expressed sorrow at the death of Mr. Jongwe's wife, Rutendo.

Mr. Tsvangirai said the party condemned all forms of violence, whether domestic or public. He said he hoped the police would take appropriate action to ensure justice was done.

Mr. Jongwe, a lawyer by training, left Harare on Friday after stabbing his wife of a few months, and went to the rural areas where his family lives. He told his lawyer by telephone that he would turn himself in to the police.

He arrived with his lawyer at Harare's central police station, and made a statement admitting he stabbed his wife, whom he accused of being unfaithful.

Mr. Jongwe's lawyer said police were surprised when they arrived at the police station, and added that his client was both remorseful and disturbed. He said Mr. Jongwe would spend the night in prison and would be taken to court to face charges on Monday.

He said that since Mr. Jongwe had surrendered voluntarily to the police he hoped his client would be granted bail.

Learnmore Jongwe, 25, became the best known face of the Movement for Democratic Change during the run-up to Zimbabwe's presidential elections in March. In front of the media he was a forceful critic of ruling party violence against his own party