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The Treason Trial Of Zimbabwe's Morgan Tsvangirai Is Scheduled To Open Monday - 2003-01-31

In Zimbabwe, the treason trial of the leader of the opposition movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, his Secretary General, Welshman Ncube, and the party's shadow minister of agriculture, Renson Gasela is scheduled to open in the high court on Monday, February 3rd.

The trial of Morgan Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela is generating a lot of interest in Zimbabwe.

The three leaders were implicated by former Israel secret agent Ari Ben-Menashe, who is now working for the Canadian political consultancy firm, Dickens & Madson.

The MDC says it has secured the services of one of South Africa’s most distinguished lawyer's George Bizos. Mr. Bizos represented Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress in a number of high profile cases over the years. He also represented the families of South African activists Steve Biko, Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu and Winnie Madizikela Mandela on 20 occasions.

Mr. Tsvangirai told Studio 7 today that he was not worried by the trial. He says despite the trial he is ready to lead the people of Zimbabwe until victory is certain.

Mr. Tsvangirai has been on a meet the people tour urging his supporters not to settle for poverty but to demand their freedom. He has been to fuel queues in the capital Harare and today he was in his stronghold of Chitungwiza. People interviewed in the street told Studio 7 they will follow the trial right up to the end and hope justice will prevail.

The government says it has audiotapes of Mr. Tsvangirai making plans at the Canadian consulting firm to have President Mugabe assassinated. But one of Tsvangirai's lawyers Innocent Chagonda, says that audio tapes are inaudible. It still remains unclear whether the main witness Mr. Ben-Menashe will come to Harare to testify.