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Official from Tsvangirai's party detained

19 October 2012, 11:40

Harare - Zimbabwe police on Thursday detained an official from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party on public violence charges, his party said.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said in a statement that Julius Magarangoma, the party's chairperson in the eastern Manicaland Province, was arrested by law and order detectives on what the party called "false charges of public violence" linked to an incident in 2010.

The incident came just over a week after a senior MDC member and energy minister Elton Mangoma was arrested and briefly detained for allegedly undermining veteran President Robert Mugabe in a speech at a rally six months ago.

Police were not available for comment.

"The MDC condemns the continued harassment, intimidation and arrests of its officials, members and supporters," said the party in the statement.

The arrests "are nothing but efforts by some dark forces in [Mugabe's] Zanu-PF and state security agents now in panic mode ahead of the referendum", it added.

Zimbabwe will hold a referendum soon on a draft constitution to pave the way for new elections.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe formed a power-sharing government in 2009 to avoid a tip into full-fledged conflict after a bloody presidential run-off election which Tsvangirai boycotted citing the killing of around 300 supporters.

Relations between the two remain tense with counter-accusations of violence.

At least 30 supporters of Tsvangirai's party including youth leader Solomon Madzore have been in detention for over a year facing charges of killing a police officer during clashes at a shopping centre.



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