Zimbabwe police arrest Tsvangirai on campaign tour

June 4th, 2008 - 10:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg/Harare, June 4 (DPA) Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change fighting to win second round of presidential elections, was detained by police while he was on the campaign trial, party officials said. Tsvangirai “has been held for two hours since 12 noon”, on a main road near the village of Lupane in western Zimbabwe, Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the MDC, said in a text message. He was not immediately reachable to elaborate.

The 56-year-old leader has been continually harassed by authorities since he returned 10 days ago from travelling abroad to campaign for the second round of presidential elections June 27.

He has been banned from holding rallies in several towns in the western provinces of Matabeleland, for no apparent reason.

Analysts say the MDC is effectively the government-in-waiting after winning a parliamentary majority in elections March 29, inflicting the first election defeat on President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU (PF) party since independence in 1980.

Tsvangirai won more votes than 84-year-old Mugabe in the presidential ballot but, after having to wait five weeks for state electoral authorities to announce the result, failed to win more than 50 percent of the vote he needed to be declared outright winner.

The country is in the grip of a wave of violence that has seen nearly 60 MDC supporters murdered and thousands assaulted and tortured.

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