Police: Zimbabwe Opposition Official Faces Treason Charge
By VOA News
12 June 2008
Tendai Biti (file photo)
Zimbabwean police say the opposition's number-two official will be charged with treason - a charge that could carry the death penalty.
Police arrested Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change, as he arrived at the Harare airport Thursday from South Africa.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena says the treason charge stems from an MDC document about changing Zimbabwe's government.
Police also wanted Biti for proclaiming an MDC victory in the March 29 presidential and parliamentary elections ahead of any official announcement.
Morgan Tsvangirai, 10 Jun 2008
In a separate incident, police detained opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai for two hours today as he campaigned for his June 27 runoff election against President Robert Mugabe.
The MDC says Mr. Tsvangirai resumed campaigning after being released. Police have detained the opposition leader three times this month.
The MDC says supporters of President Mugabe are trying to intimidate opponents ahead of the runoff.
Earlier this week, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said the Mugabe government has extinguished any chance for a fair and free runoff vote with its crackdown on the opposition.
The MDC says ruling party supporters have killed more than 60 opposition activists since the first round of voting in March. Mr. Mugabe accuses the MDC of carrying out its own attacks.
Today, the state-run Herald newspaper quoted Vice President Joseph Msika as saying that voting for Mr. Tsvanigirai would be like voting for war.
Msika promised that "trouble" would start if a Tsvangirai government tried to reverse the land redistribution carried out under Mr. Mugabe.
Zimbabwe's government has seized thousands of white-owned farms this decade. Mr. Mugabe calls the program an effort to undo colonial-era imbalances. Critics blame the seizure for the fall in food production that triggered shortages and the country's record-setting inflation.