Two MDC figures arrested in Zimbabwe


Zimbabwean police today arrested the leader of a breakaway faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Arthur Mutambara was arrested for publishing an April 20th article critical of President Robert Mugabe in the privately owned weekly The Standard,his lawyer said.

In it, Mr Mutambara criticised Mugabe for his handling of elections in March, and he accused the government of intimidation and questioned its right to stay in office.

"They've arrested Mutambara at his house this morning. They are charging him with publishing statements prejudicial to the state and for contempt of court," the lawyer said.

Eric Matinenga, an opposition legislator and lawyer to main MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, was detained on Saturday in the eastern district of Buhera and is being charged with inciting public violence, an MDC spokesman said.

Results from the March 29th election showed the ruling Zanu-PF lost its parliamentary majority and gave Mr Tsvangirai the lead over Mugabe in a presidential vote. But neither won a majority, forcing a run-off on June 27th.

The MDC split in two in 2005 following a bitter quarrel over political strategy and internal democracy. The two factions recently put aside their differences and have agreed to work together again.

Police arrested The Standardeditor Davison Maruziva on May 8th for publishing Mr Mutambara's article.