Mugabe's Challenger Charged in New Crackdown
Penketh, Anne, The Independent (London, England)
ZIMBABWE'S MAIN opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was charged yesterday with inciting violence in a speech he made five months ago warning President Robert Mugabe to step down peacefully or face forcible removal from office.
The government's move appears to be part of a general crackdown against Mr Mugabe's critics that in recent weeks has focused on white members of the judiciary and the independent press.
Mr Tsvangirai, who denied the charges in a Harare magistrates' court, was released on bail. He faces a jail sentence of up to 20 years if convicted in a trial scheduled to start at the end of April. The charges stem from a speech by Mr Tsvangirai to 20,000 opposition supporters during a rally last September, in which he said that the Zimbabwean President should retire before Christmas "or we will remove you violently".
He was questioned by police after making the speech, but no further action was taken at the time.
Mr Tsvangirai is the third MDC leader to be charged with incitement linked to the party's political campaign against Mr Mugabe, who is seeking re- election next year. He …
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Publication information: Article title: Mugabe's Challenger Charged in New Crackdown. Contributors: Penketh, Anne - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: February 17, 2001. Page number: 18. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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