Zimbabwe opposition politicians arrested

Aug. 3, 2009 at 9:08 AM
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HARARE, Zimbabwe, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Recent arrests of opposition Zimbabwean members of Parliament are a coordinated strategy to intimidate them, Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti says.

Biti said Movement for Democratic Change politicians arrested for such offenses as playing pro-MDC music in their cars or the theft of mobile phones are not coincidences but a well-organized campaign to cripple the opposition, Radio France Internationale reported Monday.

"The arrests … and convictions of our members of parliament is not accidental," Biti told the French broadcaster. "The efficiency and the speed in which the prosecutions are taking place is not normal, the fact that these things are being done with such vigor, such exuberance, such energy -- and also uniformity -- so there's absolutely no doubt that these are engineered prosecutions."

Biti said he himself was threatened when he received a bullet in the mail along with a note.

He told RFI President Robert Mugabe's government is determined to whittle down the MDC's parliamentary majority, allegedly hoping that the ruling transitional coalition will break down and a new election would have to be called.

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