Zimbabwe democrat is stoned to death

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The Independent Online

A member of Zimbabwe's opposition party died yesterday after being stoned in the build-up to parliamentary elections, prompting fears that the killing could be the first of many.

Edwin Gomo, a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), had been wounded last Sunday while on the back of a truck heading for an MDC rally in the northern town of Bindura.Bindura is a stronghold of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and as the truck arrived, like others before and after, it was pelted with stones by a crowd of young men. One stone hit Mr Gomo on the head.

A police spokesman said four people had been arrested but had not been asked if they were members of Zanu-PF.

The incident was not an isolate one. Tensions have been running high between Zanu-PF and the recently formed opposition over farm occupations staged by war veterans at the direct urging of President Mugabe. Rival supporters have clashed throughout the country, leaving scores of injuries and arrests on both sides.

The MDC, which is supported by white farmers, said Zanu-PF had "unleashed a wave of terror on the country" to justify Mr Mugabe declaring a state of emergency.

* Tories urged the Government yesterday to instigate an urgent Commons debate on whether Zimbabwe should be suspended from the Commonwealth for allowing the black squatters to take over land owned by white farmers.