Mugabe supporters shoot at opposition

By Stella Mapenzauswa
Friday 17 January 2014 05:51
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Zimbabwe's opposition accused backers of President Robert Mugabe of firing shots at its supporters on Sunday during voting in two key parliamentary by-elections.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said no one was injured by the gun shots. It blamed the violence on guerrilla war veterans who support Mugabe.

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC's candidate for the Harare constituency of Kuwadzana, said: "It was chaotic, some war veterans started firing guns. A bullet narrowly missed one of our guys."

But police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he had not received any reports about the gun shots.

"The MDC alleged that the government had handed out AK rifles to war veterans, but I will check it out," he said.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, which holds none of Harare's 19 parliamentary seats, wants to erode the MDC's urban power base by capturing the capital's Kuwadzana and Highfield constituencies in the by-elections.

Results are expected on Monday from voting in the by-elections on Saturday and Sunday.

The by-elections took place against a background of a new crackdown on the opposition after a two-day strike this month that was one of the biggest protests in years against Mugabe's rule.

Mugabe, 79, won re-election for another six-year term as president in polls last March criticised as fraudulent by both the MDC and some Western governments.

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