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CNN International World News

Zimbabwe's Opposition Says Violence Is Government Intimidation

Aired April 21, 2000 - 1:00 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, WORLD NEWS: Zimbabwe's opposition says the violence in the country is not a racial issue, but an intimidation campaign by the government. And President Robert Mugabe is expected to face pressure to end the violence in his country at a regional summit on Friday.

We get more now from CNN's Mike Hanna.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hopes of a peaceful resolution disappear in smoke. A farm in eastern Zimbabwe is invaded by a group of war veterans and their supporters. On a doorstep lies a dog that's been beaten to death, while the farm workers watch the destruction of their living quarters in dazed shock.

The veterans claim the opposition Movement for Democratic Change had established offices on the farm. The violence purportedly aimed at the opposition movement has gone hand in hand with the invasion of white-owned farms. Friends and relatives mourn a member of the Movement for Democratic Change who was burned to death in a petrol bombing last weekend.

The movement's leader is adamant incidents such as this prove the violence is part of a political agenda by Robert Mugabe's supporters.

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE: The whole issue around this current crisis has nothing to do with race. It is all about intimidating the opposition and subduing the nation so that when election comes, they are in a stronger position.

HANNA (on camera): Against this background of simmering violence, regional leaders meet in Victoria Falls Friday. Officially we are told the summit is not about this country's internal problems.

(voice-over): But the opposition here expects neighboring presidents to make clear that the crisis does have an external effect.

TSVANGIRAI: I hope they rise above the petty excuses and the petty apologies that has been characteristic of African heads of state when one of them is making plans (ph).

HANNA: A feeling shared by these workers on a farm near Harare. They are as threatened as the white owner who's moved his family to the city fearing the war veterans will invade here, too. For 11 years, Felix worked on the farm and shared in the profits.

"So these people can just come," he says, "They take the land, and then they move us out."

Mike Hanna, CNN, Harare.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

END

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