mdc AGENT MURDERED

HARARE - An election agent for Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change has been stabbed to death by supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF, the MDC and police said on Monday.

HARARE - An election agent for Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change has been stabbed to death by supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF, the MDC and police said on Monday.

Tapiwa Mubwanda, who served as an electoral agent in the northwestern constituency of Hurungwe West in the March 29 polls, was stabbed with a knife by a group of Zanu-PF supporters on Saturday night, an MDC information officer told AFP.

"More than 20 of them (Zanu-PF supporters) came to his homestead and attacked him on Saturday night," said the spokesman on condition of anonymity. "His elder brother Lainos Mubwanda was injured in the attack and is in a serious condition in hospital."

Police confirmed the deadly attack on Mubwanda but said preliminary inquiries did not suggest the attack was politically motivated.

"He was stabbed to death following a misunderstanding between himself and three other people we are looking for," Wayne Bvudzijena said.

"The incident has in some circles been indicated as political violence but preliminary investigations do not attest to this."

Rebuffed by the courts and regional leaders, Zimbabwe's opposition has a shrinking range of options as it seeks to build up pressure for the release of results from last month's presidential election.

The Movement for Democratic Change may have threatened a general strike for today and to boycott a possible run-off between its leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe, but both tactics run the risk of playing into their rival's hands, say analysts.

As many in the MDC privately feared, the high court yesterday turned down its petition for an order to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to immediately announce the results of the March 29 poll, ordering the party to pay the costs.

On Sunday, the leaders of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) ended a summit on Zimbabwe with a declaration for the results to be announced "expeditiously" and urging all sides to accept the outcome. - Sapa-AFP

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