A senior member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Zimbabwe is in custody over allegations he raped a 13-year-old girl.

Blessing Chebundo MP was held in the capital, Harare, while on parliamentary business on Tuesday.

State media reported that the member for Kwekwe Central allegedly attacked the teenager near Kadoma, Mashonaland West province, in January.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa confirmed the MP’s arrest to the BBC. He said: “I can confirm that he is in custody. This is a very unfortunate development. We’re awaiting further investigations.

“We’re also going to make our own efforts to inspect the veracity of the case as we’ve had problems with cases being concocted against members of the MDC, but we can’t jump the gun.”

The MDC joined President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF in a power-sharing government in January, aimed at halting Zimbabwe’s economic collapse.

But relations between the long-time rivals remain strained, with the MDC accusing Zanu-PF hardliners, especially in the security forces, of trying to derail the unity deal.

The MDC is demanding that several opposition and civil rights activists be freed from custody.

A founder member of the MDC, Mr Chebundo became an MP in 2000, when he defeated Zanu-PF heavyweight Emmerson Mnangagwa following a vicious campaign.



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