Mugabe Set To Fight Opposition

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- President Robert Mugabe vowed on Saturday that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change would never rule Zimbabwe and that he was prepared to fight to keep them from taking power.

"We shall never, never accept anything that smells of ... the MDC. These pathetic puppets taking over this country? Let's see. That is not going to happen," he said in a speech at the funeral of a former army general.

Tsvangirai and 11 MDC colleagues were held by police for three hours on Saturday after being taken into custody at a roadblock. He has been detained several times this month.

The party's secretary-general, Tendai Biti, arrested on Thursday as he returned to the country, appeared handcuffed before a judge.

At a closed hearing, prosecutors said they planned to charge him with "treason and making malicious statements detrimental to the interests of the state," which could carry a death penalty, Biti's lawyer said.

Despite ZANU-PF's parliamentary losses, the president has shown little sign of accepting change.

On Sunday, the state-run Sunday Mail quoted Mugabe as saying he would be willing to hand power to a ruling party ally when he was sure the country was safe from 'sellouts' and from British interference.

The newspaper said, however, that he gave no time-frame and again vowed to stop the opposition from taking power.