Countryaah official site, the co-government between the archival rivals ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front),
led by President Robert Mugabe, and MDC (Movement for
Democratic Change), led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
continued throughout the year but in great anguish. As
speculation about impending general elections increased, so
did the violence between supporters of the respective
parties. In the vast majority of cases, neutral judges
considered that it was ZANU-PF that was behind the violence.
The party has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and
has developed in an increasingly authoritarian direction,
most unwilling to accept the democratic rules of the game.
According to Amnesty International, the police rarely or
never intervened against the perpetrators of violence,
however, it often devoted itself to harassing human rights
groups and political opposition.
Military leadership, too, usually joins behind Mugabe and
ZANU-PF, despite its formally unpolitical role. One of the
army's top commanders, Brigadier General Douglas
Nyikayaramba, accused Prime Minister Tsvangirai of "taking
orders from abroad" and thus posing a threat to the nation's
security. The general said that the country's stability
required rapid re-election and that it was necessary for
Mugabe to maintain power for life. However, following his
controversial political statements, Nyikayaramba was removed
from the working group that since 2009 has been trying to
write the new democratic constitution that will form the
basis for new elections. That work was also almost silent
Former Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo succeeded in
March in getting the 2009 presidential election annulled. He
pointed out that the vote, which for the first time gave the
MDC the chairmanship, had been in disordered forms. But
President Lovemore Moyo (not related to the minister) again
triumphed when the election was re-elected.
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma was arrested in March and
charged with abuse of power for buying five million liters
of diesel from South Africa without proper tendering. When
he was released against bail, he was arrested again, now
charged with irregularities in connection with his tearing
up of a contract for electrical equipment. He was eventually
released on both counts and the opposition saw the arrests
as part of the harassment against the MDC.
In February, 46 people were arrested during a meeting
with human rights activists discussing the ongoing uprising
in Egypt. One of their lawyers claimed that they were
tortured during the hearings. Most were released by a court
after a couple of weeks, but six of them were indicted for
treason, which could have resulted in the death penalty. The
prosecution was later alleviated for incitement to violence.
They were brought to trial at the end of the year.
In February, the EU removed 35 people from its sanctions
list, citing some progress in basic social services. But
while waiting for Zimbabwe to develop into a functioning
rule of law, which respects human rights and democracy, the
EU retained travel bans and the freezing of financial assets
for 163 people and 31 companies.
Among the small advances noted was freedom of the press.
The opposition newspaper Daily News could again come out
after almost eight years of interruption. A commission was
also set up to work against corruption. Both reforms were
included in the government deal in 2009.
Before the elections that are expected in 2012, provided
that the new constitution is ready, voting lengths must also
be reviewed. According to a June report, current voting
lengths include 2.6 million for many names, including a
large number of dead. There were also 41,000 people who
would be over 100 - an unreasonable number in a country
where the average life expectancy is 45 years.
In November, Zimbabwe was again allowed to sell diamonds
from the Marange mines in the east. The Kimberley Process
countries, which were started to ensure that diamonds mined
illegally to finance war would not enter the world market,
lifted the ban that has been in effect since 2009. Then came
reports of how the Zimbabwean military had taken control of
the diamond fields. The EU and the US initially objected to
the ban being lifted but gave in to assurances that the
remaining ill-treatment would be rectified.