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Yearbook 2011

2011 ZimbabweZimbabwe. According to 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 this year.

2011 Zimbabwe

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.

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