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North Korea soccer team cancels Zimbabwe stay

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s government is busy planning for spinoffs from the 2010 soccer World Cup, just three weeks away. Zimbabwean officials are hoping that the huge soccer tournament hosted this year by South Africa will boost this neighboring country with tourists and training camps. But the benefits do not appear to be coming. Already one of the planned visitors, North Korea, has pulled out. 

Zimbabwe courts acquit Roy Bennett

Roy Bennett, the white politician who is Robert Mugabe's bete noire, was acquitted today of terrorism charges for which he faced the death penalty. Judge Chinembiri Bhunu ruled that the state failed to prove its case and found Bennett not guilty of all charges: banditry, sabotage, terrorism and insurgency. "Justice has been done," said his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, who proved that evidence against Bennett was extracted by torture and false.

Opinion: Mugabe retains grip on foreign affairs

HARARE, Zimbabwe — When European nations in the 19th century wrested accountable governance from their monarchs by putting in place parliamentary systems, one area remained outside their scope. Foreign policy, it was said, was the “domain of the king.” That view is alive and well in today’s Zimbabwe. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs might as well close down. It is a mere cipher. President Robert Mugabe, 86, exercises sole power and despite the formation of a government of national unity (GNU) he brooks no interference from his purported partners.

Opinion: Mugabe bashes gays again

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Thirty years ago, on April 18, 1980, Zimbabwe was born amid joyous celebrations that the country had at last won its freedom from colonial rule after a protracted bush war. Today there is little enthusiasm for the southern African nation’s 30th anniversary of independence as it continues to languish under the iron fist of President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party. Bereft of policies that might rescue the country from the morass to which he has consigned it, Mugabe, 86, has turned to what he believes is a panacea: Bashing gays.

Zimbabwe drops some charges against Roy Bennett

The Zimbabwe government has finally seen sense and dropped some of the charges against Roy Bennett, former white farmer and top ally of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Zimbabwe prosecutors today withdrew charges of illegally holding grain against Bennett, a former white farmer who is already on trial for terrorism.

Zimbabwe's Anglican church divided over politics

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Political tension has so deeply penetrated life in this southern African country that when Tendai Mahachi kneels down to receive communion he is making a partisan statement. "I do not come here to indicate that I am hostile to President Robert Mugabe,’’ said the regular of St. Mary’s and All Saints Anglican Cathedral in downtown Harare, "but everything you do in Zimbabwe places you on one side or other of the political divide.’’

Opinion: A photo Robert Mugabe does not want you to see

HARARE, Zimbabwe — An incident at a Harare art gallery last week starkly illustrated the problems besetting Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government. A photo exhibition showcasing gory pictures of victims of violence in the country’s 2008 elections was confiscated by the police, later returned to the organizers after they secured a court order and then hidden when the police threatened a second raid. The police wanted to see written permission from everybody featured in the 65 pictures.

Zimbabwe's indigenization law provokes controversy

HARARE, Zimbabwe — A visitor to Zimbabwe may wonder what all the fuss is about. What could be the significance of a single word that generates such heated debate? It even eclipses the arguments bedeviling the government of national unity, as the unwieldy power-sharing coalition is called here.

Opinion: Harare spring fizzles out

HARARE, Zimbabwe — It all looked so hopeful a year ago. It seemed Zimbabwe's power-sharing government would bring significant liberalization of the restrictive media regulations.

Zimbabwe a plum posting for envoys

HARARE, Zimbabwe — As Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, sinks into an abyss of infrastructural decay and collapsing services, the countries that maintain a diplomatic presence here regard it as a plum posting. Not quite as choice as Canberra or Pretoria perhaps, but certainly not Abuja or Kinshasa. On any night of the week American, British, German, Dutch, and Scandinavian diplomats continue to entertain generously while grappling with the seemingly intractable problems generated by an errant regime.
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