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Zimbabwe

Yearbook 2007

2007 ZimbabweZimbabwe. According to CountryAAH, Zimbabwe remained one of Africa's most controversial countries, in constant confrontation with the Western world. Opposition politicians were subjected to repeated police interventions and beatings. One of the few who openly dared to criticize President Robert Mugabe and his government was the Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, who called for street protests and even foreign intervention to overthrow the regime. As a church leader, he enjoyed some protection against physical abuse, but when state media accused him of lewdness and published a picture purported to depict him in bed with a married female parish worker, he was forced to ask for dismissal.

The disastrous economic situation persisted. Inflation, which was just over 1,200 per cent at the beginning of the year, had officially risen to 7,892 per cent in September, but in practice was thought to be higher. The head of the Statistics Office then said that until now more inflation figures would not be possible because the shortage of goods was so great that accurate measurements were impossible. The shortage of goods was considered to be partly due to the price control ordered by the government in June, when the price of a number of basic commodities was halved. As a result, production decreased and many businesses closed when operations would otherwise have been at a loss.

In April, the state power company increased the electricity price by 350 percent and announced more increases during the year. This was justified by the fact that the power companies did not receive reimbursement for their costs and could not afford new investments, which resulted in many power outages. However, the price increase did not help, and in May electricity supply to households was limited to 4 hours per day.

The regional cooperation organization SADC (South African Development Community) avoided criticizing Mugabe but appointed South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to mediate between the regime and the opposition. One result of the mediation was that in September, with the opposition's support, Parliament passed a constitutional amendment that gives the president the right to appoint his successor if he resigns during the term of office. The decision must then be approved by Parliament. The change also meant that the next parliamentary elections were scheduled for two years until 2008, at the same time as the presidential election. Robert Mugabe announced his decision to stand for re-election and was supported by the ZANU-PF government party.

In September, Parliament passed a law on black, domestic majority control of foreign-owned companies. It completed the process that began with the 2000 confiscation of white-owned agriculture. The Supreme Court granted the government the right to seize equipment from confiscated white farms. Prosecution was brought against eleven white farmers who did not obey the order to leave their homes by September 30.

2007 Zimbabwe

In March 2003, observers spoke of unprecedented repression in the frequent clashes around the earth. In December 2003, the Commonwealth formally extended its sanction on Zimbabwe.

In March 2004, 70 South African mercenaries were arrested in Harare after admitting to planning a coup in Equatorial Guinea. They were arrested when their private aircraft landed at Harare airport. They admitted only the least relevant charges as a violation of the country's immigration and aviation laws. They were convicted by a court in the capital. The mercenaries had stolen weapons in various weapons depots in Zimbabwe. One of the accused was Simon Mann, British pilot and leader of the group. In September, he was sentenced to 7 years in prison on charges of illegal arms purchases. The others were sentenced to 12 months in prison, the pilots however 16. All of them declared innocent and Mann explained that the weapons should have been used by security people in a diamond mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In June, as one of the last African leaders, Mugabe admitted that his family was also affected by HIV/AIDS. At a conference on AIDS in Zimbabwe, the president said that the disease had also spread to his family, without even naming who. He stated that AIDS is one of the biggest challenges in the country's near future, but had confidence that the disease could be combated.

Some government critics felt that the AIDS conference that touched on an otherwise taboo topic should only cover far more serious problems in the country. The target group of the conference was members of the government, health workers and local groups. Its purpose was to formulate a strategy to combat the disease - in a country that has one of the largest indices in the world for infected adults. About 3,000 die of AIDS in the country per week.

In July 2004, Bulawayo's Archbishop Pius Ncube declared that there was a risk that the 2005 presidential election would not be free or fair. He stated that there was much evidence that a massive scam was being prepared during this election. He therefore called for the establishment of an independent electoral commission to monitor the elections. The Archbishop who is an open critic of Mugabe pointed out that during the 2002 elections, about 800,000 people appeared on the electoral rolls. Following the archbishop's statements, Mugabe announced that he was planning reform of the electoral laws.

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