- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2008

ZIMBABWE

Mugabe rival vows to undo farm chaos

HARARE — Simba Makoni, the former ally of President Robert Mugabe who is to challenge him in elections on March 29, yesterday leveled a withering attack on the Zimbabwean president’s management of the country.

He vowed to unravel the land reforms that have left millions short of food.

Announcing his manifesto, Mr. Makoni, 57, said: “The Zimbabwe of today … is a nation full of fear, a nation in deep stress, a tense and polarized nation, a nation also characterized by disease and extreme poverty.”

He urged other members of the ruling party to join him in the quest to prevent the 83-year-old president from winning a sixth term in office.

Zimbabwe began its descent into economic crisis and chronic food shortages when Mr. Mugabe almost lost elections in 2000 to the newly founded opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

CONGO

Clashes reported in troubled east

GOMA — Fresh clashes were reported yesterday between armed groups in a troubled region in the east of Congo, in breach of a three-week-old cease-fire.

Soldiers loyal to rebel leader Laurent Nkunda and Mai Mai militiamen exchanged gunfire in towns northwest of Goma, a local official said.

A peace deal committing the government, Mr. Nkunda’s forces and other rebel militias to an immediate cease-fire was signed on Jan. 23.

Since then clashes, involving the local Mai Mai groups and Mr. Nkunda’s National Congress for the Defense of the People, have been reported.

CHAD

Government probes rebel coup attempt

N’DJAMENA — The Chadian government opened an inquiry yesterday into the abduction of three top opposition leaders during a rebel assault on the capital this month, the interior minister announced.

According to the Interior Ministry, the leaders’ homes were in a zone of the city controlled by the rebels at the time they were seized.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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