- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

ZIMBABWE

Court orders release of MDC official

HARARE, Zimbabwe | Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court ordered the release on bail of a senior Movement for Democratic Change official Wednesday, his attorney said, in a sign that political tensions may be easing in the new unity government.

Roy Bennett, who was set to become deputy agriculture minister in the power-sharing government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, was arrested Feb. 13 and charged with plotting terrorism.

The High Court ordered his release on bail but state prosecutors appealed and the case was referred to the country’s highest court, stoking political friction. His attorney Beatrice Mtetwa said she was now working on getting Mr. Bennett out of jail.



Mr. Mugabe on Tuesday joined mourning for Mr. Tsvangirai’s wife, Susan, who was killed in a car crash Friday, and called on Zimbabweans to support his old rival, surprising many MDC supporters and winning praise from Mr. Tsvangirai’s eldest son.

Thousands of MDC supporters, joined by diplomats and government representatives, gathered at the Tsvangirais’ rural home in Buhera on Wednesday to bury Mrs. Tsvangirai.

TANZANIA

IMF, Africa agree on new partnership

DAR ES SALAAM | African nations and the International Monetary Fund agreed Wednesday to a new partnership and called on industrial countries to keep their promises of increased aid despite the global financial crisis.

“It is time for the IMF to adapt to this new era,” IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said at the end of a two-day conference on the fund’s role in Africa and the impact of the financial crisis.

He said developed countries could no longer tell others how to run their economies.

“It is totally unfair that African countries and other low-income countries which had nothing to do with the causes of the crisis are now hard hit,” he said.

“It is certainly time for advanced economies to be less arrogant. The way leaders of advanced economies address leaders of the rest of the world has to change and it is in the process of changing,” he added.

The call for increased aid comes ahead of a Group of 20 meeting of developed and developing countries on April 2 in London.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said he and other African leaders would meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown before the G-20 summit to convey concerns that advanced countries are not keeping promises from 2005 of increased aid at a time when the crisis threatens to destroy economies in Africa.

MADAGASCAR

Army chief replaced after coup threat

ANTANANARIVO | Madagascar’s army chief was sacked and replaced Wednesday, the military said, a day after he warned leaders that his troops would take power unless a months-long political crisis was resolved.

The move came as opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, locked in a power struggle with President Marc Ravalomanana since the start of the year, said he would boycott reconciliation talks this week.

New army chief Col. Andre Andriarijaona was sworn in at a ceremony at military headquarters in the capital Antananarivo.

He replaces Gen. Edmond Rasolofomahandry, who Tuesday issued feuding party leaders with a 72-hour ultimatum to resolve a violent standoff between the opposition and the government which has killed more than 100 people since January.

Col. Andriarijaona suggested in a speech that his predecessor had been removed after “negotiations” among senior officers, a signal that the president, who normally appoints the army chief, was no longer in control of the armed forces.

The army has increasingly expressed frustration over orders to put down anti-government protests, which to date have claimed more than 100 lives, mostly at the hands of the security forces.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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