- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 5, 2009


Tsvangirai urges end to sanctions

HARARE | Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday made his first call for an end to international sanctions, part of his bid to start rebuilding the shattered economy.

Mr. Tsvangirai, who joined President Robert Mugabe in a unity government last month, said in his maiden speech to Parliament that Zimbabwean efforts to solve the country’s political crisis through power-sharing needed to be recognized.

“I therefore urge the international community to recognize our efforts and note the progress that we make in this regard and to match our progress by moving towards the removal of restrictive measures,” Mr. Tsvangirai said.

The United States and the European Union have put in place targeted sanctions against certain people close to Mr. Mugabe and some Zimbabwean companies. Inflation is rampant, and there are chronic food and fuel shortages.


Government to seize unused farms

PRETORIA | South Africa’s government will take over farms allocated to black people under a land-redistribution program that are not being productively used, Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana said Wednesday.

After the fall of apartheid in 1994, the African National Congress-led government set itself a target of handing 30 percent of all agricultural land to the black majority by 2014.

The government program included restitution, by which ancestral land was returned to black communities from whom it was taken before apartheid ended, and redistribution, allowing black farmers to secure loans to buy land from the government. However, much of the land has not been used for farming and has lain idle for years.


Mandela’s grandson goes into politics

JOHANNESBURG | Nelson Mandela’s grandson is carrying on his legacy by pursuing a career in South African politics, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) said Wednesday.

Mandla Mandela, whose grandfather led South Africa out of apartheid, is on the ANC’s list of candidates for an April 22 parliamentary election that the party is widely expected to win.

Mandla Mandela is a supporter of ANC leader Jacob Zuma, the party’s presidential candidate, who has been dogged by a corruption case. The Sunday Times newspaper reported last month that Mandla Mandela and fellow Zuma supporters spirited Nelson Mandela, who is 90 and has officially retired from public life, to an ANC campaign rally.

Nelson Mandela has steered clear of the power struggles that have damaged the ANC over the past few years. His appearance alongside Mr. Zuma at the Feb. 15 rally was seen at the time as an endorsement.


Court delays U.S. fugitive’s trial

WINDHOEK | Fugitive U.S. millionaire Jacob “Kobi” Alexander on Wednesday won a further delay in his legal battle to avoid extradition from Namibia over a purported scheme to backdate millions of executive stock options.

Mr. Alexander, the former chief executive of New-York based software maker Comverse Technology Inc., has denied any wrongdoing, blaming instead poor financial and legal advice. He is fighting efforts to send him back to the United States to face trial.

Cosmos Endjala, the presiding magistrate, said the case would be heard June 9 to allow time for Mr. Alexander to challenge the constitutionality of his extradition in the country’s Supreme Court of Appeal.

Mr. Alexander has bought a home in Namibia and pledged to invest $14 million in business and charitable projects in the southwestern African nation, prompting critics to accuse him of buying influence. He has fought extradition since his arrest in 2006 by Interpol officers, acting on a warrant issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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