The course of Zimbabwe, a tumultuous nation in the southern part of Africa, has been dictated by its longtime leader, Robert Mugabe. But with stronger opposition forces -- and a crippling economy -- working against Mugabe, the future of the country is very much in flux. Keep up on the latest Zimbabwe news here.
Before the rest of the globe began reeling from recession, Zimbabwe's economy was in free-fall. Spiraling inflation and a nearly worthless currency put the price of a loaf of bread at about $10 million (Zimbabwean dollars). Unemployment has soared to about 90 percent. Tendai Biti, a key opposition leader sworn in as finance minister in the new unity government, lays much of the blame for a delay in economic recovery efforts at the doorstep of the country's Reserve Bank.
Talk about a sea change: Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a man brave enough to cry foul over Robert Mugabe's rigged elections, went from being a marked man to prime minister in a newly brokered unity government. Even better, Mugabe was the one who had to administer the oath of office to his bitter rival.
For anyone who thought the new unity government meant games were no longer afoot in Zimbabwe, think again: Roy Bennett, a white farmer who served as treasurer general for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was named deputy agriculture minister, but was arrested and charged with treason hours before the new cabinet was sworn in. Now, instead of treason, Bennett is charged with terrorism, banditry and sabotage -- and MDC supporters are getting restless.
Mugabe's government has been roundly criticized for letting a cholera epidemic spiral as out of control as the country's inflation, with the disease spreading through antiquated sewers and water systems. Now the medical professionals are fleeing the country, leaving what Doctors Without Borders calls "near total devastation."
Morgan Tsvangirai decries Bennett's detention as the work of Mugabe faithful “determined to undermine the spirit and credibility of the unity government.”