An informal group of developed countries has pledged to continue to back programmes in Zimbabwe worth more than US$500 million in 2011 to help the poor, but says "serious concerns remain" on the "protection of fundamental rights, the rule of law, governance and respect for agreements".
President Robert Mugabe is expected to announce a date for national elections in 2011, according to local media, but NGOs and human rights activists fear they could lead to a surge of political violence.
The Herald, the official daily newspaper, reporting on ZANU-PF's recent annual conference, quoted Mugabe as saying the party was “a fired-up, fuelled and fast-moving train that would crush anything that dares stand in its way."
The donor group, which calls itself the Friends of Zimbabwe, said programmes they supported in 2010 helped "Zimbabweans regardless of political persuasion": Every child in primary school in Zimbabwe now had new text books; some of the water and power networks had been rehabilitated and agricultural inputs had been given to 600,000 households, the statement said.
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