In an about-face, the government of South Africa said the political situation in neighboring Zimbabwe "is dire" and that results of the March 29 presidential election "need to be verified and released as soon as possible." The region's only major power previously had said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe and that the electoral process there must take its course. Despite increasing intimidation by police against hard-line President Robert Mugabe's opponents, the South African government also said it will not prevent a shipment of millions of rounds of small-arms ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades from reaching Zimbabwe. The shipment is aboard a cargo vessel that docked at the Port of Durban Wednesday.
The State House in Kenya rang with applause Thursday as opposition leader Raila Odinga accepted the oath of office as prime minister in a historic power-sharing government. Analysts, however, said its early priorities will be daunting, especially the resettling of tens of thousands of people displaced in the violence that followed the nation's disputed Dec. 27 presidential election.