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Could 'land grab' by Tsvangirai's niece overshadow Zimbabwe progress?

Britain pledged $8.2 million in aid after Prime Minister Gordon Brown held a landmark meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday, but an attempt by Tsvangirai's niece to take over a white-owned farm is causing a stir back home.

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai listens during a news conference with his British counterpart Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street in London Monday.

Lewis Whyld/Pool/REUTERS

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He's earning plaudits and some funding abroad, but Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is facing embarrassment at home, where his niece has tried to seize a white-owned farm.

The Zimbabwean prime minister has not commented publicly on the apparent land grab by his relative, but sources close to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader said he was "not happy" about the events – and that they risked overshadowing progress in the unity government.

Mr. Tsvangirai, who shares power in Zimbabwe with President Robert Mugabe, is currently on a US and European diplomatic tour to raise money for his beleaguered country. Britain pledged an extra £5 million ($8.2 million) Monday, after Prime Minister Gordon Brown held a landmark meeting with Tsvangirai. Mr. Brown pledged more help if reforms gained momentum, expressing concern over whether the unity government was making progress.


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