A collective sigh of relief marked the signing of the global national accord in Zimbabwe and the formation of a government of national unity late in 2008. The international community's response to re-engage with Zimbabwe in 2009 has at least rekindled the hopes of a nation whose population was besieged by myriad socio-economic challenges, including the near collapse of the education and health sectors.

The white minority continues to be threatened in Zimbabwe, although overall they remain economically advantaged. The wave of nationalization of foreign enterprises and the grabbing of white-owned farms has not abated in 2009, even after the coalition agreement between President Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai took effect.

While 2009 was expected to record a marked change in the political culture of the state, repression still informs the Zimbabwean government's response to politics. By fits and starts rather than deliberate and consistent planning, the processes of constitutional reform and transitional justice rolled on. However, these processes may yield little in an environment marked by intense political competition between the coalition partners, and where ZANU PF continues to dominate the control of security infrastructure which it manipulates at will.

USCIRF reported that Anglican Christians from the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) were arrested, harassed and prevented from attending church by the government. Police continued to disrupt Anglican church services and sanctioned the seizure of property by splinter groups. They arrested parishioners, interrogated priests and lay leaders, and locked the doors of churches to keep worshippers away. Religious leaders who were critical of government policies, who spoke out against human rights abuses committed by the government, and who provided humanitarian assistance to citizens during a nearly three-month ban on NGOs, were also harassed, the report said. The Standard, a Zimbabwean daily newspaper, reported on 3 May 2009 that an Assemblies of God church in northern Matabeleland was closed down 'as its resident pastor fled after being tortured by Zanu-PF supporters on suspicion that he was an MDC sympathiser'. Pius Ncube (then Archbishop of Bulawayo Catholic Church and one of President Mugabe's most outspoken critics), was assaulted by security personnel and finally forced to resign through negative state campaigning including allegations of 'immoral' behaviour.

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