A senior member of Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Simba Makoni, will run for president against Robert G. Mugabe, the man who has kept a mighty hold on power for nearly 30 years and presided over one of the world’s most horrific economic free falls. Makoni, a former finance minister, said that though he would run as an independent in the March 29 election, he had held “intensive consultations” with fellow members of the Zimbabwe ANU-Patriotic Front, ZANU-PF, and others before deciding. This is a significant twist. Mugabe had been expected to coast to victory, especially after the nation?s main opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change, failed last weekend to unite behind one presidential candidate. (NYT)

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