Life in Zimbabwe has undoubtedly gotten better since a power-sharing agreement between Robert Mugabe, who has ruled this southern African country since 1980, and Morgan Tsvangirai, his most prominent opponent and the current prime minister, entered into force in February 2009. Inflation is down from 230 million percent, goods are back on the shelves, NGOs are able to work again (though they are often still harassed), and the country is able to tap into foreign credit lines from regional banks and China. The bad news is that Mugabe has kept up his dictatorial rule as if nothing had changed; for example, he celebrated his 30th anniversary in office to the spectacular fanfare seen here, where children display militant loyalty to the ruling party. Mugabe and Tsvangirai operate autonomously, holding occasional talks to resolve disputes over cabinet appointments, land expropriation, opposition arrests, and media freedom -- among other things. With little sign of progress for months, both leaders are now looking forward to fresh elections as the "only way out" of the political stalemate, as Tsvangirai has put it.
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