Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s military unexpectedly ousted President Robert Mugabe in late 2017, nearly four decades after he took power. Debilitating internal factionalism within the ruling Zanu-PF party over succession to Mugabe has culminated in the elevation of Emmerson Mnangagwa to the helm. He has promised to break with the past as he endeavours to navigate a much needed economic recovery. Prospects for promoting a new more inclusive political culture are less certain. Credible elections in 2018 could be a vital stepping stone toward a peaceful democratic transition, but they also pose a challenge to Zimbabwe’s weak institutions. Through research and analysis, Crisis Group sheds light on obstacles to a smooth, credible electoral process leading up to 2018. We help relevant actors nationally and internationally to buttress the likelihood of peaceful elections and democratic transition.

CrisisWatch Zimbabwe

Unchanged Situation

Political atmosphere remained tense months away from general elections, and NGOs expressed concern that new anti-money-laundering bill could further shrink space for civil society.

Political tensions remained high ahead of general elections. Police 10 Dec reportedly detained two members of main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) who were assaulted late Nov by suspected ruling Zanu-FP party supporters in Gutu district; mid-Dec banned two CCC rallies in capital Harare. Zanu-PF senior officials late Dec rejected electoral commission’s recent report on delimitation of electoral boundaries, saying it favours opposition, and vowed to have it nullified in court. Opposition party People’s Unity Party 30 Dec called on all opposition parties to boycott general elections scheduled for July-August, citing fears polls will further divide country.

Parliament’s lower house adopted bill which could further restrict civic space. National Assembly 16 Dec passed Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill granting govt unfettered access to NGOs and other voluntary organisations’ operations, including budgets, plans and funding sources, and power to delist or enlist them; govt said bill, which still needs Senate’s approval before President Mnangagwa signs it into law, is necessary to combat money laundering. Opposition lawmakers immediately requested further debate, saying bill had been passed without their knowledge, while civil society platform Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition around 18 Dec said text, if passed in its current form, would lead to closure of several NGOs, further restricting civil society space.

U.S. sanctioned president’s son for corruption and human rights abuses. U.S. Treasury Dept 12 Dec announced new sanctions on four individuals and two Zimbabwean entities for corruption and human rights abuses, including Emmerson Mnangagwa Jr., son of President Mnangagwa.

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In The News

19 Sep 2020
Zanu PF is hunkered down in its traditional deny, avoid, blame, attack posture. The Zimbabwe Independent

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
25 Jul 2020
Prominent Zimbabwean journalist Chin'ono has been extremely active in exposing corruption, but with that exposure has come a very hard-hitting narrative about the failure... Al Jazeera

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
29 Jan 2019
[Zimbabwe's] reform agenda is being opposed by hardline elements within Zanu-PF and the state. Bloomberg

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
21 Nov 2018
Ordinary Zimbabweans are paying for the excesses of a venal predatory elite not being held to account. Washington Post

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
3 Aug 2018
The ball is in Mnangagwa’s court. His legitimacy will now have to come from statesmanship and transparency, which means publicly addressing his relationship with the secu... Washington Post

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
30 Jul 2018
The elections are an unprecedented opportunity for Zimbabweans to choose who they believe can deliver economic recovery after decades of violent, predatory and authoritar... Newsweek

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa

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