Abductions, assaults by pro-government thugs and anti-government demonstrations met by tear gas and water cannon all signal rising levels of violence in Zimbabwe. The situation is aggravated by the government’s failure to implement proposals for reform and mounting economic woes.
Originally published in Independent Online (South Africa)
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
Zimbabwe has not escaped its chronic crisis. Infighting over who will succeed the ailing 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe is stifling efforts to tackle insolvency, low rule of law, rampant unemployment and food insecurity. Zimbabwe needs international help to recover, but what it needs most is a leadership willing to act on much-needed reforms.
Zimbabwe’s growing instability is exacerbated by dire economic decline, endemic governance failures, and tensions over ruling party succession; without major political and economic reforms, the country could slide into being a failed state.
Madagascar’s recent elections marked an ostensible return to democracy, but unless the new government works hard to implement meaningful political, economic and social reforms, the prospect of further crisis is just a matter of time.
A return to protracted political crisis, and possibly extensive violence, is likely as Zimbabwe holds elections on 31 July. conditions for a free and fair vote do not exist.
The pervasive fear of violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe’s 2013 elections contradicts political leaders’ rhetorical commitments to peace, and raises concerns that the country may not be ready to go to the polls.
To preserve Southern Africa’s relative peace in the face of rising challenges and threats, Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states must collectively reinforce its peace and security architecture.
There does not appear to be any substantive disconnect what is stated [in the statement], and the process and content of the exploratory discussions around forging a collective approach.
It is only now, due to the economic fallout and the restrictions on imports, that South Africa is waking up to the situation [in Zimbabwe]. A hands-off approach has done little to avert the continued slide downwards.
[President Mugabe's economic plan] is moot and feeds speculation that this is part of a rhetorical dance to keep the international financial institutions interested in some form of re-engagement.
It is clear Mugabe's capacities have diminished significantly, his ability to hold things together is doubtful. I don't think [he] has faced this kind of pressure before.
The media have turned Pastor Evan [leader of the Zimbabwean protest movement #ThisFlag] into some kind of symbolic messiah, which he’s not.
South Africa, in concert with international creditors should support Zimbabwe, but on condition of a genuine and inclusive reform process. There is little evidence of this at present, raising serious concerns that support will be manipulated to enable [the ruling Zanu-PF's] longevity as a priority over a genuine re-engagement and national recovery programme. This would also have acute long term negative repercussions for South Africa's economy which is already vulnerable to the vicissitudes of Zimbabwe's financial delinquency.
The ruling ZANU-PF is exploiting the many weaknesses of Zimbabwe’s electoral system to outpace the country’s divided opposition. Yet without a real change of policy, the country seems doomed to steeper decline.
Originally published in Zimbabwe Independent
Originally published in Daily Maverick
Originally published in esglobal