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

In lead-up to 2023 elections, political opposition continued to accuse authorities of harassment; food security crisis loomed large amid runaway inflation.

Political tensions continued ahead of 2023 elections. Main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) 11 Sept claimed explosive device same day targeted party leader Nelson Chamisa as he arrived to address rally in Chinhoyi city (Mashonaland West province). CCC denounced “state-sponsored violence” without providing evidence. NGO Amnesty International 21 Sept denounced “continued arbitrary detention” of CCC legislators Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, who were arrested in June on charges of “inciting violence”, urged Harare to release them “immediately and unconditionally” and “stop criminalizing dissent”. Court 29 Sept sentenced prominent novelist and activist, Tsitsi Dangarembga, and journalist Julie Barnes to six-month suspended prison term on charges of inciting violence during protests in 2020; International NGO Amnesty International next day denounced “travesty of justice”.

Report warned of rising food insecurity amid persistent economic crisis. In World Bank food security report published 15 Sept, Zimbabwe (along with Lebanon) topped list of countries worst affected by domestic food price inflation, with real food inflation at 68% on year-on-year basis.

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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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