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.
Ruling ZANU-PF party won Bikita West by-election 21 Jan with 77.9% of vote; ex-Deputy President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party gained 14.5%. ZANU-PF supporters 18 Jan assaulted candidate of opposition National Constitutional Assembly and his election agent.
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.
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.
A bold approach to the sanctions issue is necessary to refocus efforts on the actions needed to break the political stalemate in Zimbabwe before elections are held that otherwise threaten to be as violent and undemocratic as the 2008 round.
Slow and inadequate progress in implementing the compromise they reached three years ago threatens to push Zimbabwe’s contending forces into premature elections and undermine political and economic recovery.
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.
Originally published in Zimbabwe Independent
Political infighting and a collapsed economy offer little light at the end of tunnel for the majority of Zimbabweans.
Originally published in Independent Online (South Africa)
Originally published in esglobal
Originally published in BusinessDay