Zimbabwe’s military has detained the country’s 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace Mugabe, and taken control of the streets of the capital and the main television station. The next step – apparently, a legitimate-looking transfer of power to someone of the army’s choosing – may prove less easy.
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.
Borrowing more may well provide some short term relief [for Zimbabwe], but it is important to see how this contributes to the long term solution as the country digs an even bigger debt hole.
[Zimbabwe's new cabinet including controversial figures ] does not bode well, certainly. We will have to wait and see what the [new ministers] actually do but it does not bode well.
The deployment of senior members of the [Zimbabwean] military into the cabinet is profoundly shocking. [It] does not reflect the [inclusivity] sentiment expressed in [the] inaugural address.
There has been a distinct impression that [Zimbabwe's new President] Mnangagwa is beholden and the power behind the throne is [the army chief] Gen Chiwenga.
[Zimbabwe's new president] Mnangagwa is silent on the issue of electoral reform. It's worth bearing in mind that the way elections are run in Zimbabwe is about keeping most eligible potential voters out of the process.
[Zimbabwe’s ousting of President Robert Mugabe represents] a military-assisted transition. This sets a bad precedent in terms of deepening democracy and pluralism in the region.
Delayed elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the stalled transition risks provoking a major crisis, are one of three critical African polls: the DRC crisis, the recent vote in Kenya and Zimbabwe’s election next year all have important implications for democracy and stability on the continent.
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
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)