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Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
South Africa

Crisis Group Role

Piers Pigou is Crisis Group's Senior Consultant for Southern Africa. Formerly he was Crisis Group’s Southern Africa Project Director, overseeing the organisation's research and advocacy activities in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Angola.

Areas of Expertise

  • Political violence 
  • Security sector reform
  • Transitional justice issues (including, access to information, reparations, investigations and prosecutions).

Professional Background

Before joining Crisis Group, he served as the Program Manager at the Foundation for Human Rights, as a Senior Associate for Southern Africa at the International Center for Transitional Justice, as the Director of the South African History Archive and as a Research and Advocacy Coordinator at the Institute for Democratic Alternatives in South Africa/Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. Piers also worked for the Truth Commissions in both South Africa and East Timor. He holds a M.A. in Southern African Studies from York University and a B.A. (Hons) in Politics from Portsmouth Polytechnic.

Areas of Expertise

  • English (native)
  • French (basic)

In The News

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 failures of President Mnangagwa’s administration. Al Jazeera

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
8 Mar 2020
South Africa is not saying anything new per se, but appears to have recognised an exclusive reliance on quiet diplomacy had failed to nudge Harare in the right direction. The Daily News

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 security forces as well as concerns about how the votes were counted 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 authoritarian rule by former President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Newsweek

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa

Latest Updates

Q&A / Africa

Revolt and Repression in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean government’s decision to hike fuel prices has sparked fierce opposition. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Senior Consultant Piers Pigou explains how economic hardship is driving ordinary citizens to unprecedented acts of resistance.

Q&A / Africa

Land Reform in South Africa: Fact and Fiction

U.S. President Donald Trump touched off a diplomatic row with South Africa by repeating an erroneous broadcast about land reform there. In this Q&A, our Southern Africa Senior Consultant Piers Pigou sets the record straight about the land ownership and expropriation debates that are really underway in South Africa today.

Commentary / Africa

After Elections, Zimbabwe Government’s Legitimacy in Limbo

Zimbabwe’s disputed elections have reinforced political divisions as the Constitutional Court hears an opposition challenge of the results. The military crackdown on opposition protesters highlights the urgency of reform if the government is to preserve stability and, by extension, its re-engagement strategy with international donors.

Q&A / Africa

Tensions Rise Ahead of Zimbabwe’s Elections

On 30 July Zimbabwe will hold elections. For the first time since independence Robert Mugabe is not a candidate. His successor presents himself as a reformer – but many doubt the polls will be clean. The opposition warns that Zimbabweans will not tolerate another stolen election.

Commentary / Africa

Zimbabwe’s Very Peculiar Coup

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.