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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

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
18 Jun 2018
Most [of Zimbabwe's presidential candidates] have minimal support bases and the election is likely to simply reinforce this reality. Twenty-three candidates is an unfeasible number of aspirants. For some candidates it is about principle and symbolism; for others it may well be little more than egotistical vanity project or something bordering in self-delusion. Bulawayo24 News

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
4 May 2018
[President of Zimbabwe] Mnangagwa needs legitimacy and cash. He can’t get cash until he gets legitimacy. Financial Times

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
21 Feb 2018
[Zimbabwe's] MDC [opposition party] needs enigmatic leadership that can inspire, lead and build a party that faces huge organisational and leadership challenges. No single leader can achieve this alone. Daily News

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
15 Feb 2018
[Zimbabwe's veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's] passing is of terrible sadness but represents enormous challenge to the new cadre of leadership in the opposition. VOA

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa

Latest Updates

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.

Commentary / Africa

Standoff in Zimbabwe as Struggle to Succeed Mugabe Deepens

President Robert Mugabe plunged Zimbabwe into political crisis by firing his long-time ally and enforcer Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 6 November 2017. In this Q&A prior to an apparent army coup in Mnangagwa's favour on 14-15 November, Crisis Group’s Senior Southern Africa Consultant Piers Pigou gives the background to the struggle to succeed the 93-year-old president.