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津巴布韦:通向改革之路还是再次陷入困境?
津巴布韦:通向改革之路还是再次陷入困境?
Report 173 / Africa

津巴布韦:通向改革之路还是再次陷入困境?

执行摘要

针对那些被认为是津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线(ZANU-PF)的敌人的暴力越来越激烈,这暴露了已经大为延误的津巴布韦改革进程的局限性,以及全面政治协议(GPA)遭到破坏的危险。穆加贝总统呼吁提早选举,这加剧了人们对重蹈2008年暴力的担心。茨万吉拉伊总理已向地区发出了求助的呼吁。最终的选举是不可避免的,但没有能强制执行并具有可信性的改革,津巴布韦将面临另一次不合法选举和根深蒂固的两极分化与危机。全面政治协议的担保人——非洲联盟(AU)和南部非洲发展共同体(SADC)及其由南非领导的协调小组——要进行艰苦斗争以确保改革实施。津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线愈加自信自己可以恐吓对手并阻挠改革,而且,对于争取民主变革运动—茨万吉拉伊(MDC-T)的能力,内部和外部的信心都在逐渐减弱。穆加贝的健康和津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线的权力继承带来的政治动荡使问题更为复杂。如果对于津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线没有更强有力的国际压力,目前脆弱的联盟很可能会崩溃,将引发更多的暴力并给南部非洲带来更严重的后果。

由三个政党(津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线、争取民主变革运动—茨万吉拉伊、争取民主变革运动—穆坦巴拉)于2008年9月签署的全面政治协议本来旨在提供一个能应对多重政治和经济危机的基础,但它却已经成为了争夺国家未来控制权的战场。津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线连同未曾改革的安全部门领导(即“安全官僚们”)阻止权力进行民主移交的能力依然如在2008年时一样,丝毫没有受到影响。国家媒体仍然荒诞不公,刑事司法系统继续被用作针对津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线反对者的武器,特别是用来针对争取民主变革运动—茨万吉拉伊。

全面政治协议改革的核心是由议会主导的制宪进程,它接受宪法议会事务(选择)委员会(COPAC)的指导。该机构在2010年下半年发起了一项推广方案,但一些公民社会组织和争取民主变革运动—茨万吉拉伊批评其远不具备包容性和开放性,指责津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线已经占有和操纵了整个进程。然而,许多津巴布韦人仍然认为制定宪法实践对于国家进步十分重要。虽然已经开始起草宪法,并会推进到召开全体利益相关者会议、获得议会批准和举行全民公决,但这每一步都有可能招致反对、拖延和困惑。

争取民主变革运动的两个政党认为宪法议会事务(选择)委员会必须在举行选举前完成制宪工作,但津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线表示,无论有没有新的宪法,选举都可以进行,并将其在民主改革上的合作与取消那些针对津巴布韦的国际制裁联系起来。而对于国际制裁的取消,争取民主变革运动的两个政党都没有控制权。在2011年2月底,协调小组访问哈拉雷,促进了三个政党的领袖承诺实施他们在2010年8月签订的协议,解决的那些悬而未决的全面政治协议问题。这不包括对于在宪法公决后的选举顺序的承诺。然而,由于无法自行商定达成一个相关计划,政党领导者委托调解人来制定选举前的行动路线图。

全面政治协议的担保人和调解团队一直到最近才没有再对解决进展缓慢的协议进程采取直接回避的态度。不过,在2011年3月31日,南部非洲发展共同体的三驾马车(纳米比亚、莫桑比克和赞比亚)已经注意到全面政治协议的实施及相关事宜缺乏进展,并且暴力和恐吓程度有所上升,因此已拟定解决目前情况的必要措施。这是一项重大进展,这公开表明了强硬的态度,并且反映了地区组织内部,对于全面政治协议的签署方(尤其是津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线)的失望。争取民主变革运动—茨万吉拉伊对公报表示欢迎,因为这是对于它以及公民社会群体所表达的多重不满的直接回应。津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线和穆加贝已经对此予以反驳,表示不会容忍外部干涉,哪怕干涉来自邻国。未来几个月将决定南部非洲发展共同体是否能够通过具体行动履行其承诺,包括推动改革议程和可持续过渡的前景。这反过来也将表明举行可信选举的条件的存在。

恐怖和暴力日益恶化,这意味着安全部门改革(SSR)应该是最紧迫的挑战。此外,重要的机构需要得到加强,这包括议会委员会和人权、媒体以及选举委员会。除了这些措施外,全面政治协议还规定,应对民间社会提供持续支持,以使其参与各类机构的事务。然而,如果宪法草案不完成制定,即使全面政治协议中所包括的甚至是有限的安全部门改革也不可能得到有效实施。

调解小组认识到它需要在津巴布韦保持持续存在。它的路线图应该对已经完成和未完成的事项进行审视,并指出各党能够和不能达到的目标。如果进一步分享权力不可避免,那么对当前安排的失败做出务实的评估是必要的。担保人和调解团队在评估方面依赖于由全面和平协议设立的联合监督与执行委员会(JOMIC),该委员会由三个签字方各派出四名成员所组成。但由于缺乏足够的监督能力,没有执法杠杆以及无法解决政府内部的权力失衡,联合监测与执行委员会未能完成其使命。鉴于认识到该委员会表现不佳,南非发展共同体三架马车建议加强调解小组的监控和报告能力,从而可以与其更加密切地合作。定期审议机制规定的应与担保人协商下提供的年度进展回顾尚未完成,尽管政党领袖最近同意对此进行更正。而担保人必须保证进行全面审查。

该路线图应呼吁政治领导者集体确立清晰的优先事项,并应特别关注如何确保创造利于可信选举的条件。正如在最近的三架马车峰会所称道的那样,南部非洲发展共同体的“管理民主选举的原则和准则”提供了可接受的参考框架。为宪法草案举行公决会是测试选举条件是否成熟的一个重要机会。

全面政治协议仍然提供了一个连贯的框架,使可信选举的条件到位。然而,选举进展依旧受到阻碍,因为津巴布韦非洲民族联盟—爱国阵线还没有对民主改革表现出可信的承诺,而争取民主变革运动—茨万吉拉伊也不足以强大到迫使民主改革通过。全面政治协议担保人和南非如今已经表示他们准备采取一个更为实际的方法,虽然目前还不清楚这将如何体现。重要的是他们与津巴布韦政治领袖持续接触,督促他们认真履行承诺,并为达到南部非洲发展共同体公报所设定的具体步骤而制定清晰的基准和时间表。许多关键改革已经获得批准,加快执行这些关键的改革非常必要,因为只有适当的条件到位,才能举行可信的选举。  

哈拉雷/约翰内斯堡/内罗毕/布鲁塞尔, 2011年4月27日

Angry protesters barricade the main route to Zimbabwe's capital Harare from Epworth township after the government announced a hike in fuel prices, on 14 January 2019. AFP/Jekesai Njikizana
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.

What triggered this explosion of unrest?

On 12 January, in response to persistent fuel shortages compounded by manipulation and mismanagement of a currency crisis, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a fuel price hike of over 200 per cent to $3.31 per litre – making the country’s petrol price the highest in the world. It is unclear how this move would address the shortages, outside of pricing fuel out of the reach of many; already, the knock-on effects of transport and commodity price increases are adding evident stress to ordinary Zimbabweans’ lives.

The massive rise sparked a general strike, along with widespread protests, which in many areas was characterised by violence and considerable destruction of property. Those behind the strike did not call for demonstrations, but thousands, especially young people, took to the streets, with many looting shops and burning cars or buildings. Protests were concentrated in and around the main opposition strongholds, the capital Harare and Bulawayo, but also appeared in cities elsewhere across the country. In turn the government ordered a vicious clampdown – deploying soldiers as well as police.

At the end of the second day of protests on 15 January, Zimbabwe’s Doctors for Human Rights released a statement saying “hundreds shot, tens estimated dead in rampant rights violations across Zimbabwe”. Their assessment included reports of 107 patients treated for gunshot and blunt trauma wounds. For days after that, it was hard to obtain updated casualty figures. The government blocked internet services, both at the outset of the unrest and again on 18 January, severely disrupting the flow of information and contributing to widespread confusion.

The scale of violence is the worst the country has witnessed in some time.

On 18 January, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum was able to publish consolidated statistics counting 844 human rights violations during the general strike. These numbers include: at least twelve killings; at least 78 gunshot injuries; at least 242 cases of assault, torture or inhumane and degrading treatment, including dog bites; 466 arbitrary arrests and detentions; and many displacements (with the number being verified). Other violations are invasion of privacy, obstruction of movement, and limitation of media freedoms and access to information. 

Protesters have also engaged in intimidation, violence, vandalism and looting. The government confirmed that they stoned one police officer to death; there are several unconfirmed reports of fatalities and injuries among the security forces. The extent of the property damage has yet to be determined, though human rights groups have documented at least 46 instances. The country’s main cities are at a standstill.

The government and media have accused the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), trade unions and civil society groups backed by foreign funders (the U.S. and Germany were named) of orchestrating the protests as part of a campaign to undermine the government and elevate the MDC’s leader, Nelson Chamisa, into office. Such accusations are par for the course when the government faces protests; based on past experience, it seems unlikely it will supply compelling evidence to support these claims.

Did the unrest come out of the blue?

Anger at the government has been building for some time. On my last visit to the capital Harare in December 2018, the country’s economic woes were plain to see. Prices in shops were soaring, retailers were closing down and queues for petrol were lengthening as the country struggled to juggle payments for competing import priorities. Control over the country’s fuel supply is in the hands of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), and the huge financial benefits that come with it are reportedly causing factional rivalry. There is widespread public speculation that the shortages are caused by inter-elite squabbles or even deliberately engineered.

People in Harare complain that the administration is akin to a new driver in an old taxi.

The price hike thus ignited the already dry tinder on the ground. On 13 January, one day after the announcement, civil society groups backed a call by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions for a three-day “stayaway”, or general strike.

Underlying the skyrocketing prices of fuel, food and other goods is a currency crisis that has been worsening through much of 2018. In 2009, facing similar hyper-inflation, the government abandoned the national currency, and switched the economy over completely to the U.S. dollar. After an election in 2013 in which it ran on a platform of job creation and economic recovery, the ZANU-PF government demonstrated astonishing levels of financial delinquency. It “financed” its own systematic over-expenditure with massive borrowing. Domestic debt, which stood at just $442 million in 2013, surged to $10.5 billion by February 2018 and has climbed further over the last year. In 2016, as more and more dollars drained out of the economy, the government introduced a new “bond note” currency, nominally at parity with the dollar, in an attempt to make up for cash shortages, as well as direct electronic payments into bank accounts for goods and services. These payments included the salaries of civil servants, the last bastion of formal employment. It was the equivalent of printing money over and above the value of the reserves in the central bank.

The government continues to claim parity between the bond note, electronic balances and the dollar. With most financial transactions being cashless, this mythology of official parity was maintained, although the bond notes and electronic reserves were trading at a lower rate. But both the latter quasi-currencies have rapidly depreciated since the government introduced fiscal and monetary reforms in October, leading prices for goods and services to spike across the board. The runaway inflation in turn has prompted panic buying and widespread shortages of critical goods such as medicines. It has cut the value of ordinary citizens’ earnings and savings by more than half, further impoverishing an already struggling populace.

In the weeks following the fiscal reforms, as purchasing power evaporated, the entire public-sector work force began organising to confront the government. Since early December, Zimbabwean doctors have been at loggerheads with the government, crippling central parts of an already degraded health care system. On 8 January, the Apex Council, an umbrella body representing civil servants, issued the government the statutory two-week notice that it would call a general strike to protest the government’s refusal to pay civil servants in hard currency, namely U.S. dollars.

Is there precedent for this level of violence accompanying protests in Zimbabwe?

The scale of violence is the worst the country has witnessed in some time. Before 1 August 2018, when the military shot dead six civilians in Harare, Zimbabwe’s security forces did not use live ammunition in crowd control. Now they seem to rely on it.

In another escalation, the government has deployed the military to suppress protests and make arrests, highlighting the ineffectiveness of the police or, as some believe, that the government does not trust the police to crack down on protests with sufficient fervour. The response also reflects an embedded military influence in government decision making and could usher in a new phase of repression in Zimbabwe.

Nor has the country seen a comparable level of violence, looting and destruction by ordinary Zimbabweans. Some of it is undoubtedly orchestrated, but most appears to be spontaneous. More than ever, young people are willing to confront the government in the streets, reflecting desperation and their deep-seated frustration. Anecdotes are surfacing of huge sections of road being shut down and railway carriages being dragged off the rails and into the streets, signaling new levels of revolt. Such actions suggest a growing number of Zimbabweans are less risk averse in terms of a confrontational approach, adding a highly dangerous new element into the mix.

Just fifteen months ago, a coup forced strongman Robert Mugabe from office. Wasn’t Zimbabwe full of hope then?

The optimism that accompanied the ouster of long-time President Robert Mugabe in November 2017 has evaporated. For a time, many Zimbabweans thought his replacement, Mnangagwa, might be a reformer, though he had long been a ruling-party stalwart who was Mugabe’s vice president. The international community, including a number of critics, were prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Now, however, cynicism is growing in many quarters, albeit for diverse reasons. There are signs of discontent even among ZANU-PF loyalists and members of the security forces, who are also bearing the brunt of economic decay.

Controversy blighted Zimbabwe’s much anticipated elections on 30 July 2018, even though the courts endorsed the outcome. Many believe that the use of state resources in Mnangagwa’s favour pushed him over the finish line in the presidential contest. Unprecedented spending by the government ahead of the elections contradicted promises of financial prudence. The MDC refuses to recognise Mnangagwa’s government as legitimate, while the government accuses the opposition of being unpatriotic and promoting a nefarious regime change agenda. The country is polarised, attitudes on both sides have hardened and prospects for bridge-building have withered.

Since the elections, the new government has managed to deliver few tangible results. People in Harare complain that the administration is akin to a new driver in an old taxi. Many see the government simply as a reconfiguration of the ZANU-PF, now freed from Mugabe but dominated by security-sector interests and factions aligned to the new president.

Questions are also surfacing over President Mnangagwa’s judgment. He left the country immediately after announcing the fuel price hike, ostensibly to search for trade deals in Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. But such deals are unlikely to resolve the immediate economic issues facing Zimbabwe: while he may drum up some foreign investment in the country, those governments will not provide much needed budgetary support. Nobody believes that Mnangagwa will enjoy anything like the enthusiastic reception he got last year if he goes, as planned, to this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

Already in December, one of Zimbabwe’s leading political scientists was telling me that “the light at the end of the tunnel has gone out”. He meant that Mnangagwa’s government, while consolidating its authority politically, would be unable to deliver a sustainable, broad-based economic recovery.

[F]urther unrest in the coming days, weeks or months is a question of when, rather than if.

What could happen next?

For almost two decades, observers of Zimbabwe have warned of pending economic collapse, mass hunger and social implosion. Conditions steadily worsened, but Zimbabweans employed an impressive array of survival strategies, from emigration producing diaspora remittances to work in the informal sector, where “making a plan”, as per a common expression, has become something of an art form. The apparent stability has fed complacency, a sense that Zimbabwe can keep on bumping along the bottom. But evidence on the streets now suggests that may no longer be true.

The security clampdown is continuing. Notwithstanding its chilling effect on some potential protesters, further unrest in the coming days, weeks or months is a question of when, rather than if. Another initiative for a general strike is already in motion; calls for a “Stayaway 2” on 23-25 January are circulating on social media. Key questions are how organised it will be, given the likelihood that many organisers of the initial street actions are detained, and how the state will respond. Already, there is a de facto nationwide shutdown as towns and city centres remain empty. People cannot move freely because transport is too expensive. Many cannot afford to go to work.

Zimbabwe desperately needs reform if the government is to keep the country reasonably stable and preserve its re-engagement with international donors

At the same time, the information gap makes it difficult to judge what is happening. Amid endemic misinformation and fake news, some exaggeration of the country’s disarray is likely in play. But in any case, it is unlikely that the mood of confrontation will dissipate quickly. The government may be able to put a lid on unrest and take activists off the streets, but that will not address the conditions that have brought people out. More confrontational protests seem inevitable even if the crackdown curbs protests for now.

What should outside powers do about Zimbabwe’s crisis?

The biggest challenge at this juncture is to get the government to do something about the unrest besides shoot and arrest protesters. Zimbabwe desperately needs reform if the government is to keep the country reasonably stable and preserve its re-engagement with international donors, a process that started with Mugabe’s ouster. To pull off that reform, it needs broad political consensus, including within both the ruling party and the opposition, but also within other social constituencies. The country is polarised on multiple fronts – ideally the government would commit to supporting the development and implementation of some form of national reconciliation strategy to at least start to heal these divisions. For now, however, such a strategy is not even part of political discourse.

It is unclear, however, who has the leverage to nudge the government from repression to reform – or if anyone wants to do so. In the neighbourhood, the Southern African Development Community did not immediately respond to the unrest. Wider international reaction has been muted. Civil society groups have expressed concern and diaspora groups have marched in Johannesburg. But the South African government, traditionally engaged in Zimbabwean politics, has downplayed the situation. With the prospect of more bloodshed and large-scale refugee flight, the region, and indeed the world, cannot afford to ignore the crisis.