International Crisis Group Warns Of Turmoil In Zimbabwe

“A wide range of problems could return Zimbabwe to where it was a year ago – on the edge of collapse – if the long-ruling Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu-PF) party and the military leadership maintain an intransigent stance on the reforms for economic and political stability,” the Brussels-based group said.

A year ago, Mugabe and his political rival Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formed a power-sharing government, aimed at ending a decade of political and economic crisis and eventually leading to new elections.

The think tank said the resistance of powerful security leaders and in-fighting between and within Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and the MDC needed to be addressed.

“The military leadership and other Mugabe loyalists in Zanu-PF are using their symbiotic relationship with the state apparatus to exercise veto power over the transition,” said Francois Grignon, Africa programme director.

A relatively small number of senior officials oppose reforms, motivated by the fear of losing power, wealth and impunity, said the group.

Power struggles

“As Zimbabwe enters its second year under a unity government, the challenges to democratic transformation are in sharp focus,” said Grignon.

The fragile accord, plagued by power struggles, has not succeeded in turning around the economy, the report said.

Some inroads had been made in restoring public services and hyperinflation has ended, but jobs remain scarce and poverty persists, it said.

South African President Jacob Zuma and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) need to press the parties, and especially Mugabe, to see the transition to a successful conclusion, said the group.

In October, Tsvangirai and his party boycotted cabinet for three weeks, accusing the Mugabe camp of being “dishonest and unreliable”.

The boycott was resolved by regional leaders, preventing a possible collapse of the accord. – AFP