Zimbabwe Reforms Stalled – Report

The strained coalition between long-time President Robert Mugabe and his chief rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, has failed to stop political violence or secure a lasting economic recovery, said the non-profit advocacy group.

“Slow and inadequate progress in implementing the compromise they reached three years ago threatens to push Zimbabwe’s contending forces into premature elections and undermine political and economic recovery,” the group said.

“Opportunities to build a foundation for sustainable political and economic recovery are consistently undermined,” it added.

“Violence and repression are pressing concerns; the police appear unwilling or unable to provide effective deterrence or remedy.”

The report comes after a spike in violence this month that has seen police fire tear gas into Tsvangirai’s party headquarters and pro-Mugabe militants stone a Tsvangirai rally outside Harare.

The rivals signed the power-sharing deal in September 2008 amid an economic collapse and disputed elections marred by deadly attacks on Tsvangirai’s supporters.

Prospects diminishing

The deal was meant to implement reforms that would stem the violence and pave the way to new polls.

But Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the security forces have remained firmly in Mugabe’s grip. And the process of drafting a new constitution is running more than a year behind schedule.

The report said the reform process had been complicated by debate within Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party over who will succeed the 87-year-old leader, amid speculation he has prostate cancer.

It also said regional mediators, led by President Jacob Zuma, had failed to follow up tough talk on Mugabe with concrete action.

“Prospects for constructive engagement are diminishing, which makes it difficult to see how even minimal conditions for free and fair elections will be secured,” it concludes.

The International Crisis Group issues regular analysis and reports on conflicts across the world.- AFP