Zimbabwe crisis resolution 'unlikely'

2011-08-15 11:46

Special Report

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Harare - A summit of Southern African leaders this week is unlikely to have an impact on the political crisis in Zimbabwe given the lack of regional consensus on the issue, analysts say.

The fragile power-sharing government between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and rival Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to feature prominently when leaders from the Southern African Development Community meet on Wednesday and Thursday in the Angolan capital, Luanda.

But analysts voiced doubt the leaders would take definitive action on Zimbabwe, whose "unity government" has restored a measure of stability since violent elections in 2008 but is stalled over the drafting of a new constitution meant to pave the way to fresh polls.

"I don't foresee the resolution of the Zimbabwe issue at the Luanda summit," Takavafira Zhou, a political scientist at Masvingo State University, told AFP.

"To get all the leaders to agree on Zimbabwe is impossible," he said, adding that Mugabe has the support of fellow liberation movement veterans who fought the region's colonial regimes.

The Zimbabwe crisis has divided the SADC between liberation leaders who were comrades-in-arms with members of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and a new generation of politicians riding on the agenda of democracy and good governance.

Those old friendships have complicated the SADC's efforts to break the impasse between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

The rivals remain at loggerheads over new elections, with Mugabe insisting polls go ahead this year with or without a new constitution, while Tsvangirai wants the reforms agreed to in their power-sharing pact implemented first.

Last month their parties agreed to an election "roadmap" that would put the new vote in 2012 at the earliest, but Mugabe has undermined it by continuing to call for polls this year.

Optimistic note

Independent political analyst Takura Zhangazha said the Luanda summit will not achieve a breakthrough unless Zimbabwe's leaders iron out their differences.

"I don't think anything will significantly change unless if the principals in the inclusive government were to issue a public statement before the summit, committing themselves to the election roadmap," he told AFP.

But the parties are far from united going into the summit.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo sounded an optimistic note on the meeting's prospects.

"Our expectation is that the summit will come up with a positive outcome for Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe seem to be united now and the summit should support them," he said.

But Douglas Mwonzora, spokesperson for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said SADC leaders should pressure Mugabe to accept reforms, including a human rights bill and security sector reforms, and clear the way for free elections.

"There has not been any movement towards or implementation of the agreed reforms since the last SADC summit," Mwonzora said.

"SADC has to act now. SADC has to help us address the outstanding issues and put pressure on Zanu-PF and Mugabe to do what is right."


Read more on:    sadc  |  mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  rugare gumbo  |  robert mugabe  |  douglas mwonzora  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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