The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front should decide conclusively who will succeed President Robert Mugabe at its congress in December to avoid prolonged uncertainty and a possible crisis should Mugabe be incapacitated or decide not to seek re-election in 2018.
The party should also seek to rebuild trust and collaborations with domestic and international constituencies by holding an inclusive national dialogue with the opposition and civil society on political, social and economic reforms; and should clarify key policy areas such as indigenisation, land reform and the rule of law, as well as anticorruption initiatives.
These are some of the recommendations by the International Crisis Group in its report on Zimbabwe entitled: Zimbabwe: Waiting for the future, released today.
The ICG was once a prolific producer of reports on Zimbabwe but its interest seems to have waned of late. The current report is the first since the July 2013 elections but it paints a bleak picture of the post-election Zimbabwe.
“A year on, the country faces multiple social and economic problems, spawned by endemic governance failures and compounded by a debilitating ruling party succession crisis. Both ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai are embroiled in major internal power struggles that distract from addressing the corrosion of the social and economic fabric. Zimbabwe is an insolvent and failing state, its politics zero sum, its institutions hollowing out, and its once vibrant economy moribund,” it says.
ICG says Zimbabwe needs a new culture change among political elites, as well as commitment to national as opposed to partisan and personal interests.
It says neither the government, nor the opposition has a plan that the country is willing to rally behind.
“ZANU-PF’s Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) is predicated on populist election promises and wishful thinking. The government has squeezed the beleaguered tax base further, securing limited fiscal remedy and generating resentment. The MDC-T and other opposition parties are sidelined. Their cachet with international players has been severely dented. Prospects for a common opposition agenda are remote, as is any chance of inclusive national dialogue to map the way forward. For the first time since 2007, the MDC-T is suggesting mass protest is a real option, but if past performance is any indicator, ZANU-PF will redeploy security forces when required.”
But for a change, the ICG sees a role for China is reviving the country’s economy. It says China should encourage Zimbabwe’s government to promote political inclusiveness and policy coherence in efforts to resuscitate the economy.
The ICG, it seems, would like sanctions on Zimbabwe to be maintained. It says countries implementing sanctions and other measures against Zimbabwe such as the United States, the European Union and Australia should promote a coherent position that:
- clarifies what measures the government should take to expedite removal of remaining sanctions;
- consolidates re-engagement and development support contingent on progress with economic and governance reforms;
- takes visible steps to strengthen democracy-supporting institutions, including an independent judiciary and human rights and election institutions, as well as support civil society’s capacity to monitor and protect constitutional rights.