‘Without reform we face vote sham’

May 8, 2011 at 3:05 am Leave a comment

SUNDAY TIMES CORRESPONDENT
Influential think-tank the International Crisis Group has warned the African Union and the Southern African Development Community that Zimbabwe faces another illegitimate election if the polls are conducted without credible and enforceable reforms.
ICG joins human rights organisations, SADC and civic organisations in putting pressure on President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party to fully implement the Global Political Agreement which brought about the inclusive government in Zimbabwe.

In a report titled: Zimbabwe: The Road to Reform or Another Dead End? ICG said the violence against Zanu-PF’s opponents that escalated in Zimbabwe in the past few months was a reflection that lack of reform is seriously threatening the GPA.

The report comes more than a month after the SADC troika on politics, defence and security rebuked Mugabe over the use of violence in dealing with opponents and also over the continued arrest and intimidation of Zanu-PF opponents.

“Eventual elections are inevitable, but without credible, enforceable reforms, Zimbabwe faces another illegitimate vote and prospects of entrenched polarisation and crisis. GPA guarantors – the AU and the SADC and its South African-led facilitation team – have an uphill battle to secure implementation.

“Zanu-PF is increasingly confident it can intimidate opponents and frustrate reform, and there is waning faith, internally and externally, in the MDC-T’s capability. Mugabe’s health and Zanu-PF’s succession turmoil are further complications. Without stronger international pressure on Zanu-PF, the tenuous current coalition may collapse, triggering further violence and grave consequences for Southern Africa.”

ICG had words of praise for SADC, saying the Livingstone troika outcome took a bold decision to push for reforms in Zimbabwe.

The report says this was a significant development, which illustrated a public hardening of attitudes and increasing frustration within the region towards the GPA signatories, particularly Zanu-PF.

Negotiators from the GPA were due to end a three-day meeting in Cape Town yesterday where they were expected to come up with a final road map to elections and where the remaining outstanding issues, especially the security sector reforms, were to be discussed.

The meetings were being held amid reports that Zimbabwe’s security sector leadership had expressed concern that the Zanu-PF’s negotiators – Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche – were giving in too much to the MDC negotiators. Reports say they are now under instructions to harden their stance at the talks.

The ICG further said: “The next few months will determine whether the SADC can follow its words by producing action that advances the reform agenda and prospects for a sustainable transition.

“That in turn will indicate whether the conditions necessary for credible elections exist.”

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