Time for comprehensive resolution of Zim crisis

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IN 2008, Zimbabwe sank to its worst economic and social meltdown ever. It was a culmination of a decade-long recession resulting from poor governance, political mudslinging and lack of goodwill.

So bad was the situation that the nation went hungry, political opponents were at each other’s throats and Zimbabwe hogged the international limelight for all the wrong reasons.

A disputed presidential election run-off in which the late former president Robert Mugabe was the sole candidate made the situation grave, triggering an intervention by the regional Sadc bloc after realising that the country was teetering on the brink of collapse.

Then South African President Thabo Mbeki was appointed mediator and began what was to be a protracted mission to find a solution, which came in 2009 with the formation of the inclusive government.

Mugabe’s Zanu PF, the late former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and MDC, then led by former deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara, found themselves in an alliance that stabilised the situation, albeit with serious challenges.

Twelve years later, Zimbabwe is in the middle of another serious political crisis that has resulted in the economy tanking. Long-suffering Zimbabweans can hardly survive as the economy continues worsening.

Allegations of human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by State functionaries continue to grow.

The deteriorating situation in the country has captured the attention of South African President and also African Union chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa, who has since appointed two envoys — ex-vice president Baleka Mbete and former Local Government minister Sydney Mufamadi — to engage Harare and find ways to resolve the political and economic crises bedevilling Zimbabwe.

Thankfully, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has agreed to open up to the South African envoys.
It is our desire that the South African mediation should be able to comprehensively tackle Zimbabwe’s problems and prescribe sustainable solutions.

A piece-meal approach would see a recurrence of the current political and economic crises. There is need to hammer out a deal that would see the implementation of comprehensive reforms to usher in true democracy and the upholding of justiciable human rights. Chief among the reforms should be transformation of the country’s security sector by depoliticising it and making sure it is professional in the discharge of its duties. There is also apparent need for reforms that would see public media undertaking its mandate and not dance to the tune of the ruling party.

There is a cry for reforms that guarantee peace and individual freedoms to assembly, association and expression.
The South African mediation must result in the re-birth of Zimbabwe through comprehensive and sustainable solutions.

On its part, Zanu PF has vowed not to implement security sector and media reforms, eliciting the ire of the GPA partners and Sadc itself.

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