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Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign
Group Board calls for New Zimbabwe compact
The International Crisis Group (Crisis Group)
March 26, 2007
An urgent regional initiative to produce a settlement for the conflict
in Zimbabwe is needed to save the country from its deepening crisis.
At a meeting
of its Board of Trustees on the weekend, the International Crisis
Group expressed its outrage at the state-sponsored violence against
Zimbabwe’s political opposition. If more violence is to be averted,
Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party and opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), together with the international community, must urgently
agree on joint political strategy that will restore the country
to democracy. South Africa and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) should play a leading role.
latest campaign of violence and repression is deplorable. But the
regime is not succeeding in cowing the opposition into submission.
Zimbabwe’s political opposition has emerged determined and re-energised
– and now needs all the support it can get.
Over the last
two weeks, the government has spearheaded a brutal crackdown on
opposition groups. On 11 March, riot police disrupted a rally organised
by a coalition of political, religious and civic groups in a Harare
suburb, shooting dead one opposition activist, Mr Gift Tandare,
and leaving dozens of others injured. Some 40 opposition leaders,
among them MDC leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, were
detained and severely beaten in police custody.
brutal tactics come against a backdrop of chronic food shortages,
staggeringly high inflation and unemployment, and increasing government
repression against all forms of dissent. All Zimbabweans are suffering
as a result of this deteriorating economic and political situation.
within the ruling ZANU-PF party, recognising that the end-game for
President Robert Mugabe is near and their own political survival
is at stake, are exploring options for a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. But
a deal that in effect maintains the status quo minus Mugabe would
not reverse the country’s dramatic downward slide.
requires an inclusive transition process, resulting in a democratic
leadership chosen in a free and fair election that will offer
a real chance for economic revival. The ruling ZANU-PF, opposition
and civil society groups must now come together to hammer out
such a negotiated solution to the crisis.
international community should actively support the process –
including by facilitating Mugabe’s exit; mediating between the
parties; and defining a clear sequence of benchmarks that would
lead to genuine democratic reform.
Events of the
last few weeks show that the situation in Zimbabwe is dangerously
unstable. The international community – and regional actors, in
particular – must step in to prevent the country imploding by supporting
a negotiated settlement. It is high time to stop the suffering of
the people of Zimbabwe.
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