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Zimbabwe Special Briefing – Volume 1
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (SA Regional Office)
April 30, 2013

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Professor Raftopoulos’ presentation at the Cape Town public seminar focused on regional and international developments which affect political developments in Zimbabwe. He pointed out that the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that brought about the Zimbabwe Government of National Unity was meant to prepare necessary conditions for an acceptable free and fair election in Zimbabwe. According to Professor Raftopoulos, the year 2008 was crucial because for the first time the party that carried the torch of liberation for 28 years lost an election and refused to give up power. This is very crucial because it is a message to the liberation movements in the region that the legacy of liberation has to be constantly renewed and that the aspiration for one person one vote that drove people to fight for independence has to be respected.

Prof. Raftopoulos added that demands by the opposition parties and civil society for reforms like security sector realignment and speedy full implementation of provisions of the Global Political Agreement are also being made by the region and international players interested in Zimbabwe. This means that all the parties will be seeking legitimacy on two fronts.

He gave an example of President Jacob Zuma’s recommendations to the 9 March 2013 SADC Troika meeting discussing Zimbabwe in which he emphasised on the need for speedy implementation of the outstanding GPA provisions and also that the issue of security sector realignment cannot be ignored any longer. He also gave an example of a recent communiqué released by the Friends of Zimbabwe acknowledging the importance of SADC mediation in Zimbabwe. Like SADC, their key demand is the full implementation of the GPA. There is a convergence of agreement between the regional and international players on Zimbabwe.

In terms of setting election dates and other crucial decisions pertaining to Zimbabwe’s transitional processes, Professor Raftopoulos added that no party has the right to unilaterally make decisions. He pointed out that it is crucial that Zimbabwe is able to manage processes which gives us the right to vote without violence and give pax the right to vote in a violence free election and take Zimbabwe forward.

In Prof. Raftopoulos’ opinion, even if Zimbabwe manages to hold a free and fair election, balance of power re-mains crucial. Given the nature of polarization and the amount of support enjoyed by the main political parties in the country, no party will have dorminant control. There is thus need for all political parties to work together. Parties should engage in dialogue to avoid issues like militarist positioning as witnessed in 2008. An election alone will not resolve the Zimbabwe situation.

His message to Zanu PF was that it should stop delegitimizing MDC as a puppet of the west that is meant to effect regime change in Zimbabwe because the MDC is a legitimate force that emerged from national processes and so has a right to equal participation. He also emphasised that sovereignty is not only from the gun but from the will of the people.

According to Prof Raftopoulos, violence in the coming elections will be prevented through intolerance from SADC and international players who of late have been converging in terms of understanding the Zimbabwe situation.

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