Thursday, July 26, 2007

Post Mugabe quandry

As the Zimbabwean crisis deepens, analysts are already exploring which political party would be best equipped to turn around the country’s fortunes in the post-Mugabe era.

Many observers, including outgoing United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, have predicted the demise of President Robert Mugabe’s regime in six months. Mugabe has no choice but to step down by September this year, for the good of himself, the country and his ruling Zanu-PF party, said ZANU-PF insider Ibbo Mandaza....

Zimbabwe faces a combined presidential and parliamentary election early next year which many are pinning their hopes on to bring about much-needed change to the country. However, commentators say the poll may not in itself be the solution, even if it is held in a free and fair atmosphere.

It’s thought South African president Thabo Mbeki, who is currently seeking to mediate in the Zimbabwean political crisis, and Britain, the former colonial power, prefer a reformed ZANU-PF as the way forward.

But Arthur Mutambara, leader of one of the factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, said this option was unlikely to work.

“The international community, particularly western governments, have shown a keen interest in the jockeying for positions among ZANU-PF factions, which seems to imply that if any one of the factions were to successfully replace Mugabe they would consider normalising relations with Zimbabwe,” he wrote in an opinion piece for a Zimbabwean news site.

“The thinking seems to be that the problem is Robert Mugabe the person, and that anyone else will do just fine.”

In his piece, Mutambara argues that ZANU-PF as a political construct is beyond redemption and should not have a future in the new Zimbabwe, “First and foremost, the Zimbabwean crisis is bigger than the person of Robert Mugabe. There are institutional, structural and systemic dimensions to the challenges we are facing....

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