Zimbabwe is in flux. There are regular protests, especially in the capital, over currency and food shortages, unemployment, and alleged government corruption and mismanagement. Observers say an effective political solution may not be soon in coming, VOA reports:
Participants in a recent symposium at the Washington-based U.S. Institute of Peace looked at some of the challenges facing Zimbabwe, and they agreed that its citizens and the international community alike would favor a “soft landing” in a post-Mugabe future. Symposium participant Alex Vines, head of the Africa Program at the London-based policy institute Chatham House, said the West has become complacent and has lost contact with the military and with different factions within the ruling party.
“If we get into a really uncertain and unpredictable security situation in Zimbabwe,” he said, “it will be the military that will have a role in managing that process. … I believe the military will play a key role … in whatever happens, as a kingmaker in whatever coalition or inclusive political entity that might come up [between] the opposition and parts that have split from ZANU-PF. The military is really central here.”
Many Zimbabweans blame the sanctions for their suffering, rather than the government, Vines said.
“I do believe that … ZANU-PF and Robert Mugabe won the propaganda battle about sanctions, and I’m surprised at how many well-educated Zimbabweans from civil society and others blame sanctions partly for economic woes and not economic policies,” he said. “It has been used as a fig leaf to hide financial mismanagement and other problems. That was one of the drivers for the European Union and Australia to significantly reduce their targeted measures on Zimbabwe to Mugabe, the first lady and Zimbabwe Defense Industries, and I do believe the U.S. and Canada … need to [revise their outdated sanctions] lists very carefully.”