SPT – Zimbabwe Update No.4. March 2012: The Shadow of Elections

SPT - Zimbabwe UpdateA great tragedy of the Mugabe regime has been the deconstruction of national institutions, which some analysts have mistaken for a ‘radicalised state.’ In effect Zimbabweans have witnessed a destructive form of vanguardist politics in which a particular party has claimed the right to speak for the majority and in so doing has turned its back on the establishment of stable, functioning national institutions, through which the generality of Zimbabwean citizens could hold those in power to account. In the process, on the one hand, the messaging from the most arrogant section of this elite has increasingly been couched in terms of a priestly imposition of a selective dogma, dressed in a nationalist cloth that provides precious little cover for most of the population. Additionally, through control over the centralised structures of coercion in the country, key members of the security sector have spawned informalised structures of violence that threaten once again to mar the prospects for a generally acceptable election outside of a fuller implementation of the GPA.

On the other hand the countries of the West, through an increasingly problematic sanctions regime, have added to the political gridlock in Zimbabwe in the guise of being the arbiters of global human rights. In the face of the inconsistencies in the application of the ‘right to protect’ by the Atlantic emporium in contemporary global politics, this potentially noble project is in danger of being cast as yet another form of imperial arrogance. Read more

Fri, March 9 2012 » Elections, Zimbabwe Update » Leave a comment

SPT-Zimbabwe Update No.3. June 2011: Beyond Livingstone

SPT - Zimbabwe UpdateThe excitement over the resolutions of the SADC Troika meeting in Livingstone, Zambia, at the end of March 2011, was largely focused on the stronger stance taken by the organ over the abuses of the Mugabe regime, and more particularly the continued obstacles placed by the latter over the implementation of the GPA. In effect however, the Livingstone resolutions brought into effect the major strength of the SADC mediation, which has been to lock the Mugabe regime into structures of accountability. Whatever the weaknesses of the GPA, and there are many, it has forced Zanu PF into closer accountability for its behavior at different levels including cabinet, parliament, JOMIC, the constitutional reform process, SADC, the AU and its relations with the West.

For authoritarian parties like Zanu PF, all these forms of having to answer to various fora are anathema, as they provide varying means of eroding the monopoly of power that the regime has become completely accustomed to. The accumulation of small reforms and the slow dispersal of power provide a major challenge for such structures of authoritarian power, as they provide the possibility of a cumulative momentum of dissent that can be very difficult to control. When combined to the major challenge of the succession problem in Zanu PF, now an very urgent issue in the light of Mugabe’s waning health, these factors have pushed Zanu PF into emergency election mode. Read more

Fri, June 24 2011 » Global Political Agreement, Zimbabwe Update » 1 Comment

SPT-Zimbabwe Update No.2. March 2011: The Silencing of the Bones

SPT - Zimbabwe UpdateOver the last few days, I have watched, listened to, and read with growing horror and dismay, about events unfolding in Mount Darwin, Zimbabwe, where human remains are currently being hauled out of mine shafts by completely unqualified individuals. I have examined with great sadness, photographs of dishevelled piles of skulls, long bones and other indiscriminately exhumed human remains.

There are 206 bones in each human body – each hand has 27 bones and each foot has 26, meaning half of our bones are in our hands and feet – does the average war veteran currently hurling around the dead in Mount Darwin know this, or care? What is happening to all those delicate wrist and hand bones, in the chaos that is going on?

Does the average Mount Darwin exhumer understand that in order to age, or sex, a set of human remains, they need to be complete – an expert will consider various indicators on a human skull, pelvis, long bones and a particular rib, before drawing a probable conclusion on whether the deceased is male, or female, and 18 years or 65 years old. Knowing that the majority of people in a particular site are of a certain age and sex, for example, could help unravel the circumstances of their deaths. But this opportunity has already been largely taken away by the fact that it is not possible to be sure which bones make up which person at this stage. Read more

Thu, March 24 2011 » Conflict resolution, History, Human rights, Zimbabwe Update » 1 Comment

SPT-Zimbabwe Update No.1. March 2011: The effects of the events in North Africa on Zimbabwean Politics

SPT - Zimbabwe UpdateGiven the economic and political convulsions that have marked Zimbabwean politics for the last decade, it is not surprising that the momentous events in North Africa have been imported and constructed in contested ways by the major political players in Zimbabwe. With the Zimbabwean landscape torn by the polemical rupture between the redistributive language of the ruling party Zanu PF that has monopolized the legacy of the liberation struggle, and the opposition MDCs and civic movement that were formatively shaped by the politics of human rights and constitutionalism from the 1990’s, the complex events of the Maghreb have resonated differently within Zimbabwe.

Mugabe’s Zanu PF have responded with a combination of renewed coercion of opposition and civic leaders, and combined this with the launch of their campaign for the next election which could take place in either 2011 or 2012. Soon after the events in Tunisia and Egypt, Zanu PF organized a form of pre-emptive demonstrations and violence demanding a greater indigenization of the economy. Read more

Thu, March 17 2011 » History, Zimbabwe Update » Leave a comment