The Brussels-based International Crisis Group has released a report expressing concern over violence in Zimbabwe,
fearing it could escalate and lead to a military coup or martial law unless African and other international leaders help negotiate a government of national unity led by Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the oppositin Movement for Democratic Change.
The report dubbed “Negotiating Zimbabwe’s Transition” accused hardliners in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party, including senior military leaders, of trying to retain power by force.
It blamed the Mugabe camp of sponsoring violence to prevent Mr Tsvangirai from winning the 27 June presidential run-off.
MDC alerted a plot to assassinate some of its leadership, including Tsvangirai upon return to Zimbabwe for the re-run campaign.
“Given the level of violence, there seems almost no way to hold a credible second-round vote”, says Francois Grignon, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director.
“All parties should still aim for this in the best conditions possible, but a negotiated solution between ZANU-PF and the MDC should be the higher priority, since it is far likelier to resolve the crisis peacefully”.
The group suggested an African-led mediation with wider international backing to give the best chance for a peaceful and definitive resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis.
Such a mediation should secure an agreement between the MDC and Zanu-PF, removes the need for a run-off and obtain guarantees for security service loyalty to an MDC-led administration, the group suggested.
Upon attaining power, Tsvangirai has been advised to reach out to his foes and form a government that includes Zanu-PF moderates.
The Brussels group also advised security guarantees for Mr Mugabe, the military and others.
“If the hardliners retain their power through violence and/or fraud, African and other states and the Security Council will need to treat the regime as illegitimate and take other appropriate measures.
However, with strong African-led mediation, concerted wider international backing and political will from both the MDC and moderate elements of Zanu-PF, a solution can be found to this crisis”, said Andebrhan Giorgis, Crisis Group’s Africa Senior Adviser.
By staff writer