Zimbabwe: Future Scenarios
With the recent development of the SADC initiative on Zimbabwe, and the enforced nomination of Robert Mugabe as the ZanuPF candidate for “harmonised” elections in 2008, the political problem in Zimbabwe has significantly altered. It is also significant that some dialogue has taken place between factions of ZanuPF and the MDC, apparently brokered by the South African government. These “talks” suggest that some discussion has taken place, within ZanuPF and between ZanuPF and the MDC, on ways to resolve the “succession” problem in ZanuPF. Details of these discussions are not available, but some sources suggest that they have explored at least the possibility of the “soft landing” through a return to the 1980 configuration of a non-executive presidency and the return to having a prime minister. Here it is assumed that Mugabe would be given the presidency in this form in order to provide a modicum of immunity.
As regards the first, all available information indicates that the SADC initiative is serious, and, although the initial reports suggest a focus upon elections only, it must also be assumed that there is, within SADC, some thought being given to approaches aiming at getting Robert Mugabe to relinquish power altogether. Thus, it is probable that the SADC facilitation has broad objectives, even though these may not be publicly expressed, outside of the concern with legitimate elections.