ZIMBABWE stands on the brink of sea change and it is now a matter of time before the advent of a new political dispensation, the International Crisis Group (ICG) says.
In its latest report, Decision Time in Zimbabwe, the ICG says President Robert Mugabe’s time has come and gone and the country is nearing a turning point.
“Change is in the air in Zimbabwe,” the ICG says. “Its citizens no longer talk about whether it will come, but rather when. All acknowledge, however, that the road will be dangerous, possibly violent.
“Zimbabwe’s internal situation has continued to worsen,” it says, “producing increasingly destabilising effects in southern Africa through refugees and economic chaos and damaging the entire continent’s efforts to establish new political and trade relations with the rest of the world through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development initiative.”
The ICG, a Brussels-based multinational organisation that monitors conflicts around the world, says South Africa has an important role to play in unscrambling the Zimbabwe crisis.
It says efforts by the European Union, Southern African Development Community, African Union, and the Commonwealth, as well as the US and South Africa could resolve the problem.
“There is a way forward for Zimbabwe, if the international community – especially and most directly the US – works with South Africa,” ICG adviser for Africa, John Prendergast, said.
“Acting separately and at variance ensures the crisis will continue indefinitely, with increasingly grave repercussions in the country and the region.”
The ICG says an urgent solution is needed to avoid the spread of the contagion.