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 Zimbabweâ€™s Transition” accused hardliners in President Robert Mugabeâ€™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 Groupâ€™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.
â€œIf 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 crisisâ€, said Andebrhan Giorgis, Crisis Groupâ€™s Africa Senior Adviser.
By staff writer