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Zimbabwe bottom of Global Peace Index heap

ZIMBABWE and South Africa are ranked among the least peaceful societies in the world, the Global Peace Index (GPI) has said.

In its report for 2010, GPI ranked Zimbabwe 135th and its southern neighbour 121st, out of the 149 countries that were ranked, with Botswana taking position 33.

Zimbabwe is still politically unstable, GPI said, when one looked at the “degree to which political institutions are sufficiently stable to support the needs of its citizens, businesses and overseas investors.”

Zimbabwe has since the turn of the century been scoring low on most of the indicators cited under GPI and this has seen the country’s rankings in many indices dropping.

The country’s human rights record once again proved one of the major areas of concern as it scored 4,5 out of 5, which is a very dangerous level closer to that of countries in a war situation.

GPI noted that the country scored 4 out of 5 in terms of organised conflict, number of homicides per 100 000 people and level of violent crime. Scoring a 5 means the country’s ranking is the most undesirable while a 1 is the ideal situation.

There is a relatively high likelihood of violent demonstrations, GPI noted, as Zimbabwe scored 3 out of 5.

In terms of peace, the country scored 1. Zimbabwe’s military sophistication, a qualitative assessment of the grade of equipment used and the extent of military research and development, also ranked 2 out of 5.

Zimbabwe’s chilled relations with neighbouring countries were also noted as it scored 3 out of 5. This is mainly a result of the country’s diplomatic rows with Botswana over a number of issues including treatment of Zimbabweans in its western neighbour and alleged internal interference in its political affairs by Botswana, especially by the president Ian Khama.

In addition to the Economist Intelligence Unit, other organisations engaged in the study include the United Nations Survey of Criminal Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, International Institute for Strategic Studies, University of Uppsala Conflict Data Programme, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Bonn International Centre for Conversion and the International Centre for Prisons Studies.

In coming up with the ranking for a particular country, GPI looked at indicators which include factors such as levels of violence and crime, political stability, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Indicators which were looked at include potential for terrorist acts, likelihood of violent demonstrations, access to weapons, international standing and civilian control over the military.

GPI has also used an updated secondary dataset of 33 indicators measuring quality of life and good governance that attempt to gauge democracy, government competence and efficacy, the strength of institutions and the political process.

Other indicators in the updated secondary database include international openness; demographics, regional integration, respect for religion and culture; education and material well-being. The Global Peace Index is maintained by the Institute for Economics and Peace and developed in consultation with an international panel of experts with data collected and analysed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

In coming up with its annual reports, GPI tests its index against a broad range of “drivers” or potential determinants of peace, including levels of democracy and transparency, education and material wellbeing, which were collected from such additional sources as Amnesty International, the World Bank and Reporters without Frontiers.

The Global Peace Index was originally the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist Steve Killelea,  and it has been endorsed by such individuals as Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, economist Jeffrey Sachs, and Nobel Laureates such as Martti Ahtisaari, Mary Robinson and Jimmy Carter.

Leonard Makombe


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