Zimbabwe Transition Barometer (issue 4)

Abstract

Series: Zimbabwe Transition Barometer (issue 4)

Title: Toward a prolonged transition: bouncing within the grey zone.

Zimbabwe's transitional period must be an interregnum of shifting sands, from a set of authoritarian political procedures to democratic ones. The contemporary political processes in Zimbabwe display continuity here and change there which justify the need for scientific trekking of the transition. Consequently, we premise our analytic framework on four possible transitional outcomes which are a precluded transition, blocked transition, flawed transition (derailed and prolonged) and democratic transition (pacted or zero sum). We employ such lens to analyse political developments in March and April 2013, in particular the constitution referendum; the implementation of Global Political Agreement (GPA); the rule of law; elections monitoring; defining election dates and the role of SADC. From our analysis we conclude that, if an election were to be held in the next 2 months, a more likely outcome is a prolonged transition characterised by co-existence of some old authoritarian practices with some democratic gains. However, given the fluidity of transitional politics this remains a time bound analysis. Whether Zimbabwe will progress toward a democratic transition will depend on smart interventions by local political parties, convergence of regional and international actors, (in) actions by civil society and the general citizenry and not less important political will by President Mugabe and the country's political, military and economic elites. Yet, we are conscious of the cardinal rule that elections alone are not a sufficient ingredient for establishing democracy and analysing transitional outcomes but it is the first brick without which democracy cannot otherwise be built.

 

The Transition Barometer will be launched on the 3rd of May at the Book Cafe @5.30pm.

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