Three Scenarios

That within twelve months Zimbabwe will institute desired reforms leading to non-violent, free and fair elections acceptable to all is a desirable scenario (scenario A) which, unfortunately, is not likely to occur given the various dynamics and factors on the ground that have prevented such reforms from taking place over the last 40 months that the inclusive government has existed. Instead, other, less desirable scenarios are more likely to occur over the next twelve months unless there is concerted effort from various players inside Zimbabwe and outside, including SADC, to make sure scenario A takes place.

Various political analysts including Professor Eldred Masunungure have raised concern at the fragility of Zimbabwe's transition and the uncertainty of the future arising from the internal contradiction of the inclusive government that has multiple fault lines and Zanu PF's determination for regression buoyed by the Marange diamonds bonanza. An example of a push to reverse reforms is found in the stalled Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) constitutional reform process where Zanu PF has suddenly come up with a 29 page document of amendments to the first draft constitution notwithstanding Zanu PF's participation in the COPAC process all along.

These political shenanigans, coupled with the army's reckless and irresponsible statements at senior levels recently, show clearly that for elections, practically, there is no significant difference between October 2012 and June 2013 because in both cases the political field will still be tilted in favour of Zanu PF. With the mysterious death in a fire last August of general Mujuru who was regarded as a moderate, it appears other moderates will retreat from pushing from reforms within Zanu PF.

This brings us to the most likely scenario (scenario B) where Zimbabwe goes to elections pretty much under current conditions of serious characterized by lack of reforms, intimidation and some violence which would lead to another round of negotiations and a second inclusive government where both the MDC and Zanu PF are key players. Zanu PF will then try to deal with its internal succession issues.

The most frigthening scenario (scenario C) which is becoming increasingly likely by the day is that of an overt military takeover once it becomes clear Zanu PF is headed for defeat at the polls. Under this scenario, whatever reforms we have witnessed under the inclusive government will be set aside under the pretext of defending the country's sovereignty against so-called imperialist aggression. It is unlikely that leadership of the military that is so blatantly partisan and politicized would accept the outcome of democratic elections that take Zanu PF out of power - and they have said as much in recent days.

The only way to prevent scenario B and C from occuring is for civil society and all pro-democracy political actors to strongly push, within Zimbabwe and within SADC, for urgent reforms and insist, not on empty timelines, but on credible reforms that separate the central intelligency organization and the army from political and civilian affairs. It is heartening to note that, while president Mugabe and Zanu PF saw 'imperialist forces' in the South African High Court decision to investigate torture committed in Zimbabwe, the ANC through its Secretary General insisted it would respect decisions of the courts.

Pro-democracy forces must be warned that reforms will not come easy, there is a lot of work to be done to ensure that Zimbabwe does not slide back to chaos.

Dewa Mavhinga, Regional Coordinator, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

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