How to Play a Role in Zimbabwe
This monograph unpacks components of the set trajectory in each narrative and exposes strengths and weaknesses, which have their own particularities that vary from country to country. For example, in Zimbabwe the illegitimacy narrative, at least as it is advanced by the MDC-A, is unsustainable, as is the ‘sanctions’ narrative advanced by the government as an explanation for the country’s economic turmoil. In mid-January 2019 violent demonstrators took to the streets protesting a 150% increase in the price of fuel. The military was deployed to contain the situation and shot and killed a reported 17 people in the process. Playing out the narratives, for the government, the protests were incited by regime change agents, seeking to take advantage of the country’s economic difficulties to effect an Arab Spring. For the opposition, the killings were the action of a brutal, corrupt and illegitimate regime clinging to power with the help of the military, and the people rose up in spontaneous anger invoked by unbearable economic hardships. The monograph recommends that this approach be eschewed in favour of one where an objective assessment of each component of the narrative is followed by a response based on principle. If this approach were to be adopted by the international community on both sides of any ideological divide, the result would be to the benefit of all concerned, and would prevent policy conundrums when dealing with the Zimbabwe crisis.