Six months before scheduled elections, Zimbabwe is closer than ever to complete collapse. Inflation is between 7,600 per cent (government figures) and 13,000 per cent (independent estimates). Four out of five of the country’s twelve million people live below the poverty line and a quarter have fled, mainly to neighbouring countries. A military-led campaign to slash prices has produced acute food and fuel shortages, and conducting any business is becoming almost impossible. An initiative launched by the regional intergovernmental organisation, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to facilitate a negotiated political solution offers the only realistic chance to escape a crisis that increasingly threatens to destabilise the region. But SADC must resolve internal differences about how hard to press into retirement Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s 83-year-old president and liberation hero, and the wider international community needs to give it full support.