Zimbabwe: Post-election questions
Following the Zimbabwe election, a number of questions concern the political and economic situation, and the role to be played by South Africa. Politically, the environment remains unpredictable. The MDC receiving seats in the parliament represents a vote for change. If not for political intimidation, ZANU-PF may not have kept power. Economically, Mugabe’s electoral tactics has worsened the situation. The impact of farm invasions on agriculture will not only be felt in terms of poverty and employment, but also in foreign exchange income. International support for land redistribution will only commence once a legal and transparent process of land allocation has been established. If this remains unresolved, the economy will shrink. Mr Mugabe’s unpredictability has deterred long-term investment, resulting in pressure on the currency. Bilateral trade with South Africa is likely to decrease. However, much depends on whether stability returns, and how long Mr Mugabe remains in power. South African policy towards the elections was characterised by successes and failures: the election continued despite intimidation, Pretoria’s strategy upheld democratic change yet failed to engage with the MDC, and also failed to put distance between SA and Mugabe. The SADC Victoria Falls summit meeting failed. Mr Mbeki can continue supporting Mugabe or realize he is part of the problem. International investors will probably not have enough confidence to commit to Zimbabwe under his rule, but it is unclear who might replace him. Southern Africa has been characterised by competing views on democracy, human rights, rule of law, and good governance. These differences have narrowed with the rise of the MDC.