The regional country grouping South African Development Community (SADC) will know in the next few months if its mediation efforts in
In 2008, SADC mandated
After violent elections, which saw hundreds of people killed and thousands displaced, there was a general gloom was in the air, as the country’s political protagonists engaged in a deadly power struggle. But then they signed a unity pact, that appears to have somewhat stabilised the political and economic situation.
A flower vendor, Maxwell Mushamba, who had to abandon his flower market in the heart of
Apart from restoring economic sanity, in a country whose inflation had peaked at over 231% million, the political agreement also brought the parties to the negotiating table.
The process to repeal oppressive laws remain stalled
The Global Political Agreement (GPA) of 2008 was meant to cool political temperatures and make it okay to express political opinions, even in public spaces such as these.
Four years on, that commitment is put to the test.
Dzimbabwe Chimbanga of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says: “What we actually saw was a dip immediately after the signing of the agreement, but now particularly with the talk of the election coming through, we see a lot of cases of repression, people being arrested across the country as well as violence, particularly in the communities in the outlying areas."
Organisations like the
The process to repeal oppressive laws remain stalled. Chimbanga says that Public Order and Security Act (Posa) is still there. He says they still have access to the information which is used to whittle expression in the media space.
“A lot of journalists are being arrested for articles which they write, particularly where they are critical of the president of the country,” added Chimbanga.
But for President Mugabe’s Zanu PF, the biggest failure of the GPA is the fact that Western sanctions remain in place.
“The climate is a bit peaceful right now and the political situation seems to be a bit stable. It is because we had to force our opposition partners to understand that in a GPA you have to work together. They keep clamouring about Zanu PF causing violence. That is their mantra that provokes some of this violence,” says Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo.
This SADC experiment is sure to be tested in the months to come, as