The crisis in Zimbabwe

A brief on the current socio-political and economic situation in Zimbabwe

Inserted by Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD) in Zimbabwe
16. november 2017

The political situation in Zimbabwe rapidly degenerated within a period of 48hours as the ruling party Zanu-Pf escalated the fight to succeed Mugabe through a military takeover of the country. The public announcement for the takeover was made by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) in the early hours of today 15 November 2017. The events followed the expulsion of the former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and subsequent promises of purging of approximately 100 members of Zanu Pf and government ministers accused of being disloyal to President Mugabe and his wife Grace Mugabe.

Security Concerns
The situation has escalated security concerns in the country in which the citizens already lived in fear following ZanuPf’s rule characterised by patronage and coercion especially as the country neared a national election in 2018.
The recalling of armed soldiers from bases and their heavy presence in towns and communities in search of so called ZanuPf criminals poses threats of sexual violence against women as experienced in 2008.
It is true that the situation marks an end of a Mugabe era, however it is worrisome that military is not intervening with the best interest of ordinary citizens but rather to gain their stronger hold of the ruling party Zanu PF and the country. In their 6th November statement the Army is clear that they want to restore sanity in Zanu Pf and hence any prolonged maintenance of the current situation may create a longer political impasse that can further degenerate into a worse situation and/or leading to military rule.

The economic situation
The economic situation in the country has ever been plummeting before and after the introduction of a surrogate currency the ‘bond’ from end of 2014. The worsening liquidity crisis has already seen some basic products disappearing from the market including such necessities as sanitary pads, with one of the local producers of sanitary pads almost closing shop. Resultantly prices of these and many other goods have been going up and inflation is rising again.

Unemployment is above 90% and the rising informal economy which has largely sustained the economy is also threatened by the government through their unproductive policies banning certain imports and also violence from the state.

This again is having a huge impact on women and young women most of whom occupy the informal sector.

Need for urgent attention
With such a cocktail of socio-economic and political challenges there is urgent need for a sustainable intervention for the restoration of peace, democracy in a manner that restores socio-economic development.

The IYWD therefore recommends:

  • That in the best interest of peace, security and stability, President Mugabe voluntarily steps down, and pave a way for constitutionalism and democratic rule in line with the ideals of the liberation struggle
  • That the military upholds the constitution of Zimbabwe and allow for a broad-based citizen led convening that includes young women and men, students, the elderly, persons with different abilities, political parties, labour, informal traders, the faith movement, traditional leaders, male and female veterans of the liberation struggle, social movements among others, to inform and influence the course of the transition, in a nonpartisan way
  • That Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union (AU) and the international community steps in and facilitates a peaceful, people-centred solution in accordance with the Zimbabwean Constitution, SADC and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights
  • That any agreed solution should be centred on promoting, respecting and protecting the rights of citizens and resuscitating the economy in order to bring the country on the path of development.

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