‘Grave cost’ if inclusive govt collapses

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There will be “grave consequences” if Zimbabwe’s fragile power-sharing government collapses, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has warned.

The group last week said the situation in the country was deteriorating, and that more international pressure was needed on President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party to implement reforms ahead of polls.

The ICG reports renewed violence against MDC-T supporters, and chronic delays in political reforms.

“State media is biased, the criminal justice system is being used against the opposition, and the army and police are still able to thwart democracy,” the ICG said.

Zimbabwe has had two years of relative stability following the formation of a coalition government between Zanu PF and the MDCs.

But political tensions have been rising on the back of President Mugabe’s call for early elections.

The ICG says without strong international pressure on Zanu PF, the coalition deal could collapse and the country would face another illegitimate vote.

Pressure has been mounting on President Mugabe from his own neighbours.

The regional bloc, Sadc, has called on the Zimbabwean government to create conditions for peaceful political activity.

The ICG said Sadc also needed the support of the West, including Britain, the United States and the European Union.

There are signs that regional pressure was bearing fruit.