THE Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says it is unlikely that the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) will resolve a dispute over Zimbabwe’s recent elections.
The ISS, which aims to enhance human security on the African continent, however, said failure by the regional bloc to intervene would frustrate Zimbabwe’s debt arrears negotiations.
Zimbabweans held its harmonised election on August 23 and 24.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared Emmerson Mnangagwa as the winner of the presidential elections.
He was inaugurated in Harare yesterday.
However, the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change has disputed the election outcome, describing it as a “gigantic fraud”.
Chamisa has also expressed hope that Sadc will intervene in the poll dispute.
The Sadc Election Observer Mission (SEOM) indicated in its report that the elections fell short of regional and international standards.
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In a statement yesterday, the ISS said Sadc was unlikely to muster the political consensus and willpower to put Zimbabwe back on the bloc’s agenda.
“Not all member states will be comfortable with SEOM’s findings, which could set an unwelcome precedent that represents a departure from its previous approach,” said the institute.
“The Sadc probably won’t backtrack on its SEOM report. It will park the concerns rather than elevate them to a rejection of the election result.
“In addition, the Sadc Panel of Elders’ visit to Zimbabwe is unlikely to change this scenario. “The initiative has been shrouded in confusion, with no clarity on its goals and mandate, or if Sadc might retain a formal brief on Zimbabwe.”
ISS said that it was unlikely that the international community and the Africa Union will escalate the election issue further given the ongoing debt resolution programme.
Facilitator and former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano has since endorsed Mnangagwa’s victory.
“The regional and international communities will likely seek a conciliatory middle-of-the-road approach under the guise of constructive engagement.
“Creditors seek the Zimbabwean government’s commitment to stay engaged in the AfDB process, with its three pillars of governance, economic reforms and land reform,” said ISS, noting that the geopolitical imperatives and sheer fatigue with the Zimbabwean issue among Western creditors will shape their debt-resolution efforts.
“They will have to live with the unsettling reality that the Mnangagwa administration is not a partner you can do business with and expect to act in good faith.
“It remains to be seen who will buckle first, although Zanu PF is unlikely to concede any ground. It can rely on Sadc’s collective management style grounded in comradeship and the primacy of stability rather than confrontation or action.
“Zanu PF is also the past master of diplomatic manoeuvre in the region, as the Sadc Tribunal case showed. Nevertheless, the country faces a political dilemma, and getting that genie back in the bottle won't be easy,” ISS added.