By Brian Raftopoulos
As Zimbabwe’s elections on 31 July approach, the Southern African Development Community is under pressure to complete its mandate from 2007.
In September 2008 the three major political parties in Zimbabwe entered an inclusive government following a contested election in June that year. The Global Political Agreement (GPA), as it was called, was facilitated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the facilitation was led by the South African government.
After nearly five years under a very problematic and intensely contested inclusive arrangement, the people of Zimbabwe face another election on the 31st July in a battle for the presidency, parliament and council representatives. The setting of the election date was announced unilaterally by President Mugabe, following a decision by the constitutional court clearly directed by Mugabe’s party. (Read more…)
By Brian Raftopoulos, Solomon Mungure, Nicky Rousseau and Masheti Masinjila. The authors are part of the Violence and Transition Project in Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa funded by the IDRC.
The recently concluded elections in Kenya against the background of the electoral violence of 2007, the anticipated election in Zimbabwe in 2013 with the memory of state led electoral violence in 2008 still fresh in the memory of the electorate, and the proclivity for state violence in South Africa witnessed in the Marikana killings, all point to different but connected legacies of violence in these countries.
Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa are three former British settler colonies where between 1963 and 1994 the countries witnessed the coming of independence and the end of white settler rule. However the forms of violence that characterised both colonial rule and the anti-colonial struggles in those countries have continued to haunt their political and everyday life. Thus the Mau Mau period in Kenya, the dominantly guerilla war in Zimbabwe and the widespread urban resistance and more limited armed struggle of the South African liberation movements have found continuing echoes in the contemporary violence in these countries. (Read more…)
Hard Road to Reform
Reviewed by Timothy Scarnecchia: Associate Professor of History at Kent State University and author of The Urban Roots of Democracy and Political Violence in Zimbabwe: Harare and Highfield, 1940-1964 (University of Rochester Press, 2008). First published on African Arguments.
As Zimbabwe’s first post-GPA harmonised elections fast approach (July 31st), informed and not so well informed commentators will be giving their views of the campaigns, the elections, and the results. If the international coverage of the Kenyan 2013 election is any indication, the room for hyperbolic claims and dubious background coverage will once again be larger than the square footage of Robert Mugabe’s mansions (and now even Morgan Tsvangirai’s home). In order to avoid such mistakes, I highly recommend a collection edited by Professor Brian Raftopoulos, who is Director of Research and Advocacy in the Solidarity Peace Trust, an NGO dealing with human rights issues in Zimbabwe. (Read more…)