The London-based think-tank said that the call by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the removal of Western sanctions against senior Zanu (PF) officials was a body blow to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais MDC and worsened the partys chances of winning donor support for the economic turnaround programme. At the end of a two-day meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the SADC claimed that Zimbabwe had made sufficient progress in the establishment of a power-sharing administration to warrant lifting of the measures, and that failure to do so would act as an impediment to putting the countrys global political agreement into practice.
The EIU warned that the SADC sanctions resolution would give ammunition to President Robert Mugabe to delay implementing key political reforms demanded by Western countries before they could offer much-needed budgetary support to Zimbabwe. For the time being, therefore, the interim government seems set to stagger on an outcome which, in many respects, is the worst option for the country, the think-tank said. It observed that donors and investors were unwilling to take a position in so uncertain and fragile an environment, while the continued political stalemate was enabling the Mugabe administration to rebuild its intimidation machine in the rural areas and opening the MDC to charges of collaboration with Mugabe.
EIU warned that Tsvangirais credibility with his party and sections of the population had already been eroded by his insistence on a non-confrontational stance, while simultaneously pleading with the SADC and others to pressure Mugabe. The seeming failure of the regional approach is likely to lead to calls for a more hard-line stance, said the EIU. A hardline stance would, however, put the MDC in danger of a serious backlash from a Zanu (PF) that has mastered the game of abusing the security forces to cow political opposition.Post published in: News