Security sector reforms needed: ICG

Failure by partners in the Inclusive Government to deal decisively with security sector reforms could result in a sham premature election and undermine political recovery, International Crisis Group has warned.

In its latest report entitled ‘Resistance and Denial; Zimbabwe Stalled Reform Agenda’, ICG said that slow and inadequate progress by the three parties in the Inclusive Government threatened to push Zimbabwe’s contending forces into premature elections.

“The contested narratives on security sector reform have prevented the emergence of a constructive and inclusive dialogue between the political parties and between political and civil society entities and the security sector itself. The issue cannot be endlessly deferred, however, even if the first step is only constructive talks about potential dialogue. In the meantime, prospects for constructive engagement are diminishing, which makes it difficult to see how even minimal conditions for free and fair elections will be secured,” reads the report.

Questions have been raised as to whether President Robert Mugabe is still in charge amid speculation that the military is calling the shots. Zanu (PF) negotiators have refused to discuss the issue of security sector reforms, saying that it does not fall within the mandate of the Global Political Agreement.

ICG said that the refusal “is a tactical approach designed to shut down any meaningful engagement on the issue, which neither the MDCs not civil society groups have been able to ameliorate”.

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