I expect to have several posts up shortly speaking on developments in Zimbabwe. One will be a conversation with a Zimbabwean gender rights activist currently based in DC and I plan to depart from my typical Africa in DC lens to examine the election results in a rural constituency that I have visited several times and which has traditionally been a bastion of support for Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF.
In the meanwhile, please read my analysis of a piece on Zimbabwean political developments in the early 1980s, I think it offers some important context for events today.
I’ll leave you with one personal observation. I was very distressed by recent comments I heard from Shannon Smith, a high ranking official in the Bureau of African Affairs on American willingness to engage with Mugabe and ZANU – PF. Consequently, I have been pleasantly surprised by the relatively strong comments from the State Department on the election (‘the culmination of a deeply flawed process’), which goes far beyond the appeasing comments uttered by Smith, who sounded like she was trying to win a stake in a Zimbabwean diamond mine.
Until the State Department statement, it seemed as if Mugabe was on the cusp of pulling a Myanmar-esque renaissance, perhaps if he hadn’t been so greedy as to decimate the MDC presence in parliament, the election may have been more ‘credible’. It begs the question however – where was the USG in the midst of this deeply flawed process?