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Too early to toast over Zim - experts

By unknown | Jul 24, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Eric Naki

A University of KwaZulu-Natal political expert believes it is too early to celebrate after this week's signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) by Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe because many hurdles lie ahead.

Professor Patrick Bond, director of the UKZN Centre for Civil Society, says given that the existing power relationships are being consolidated and legitimised through Zimbabwean negotiations, there are great dangers ahead.

"Mugabe showed Joshua Nkomo that a unity government means destruction of the opposition by cooptation.

"For countervailing power, Morgan Tsvangirai has at his disposal the promise of a short-term inflow of hard currency from donors and lenders, but if the cronies around Mugabe, especially generals, are not dislodged then there will be no structural change in the economy."

Bond said if the current hyper-inflation, which is running at about 160000 percent, was cut back by slashing the civil service and social programmes, as appeared likely, then there was no real solution.

"Just an elite deal that will heighten medium-term tensions - as happened here, too, where we have more civil society protests per person than anywhere in the world," Bond said.

On Monday, President Robert Mugabe, MDC's Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, pictured, signed the agreement.

Professor André Duvenage, a political analyst at the University of North West, said the political and economic issues in Zimbabwe were too complicated and could not be resolved in two weeks as agreed. He said the new process was about "talks about talks".

"I don't think the process is well planned. It will take longer to thrash out the situation of the economy, a new constitution, issues around freedom and rule of law and security.

"The whole process could take, at best, up to the end of this year to complete," he said.


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