Celia Dugger of the NY Times filed a story just moments ago reporting that one of Mugabe’s inner circle, Air Marshall Shiri, was shot in the hand on Saturday night during a night-time ambush. Mugabe is calling it a failed assassination attempt, while the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) believes it is the result of an increasingly tense (and violent) battle among Mugabe’s core supporters over who will succeed the President. If the MDC is correct, this points to further cracks in Mugabe’s core support, with significant implications for the stability of the country. (See our December 1st post) Zimbabwe may wake up soon to a military coup, or a state of emergency – both with dramatic consequences.
Crisis Group released a new report today calling on leaders in Zimbabwe to accept that the power sharing deal is “hopelessly deadlocked,” and urging them to implement a non-partisan transitional government that will govern for 18 months leading up to new presidential elections. The report calls for Mbeki to step aside, and allow for a new SADC negotiator to take his place – someone that is perceived as more neutral. “With the meltdown of vital social services, a cholera epidemic that has claimed 1,000 lives, the flight of a third of the population and a third of its remaining citizens facing starvation, Zimbabwe urgently needs a credible and competent government able to inspire confidence at home and abroad”, says Francois Grignon, Director of Crisis Group’s African Program. “A non-partisan transitional administration directed by a neutral Chief Administrator could achieve this”. Watch Crisis Group President, Gareth Evans, speak about the role of philanthropy in Zimbabwe and the responsibility to protect at our GPF conference last April, with colleague Samantha Power.
Meanwhile, The Elders continue to put pressure on regional and international governments to help find a solution to the stalemate, and even more so, to help alleviate the drastic humanitarian situation described above by Grignon. “There has been a lot of focus on the political situation. In the process the needs of the people were forgotten. We came to focus on the people and make a judgment on what we can do,” said Elder Kofi Anan of their visit to the region. Read more about the Elders mission here. Jane Wales, our CEO & President, served as Interim CEO for the Elders during its first year, from July 2007-2008.