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Observers: Protests, Refugee Crisis May Force SADC to Intervene in Zimbabwe

  • Gibbs Dube

A demonstrator reacts after anti-riot police use batons to break up a peaceful march protesting the Zimbabwe government's handling of the economy, in Harare, Aug. 3, 2016.

A demonstrator reacts after anti-riot police use batons to break up a peaceful march protesting the Zimbabwe government's handling of the economy, in Harare, Aug. 3, 2016.

Observers say the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will intervene in Zimbabwe if public protests intensify and refugees start streaming in large numbers to neighboring nations like South Africa.

They say at the moment it is unlikely that SADC, under the chairmanship of King Mswati of Swaziland, would table the Zimbabwe crisis characterized by mass public protests against the deteriorating social and economic situation in the country and calls for President Robert Mugabe to step down.

One of the observers, Mlamuli Nkomo, an independent political analyst based in South Africa, says SADC appears to be haunted by its previous interventions in Zimbabwe, which may have failed to deliver the desired results for the regional block.

SADC mediators, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, temporarily stabilized Zimbabwe following the formation of a unity government in 2009, which ended after the country held general polls that were won by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Opposition parties condemned the elections as a “gigantic fraud” though SADC described them as free and fair. In this Studio 7 political panel, Nkomo and Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Pelandaba-Mpopoma, Joseph Tshuma, discuss possibilities of another SADC intervention in Zimbabwe.

Nkomo says SADC should take immediate steps to end the crisis in the country but Tshuma believes that there is no political crisis in Zimbabwe.

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