The Beginning of Mugabe’s End?

Zimbabwean human rights activist Mary Ndlovu in Pambazuka:

The past weeks have indeed brought a qualitative change to Zimbabwe, with a significant shift in the balance of power between the forces which keep Mugabe in power and those which wish to remove him. Ultimately a government’s endurance rests on its success in maintaining a productive and healthy economy which delivers at least subsistence to the population. Mugabe has failed spectacularly in this sphere, with the economy in a state of contraction for the past seven years, and in free fall for the past year.

This collapse has effects which undermine his political support. Firstly, it makes it more difficult for him to dispense the largesse necessary to buy the continuing loyalty of the political and security elite, and to keep the lower ranks of the forces in line. Second, it makes the population, which has remained largely quiescent and submissive in the face of oppression, restive and prepared to risk more in confronting a hugely unpopular government which has destroyed their lives. And thirdly it has spill-over consequences in the region which are beginning to annoy and frustrate neighbouring governments.

Perceiving a weakening in Mugabe’s power base, opposition leaders in political parties, civil society organisations, student movements and churches, have taken their cue and demonstrated greater determination and willingness to come together to push him out.