POLITICAL instability and potential violence pose a huge threat to Zimbabwe’s stability.
The country’s economy remains weak and vulnerable to potential shocks that could also precipitate political instability.
At the same time, government repression of basic freedoms continues.
Past crises have produced waves of refugees that have weighed on Zimbabwe’s neighbours.
Further instability in Zimbabwe would pose a particular challenge for South Africa, which is grappling with its own pressing economic and social problems.
Along with the risks associated with good governance, trade and investment, a transition could present opportunities to begin to reverse the effects of decades of mismanagement in Zimbabwe.
Interested stakeholders should position themselves to take advantage of these opportunities by working with others, including South Africa and other countries in the Southern Africa region, to minimize the risk of civil unrest in Zimbabwe. and lay the foundations for a better future.
On the other hand, a bitter coterie of the G40 cabal, forced into exile after the overthrow of the late former President Robert Mugabe in a November 2017 coup that catapulted his longtime ally Emmerson Mnangagwa in power.
Now Zanu PF faces terrible twins – the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change on the one hand, and the bitter remnants of the G40 cabal on the other, all seeking to unseat the ruling party from power. power.
The Zanu PF will use the security apparatus to control the resentments and grievances of those who have lost office and to provide the material benefits that come with it, but this dissent could spill over.
The factions assaulting the Zanu PF and the internal discontents of the youth, women’s league and veterans symbolize the open wound that exists in the ruling party.
As the drama unfolds, President Emmerson Mnangagwa will continue to play the dominant role.
Even those who swear allegiance to him, Mnangagwa will always watch closely.
In the past, he used every opportunity to display his loyalty to Mugabe, sometimes even kneeling before him, but sometimes he fell out of favor with Mugabe.
An economic crisis triggers demands for political change. Zimbabwe may be increasingly isolated from the West, but it is not isolated from the global economy.
China, Zimbabwe’s main current benefactor, is focused on slowing domestic demand and seems less willing to invest in the southern African country than in the past.
The government’s misguided economic policies, including land confiscation and forced corporate “indigenization” in the past, continue to have the predictable results of declining productivity.
Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product growth rate is declining and will continue to decline.
Public unrest could increase as the economic situation deteriorates
Greater public unrest could be a potential warning indicator that all is not well in Zimbabwe, especially as senior police and military leaders – known as “securocrats” – have no failed to tighten their grip on state security and retain control of Zimbabwe’s economy, over which they exercise significant control.
The security establishment, led by the securocrats, controls not only the muscles of the state, but also a significant part of the national economy.
An unstable Zimbabwe could have serious national and regional ramifications, as it did in 2008.
Past instances of economic and political instability have had a significant impact on the country, which has the highest inflation and lowest life expectancy rates in the world.
In 2008, a 500ml bottle of water cost Z$1.9 trillion. That same year, more than 1,000 people invaded the South African border every day due to the violent post-election crackdown, during which at least 200 people died, more than
5,000 were mistreated or tortured, and 36,000 were displaced, according to Human Rights Watch.
What would instability in Zimbabwe mean for the region? This could create a significant humanitarian problem, which would require increased economic aid from the region.
The food security situation is deteriorating in the Zim
ACCORDING to HungerMap LIVE, the number of people with insufficient food consumption was estimated at 5.3 million at the end of July, 0.5 million more than the estimated figure of 4.8 million at the start of the harvest season in May 2022.
Meanwhile, the estimated number of people using crisis-based and beyond-diet coping strategies remained around eight million, representing an estimated increase of half a million people. over the past three months.
The prevalence of underconsumption and consumption-based crisis or coping remains higher than usual during the post-harvest period.
At the end of July, the highest estimated prevalence of insufficient consumption was in the province of Manicaland (43%), Mashonaland Central (39%), Mashonaland East (39%) and Matabeleland North (38%).
Half of the provinces have seen an increase in the number of people using crisis coping strategies and beyond in the past three months.
According to the latest compatible Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis conducted by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, deficit areas and those most affected by erratic rainfall are beginning to experience food security outcomes, marking the start of an early lean season. .
Households have started to rely more on markets earlier than usual, as food stocks from their own production run out.
However, due to the current macroeconomic challenges and the rising cost of commodities, they face challenges in meeting their basic food and other essential needs without external support.
In areas of surplus production, relatively better 2021/22 crops and carryover stocks from previous seasons will continue to result in minimal and stressed results through January 2023.
Urban areas are expected to continue to be stressed throughout the projection period due to price volatility.
As most households earn income in Zimdollars and have limited access to US dollars, exclusive US dollar pricing and high Zimdollar price volatility reduce their purchasing power and limit access to food, especially for the most vulnerable population.
Due to these liquidity problems, households in rural areas are slowly resorting to barter using grain and livestock to access certain goods or services.
In addition, the most vulnerable households have started to scale up existing livelihood strategies such as petty trade in small foods and repackaged household items, intensification of vegetable production for those with access to water, and artisanal mining.
However, most livelihood strategies remain constrained by low demand, limited capital and high transport costs.
world food program