Global Politics

A challenge to Zimbabwe's leadership

(Is this as major an announcement as it really sounds?) It is. Simba Makoni is a leader of Mugabe's party and he's doing this with the backing of the party's vice president and a retired army general. His new candidacy is really breaking away a large section of Mugabe's own party. It's the first sign of breakaway and division we've seen in a long time. (Tell us about Simba Makoni: why him, why now?) I've known Simba since 1980, he's bright, he's a technocrat, educated in chemistry, he's not corrupt, engaged in human rights abuses and violence. He's a unifying figure, has respect for the economic fundamentals. He could turn the economy around. (How?) he was the finance minister a few years ago and said we must fight inflation. Mugabe didn't like that message and things went on. Simba has ties with the IMF, he knows how to turn things around. (Is this feasible?) The unemployment rate is 80%, inflation is 150,000%, shortages of food, people cannot feed their families. Simba can turn things around. (Can this man resist the forces of the president?) I think he's in real danger. He's in a very vulnerable position. However he does have powerful backing, particularly the retired army general. There will be a break in the party and the military and the police, this is going to be the thin end of the wedge that breaks Mugabe's shell. (Will it break the opposition?) The opposition has been the Movement for Democratic Change and they've been divided. So now Simba steps forward and the timing is great. He may not win rigged elections but he's a figure around which people could rally and break Mugabe's support from his family and the army.

Comments