SCENARIOS – Possible outcomes to Zimbabwe's crisis

HARARE, – Zimbabwe's political rivals, Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF, the main Movement for Democratic Change and its smaller splinter group are due to meet in South Africa on Tuesday in the latest effort to end the country's political stalemate.

Here are some possible scenarios:.

 

MUGABE GOES IT ALONE

* President Robert Mugabe is waving a resolution from the southern African SADC bloc urging the immediate establishment of a unity government to demand the right to appoint a cabinet himself and looks set to proceed in that direction.

* He could name a government alone while still keeping spaces for the opposition, but it is highly unlikely that main rival Morgan Tsvangirai would take up such posts.

* It could also face a hurdle in parliament, where Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change and a breakaway MDC wing now have more seats than Mugabe’s ZANU-PF.

* Western powers, including the United States and former colonial ruler Britain, which have imposed sanctions over charges of vote rigging and rights abuses, will not accept as legitimate any government without Tsvangirai’s MDC. They could increase sanctions if Mugabe presses ahead without Tsvangirai.

* The economy could be pushed closer to collapse as any foreign development aid can only be unlocked by Tsvangirai. Inflation officially stands at 231 million percent but is estimated to be much higher.

 

RIVALS AGREE

* If Mugabe and Tsvangirai reach a deal on a power-sharing cabinet, they could then face a new struggle — reaching a compromise on economic policy to ease daily hardships and persuade Western donors that reforms are in store so that they pump money into the country.

* Mugabe has warned that he will stick to what critics say are reckless policies that have ruined the once promising economy, such as seizures of white-owned farms for blacks that decimated the agriculture sector.

* The veteran leader plans to hand over control of foreign-owned firms, including banks and mines — to locals, a move that worries investors. Nationalisation is the last thing investors want.

* Tsvangirai is promising the world that he will usher in a "New Zimbabwe" with free-market policies to end massive hunger and jobs for a country with an 80 percent jobless rate.

* Control of security forces would also be a sensitive matter and has been at the heart of the disagreement holding up implementation of the power-sharing agreement. Tsvangirai has sought control at least over the police.

 

STALEMATE CONTINUES

* Zimbabwe’s economy has nosedived, but the situation could worsen still further for ordinary Zimbabweans and lead to a total meltdown. A cholera epidemic that has killed around 300 Zimbabweans without medical care could be the sign of worse to come.

* Western powers could increase sanctions against Mugabe and those close to him. The U.S. and the European Union last month threatened to impose new sanctions against Mugabe if he reneged on the power-sharing deal.

* The U.S. and European Union already have sanctions in place against Mugabe, his ministers and several Zimbabwean companies with links to the government.

* Regional powerhouse South Africa said last week in its strongest action against Zimbabwe yet that it would hold back 300 million rand ($28.53 million) earmarked for agricultural aid to Zimbabwe until a representative government was in place.

* The longer the deadlock continues, the higher the chances of fresh violence in Zimbabwe.

* Human Rights Watch said last month that Mugabe’s police and army, accused of rights abuses, remain intact with no change in their conduct. The MDC also accused Mugabe’s government earlier this month of continuing violence against its supporters.