Decades of personal rule and power, brought to an end in mere weeks. It was a surreal moment in November when Zimbabwe’s military placed Robert Mugabe—who had been president for nearly four decades—under house arrest. Mugabe’s subsequent resignation calmed fears of violence and paved the way for a successor—and perhaps a fresh start for the isolated and economically challenged nation. Yet interim president Emmerson “The Crocodile” Mnangagwa is an old Mugabe hand, and the military’s continued presence across the country has raised doubts about the prospects for change. Will expected elections in August be truly “credible, free, and fair,” as Mnangagwa has promised, or will Mugabe’s successors block a democratic transition? Can Zimbabwe take advantage of this moment and its newfound attention on the world stage to have sanctions lifted, restore economic stability, and unlock needed investments and international aid?
Background reading and multimedia:
- Mugabe's misrule - and how it will hold Zimbabwe back
Martin Meredith, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2018
- Zimbabwe tries to retrieve cash smuggled overseas in Mugabe era
Jason Burke, The Guardian, February 1, 2018
- 'I'm not a crocodile': Zimbabwe's president has lunch with the FT
Alec Russell, Financial Times, January 19, 2018