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Current Crisis Not Tipping Point in Zimbabwe, Says Observer

Observers have differing views over the long-range affects of the current government crackdown in Zimbabwe. Is the government consolidating its control further – or is the opposition becoming a real threat to President Mugabe.

One of those watching developments is Siphamandla Zondi an analyst with the Institute for Global Change in South Africa. From Johannesburg, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the violence in Zimbabwe.

“My view is that it is just another level in the continuing deterioration of the situation in Zimbabwe that started as far back as the beginning of the 1990’s when you had massive student uprisings and workers picketing all over the place…so I see this as just a logical step in the continued consolidation of state power and the use of state power to stifle opposition and discontent. Just another symptom of a state that feels pushed into a corner. That is frustrated. That is in panic. That treats everything as some kind of a political ploy from some big brother somewhere,” he says.

Is the opposition a true threat to President Mugabe? Zondi says, “We have to accept that it is not yet the tipping point. It’s not yet the beginning of a collapse, the beginning of a crisis. It’s certain not so for a number of reasons. One is that the ruling party is still well entrenched in Zimbabwe politics…and is assisted by the failure, dismal failure of the opposition to build its base and use it to launch an alternative in Zimbabwe.”

He says that external pressure won’t work on Mugabe until there’s a strong, united opposition that can challenge the ruling ZANU-PF party in rural areas and in ZANU-PF strongholds. That opposition needs the support of SADC, the Southern African Development Community.