Analyzing the role of Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe (2007-2013).
Twenty years ago, Zimbabwe was hailed as the “bread basket” of the Southern African region, unfortunately Zimbabwe has now become a basket case for its neighboring countries and beyond Africa. Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis is indeed a typical example of post-colonial state failure in Africa. Zimbabwe is facing a multidimensional crisis which has negative effects on its citizens and has resulted in an overflow of refugees into neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana among others. This then has increasingly led to a situation whereby the neighboring countries have realized that they have a crucial role to play in trying to resolve the issues in Zimbabwe for the stabilization of the region and the country. The effort of these neighboring countries towards transforming the Zimbabwean crisis was prominently done through the regional body, SADC. This study analyses and examines SADC’s role in trying to resolve the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. The study interrogates the methods or strategies which SADC used to deal with the Zimbabwean crisis, as they gave South Africa a mediating role to try and resolve the crisis. The study adopts and recommends Transformative Mediation theory as an explanatory and analytical framework. Transformative Mediation theory is based on empowering the disputing parties, and enhancing each party's recognition of the other. Empowerment and recognition are two key concepts of Transformative Mediation. These concepts are essential analytical tools in evaluating whether or not SADC’s mediation efforts succeeded in resolving the crisis. The study concludes by reflecting on how SADC can strengthen its crisis and conflict mediation mechanisms and techniques.