Examining the Role of Preventive Diplomacy in South Africa’s
Foreign Policy towards Zimbabwe, 2000-‐2009
ALLISON MARIE COADY
A dissertation submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree
MASTER’S OF ARTS
DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCES
FACULTY OF HUMANITIES
UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA
SUPERVISOR: PROFESSOR H. SOLOMON
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
© U n i i v e r r s i i t t y o f P r r e t t o r r i i a
Mom, Dad and Peter with love and to the memory of
Eddie Matsangaise, your struggle lives on.
The completion of this dissertation would not have been possible without the support of so many people. First and foremost, I would like to thank Professor Hussein Solomon for his unwavering belief in my capabilities and his valuable supervision throughout the project. Hussein, I look forward to the day we work together again. To Seán, you took a chance on me when I most needed direction. I was nurtured and was able to flourish under your guidance and your patience. Thank you for helping me get more of this vast and beautiful African continent under my skin. Amy Eaglestone, you have been my mentor for this study, for work, for life. You are my best friend and I thank you for your constant love and support. To all of you at BICCCS, thank you for giving me a welcoming home through the long days of the writing process. I am grateful to all my friends in
South Africa for being my surrogate family for the past six years, and to my friends at home in Canada for sending constant encouragement while I’ve been so far from that home. To Gabriel, Jestina and Irene, you take risks every day as you work towards the respect of human rights and the development of a more open and democratic society in
Zimbabwe. Your dedication and passion will continue to inspire me. Last but not least, I would like to take this moment to express my love and gratitude to my beloved parents and brother. You believe in me and love me unconditionally. You lift me up, dust me off,
and give me the strength to be the person I strive to be. iii
The recent political conflict in Zimbabwe has attracted the attention of policymakers, academics and the media alike in the neighbouring countries of the region, across the
African continent and internationally. While the story of an ageing African liberation hero turned dictator who, through autocratic rule, has governed his country and his people to the ground in order to maintain power is captivating, a key element of the fascination is the critical diplomatic role played by South Africa from 2000 onward.
Foreign policy in post-‐apartheid South Africa on paper is driven by human rights and democracy, conflict prevention and conflict resolution through peaceful means, and the promotion of African interests in world affairs. However, after observing South Africa’s involvement in the Zimbabwe conflict between 2000 and 2009, South Africa’s foreign policy appears to be propelled more by African solidarity and sovereignty, anti-‐ imperialism, and a softer interpretation of preventive diplomacy than its international counterparts. Thabo Mbeki’s preventive diplomacy toward Zimbabwe during his presidency was slow to produce results, lacked transparency and frustrated many, yet, when examined under a preventive diplomacy theoretical lens, Mbeki’s policy did eventually garner success through the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the formation of an inclusive government in Zimbabwe. This dissertation examines the role of preventive diplomacy in South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe under Mbeki’s leadership and determines the point at which South Africa switched from an approach of preventive diplomacy to one of conflict resolution and conflict management.
The concept of ‘preventive diplomacy’ is often focused on government-‐to-‐government relations or the high level diplomacy of intergovernmental organizations such as the iv
United Nations (UN). Multi-‐track diplomacy expands on this traditional interpretation and considers the preventive diplomacy contributions of a variety of non-‐state actors to the practice of conflict prevention. This dissertation uniquely moulds the preventive diplomacy theoretical framework of Michael Lund with Kumar Rupesinghe’s concept of multi-‐track diplomacy to form a more comprehensive illustration of the role of preventive diplomacy in the approach of multiple actors towards the Zimbabwe conflict.
The more inclusive preventive diplomacy theoretical framework is then applied to the conflict in Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2009.
Through the application of a preventive diplomacy framework which incorporates the concept of multi-‐track diplomacy it is then possible to observe the South African government’s preventive diplomacy approach toward Zimbabwe first between 2000 and
2007 and then as mandated by SADC between 2007 and 2009 and finally compare it with the diplomacy of multi-‐track actors such as the UN, Zimbabwe-‐based and South
African-‐based civil society organizations, the Zimbabwean Diaspora, religious groups, and financial institutions. The examination of the larger role of preventive diplomacy in the Zimbabwe conflict situation leads to the understanding that each diplomatic effort is interlinked. Therefore the culminating event of the South African government’s preventive diplomacy approach in the Global Political Agreement could not have been achieved without the preventive diplomacy efforts of a multitude of actors who were also committed to preventing violence and finding a lasting solution to the conflict in
Key Concepts: Conflict, Conflict Intervention, Conflict Prevention, Conflict Resolution,
Conflict Management, Preventive Diplomacy, Conflict Life Cycle, Early Warning, Track
One Track Two Diplomacy, Multi-‐track Diplomacy, Inter-‐governmental Diplomacy,
Governmental Diplomacy, Ecumenical Diplomacy, Citizen Diplomacy, Economic
Diplomacy, South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, ANC, Zimbabwe, MDC, ZANU-‐PF, SADC, AU,
Foreign Policy, UN, CSOs, NGOs, Zimbabwean Diaspora, Global Political Agreement,
AIPPA Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
ANC African National Congress
AU African Union
BEE Black Economic Empowerment
CC Constitutional Commission
CCJPZ Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe
CHOGM Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
CSO Civil Society Organization
ESAP Economic Structural Adjustment Programme
EU European Union
GNU Government of National Unity
GPA Global Political Agreement
IMF International Monetary Fund
JOC Joint Operations Command
JOMIC Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee
MDC Movement for Democratic Change
NCA National Constitutional Assembly
NGO Non-‐governmental Organization
OAU Organization of African Unity
OSISA Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa
POSA Public Order and Security Act
RF Rhodesian Front
SADC Southern African Development Community
SALC South African Litigation Centre
SATAWU South African Transport and Allied Workers Union
UDI Unilateral Declaration of Independence vii
UN United Nations
UNDP United Nations Development Fund
UNHCR United Nations High Commission for Refugees
UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund
ZANLA Zimbabwe National Liberation Army
ZANU Zimbabwe African National Union
ZANU-‐PF Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front
ZAPU Zimbabwe African People’s Union
ZCBC Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference
ZCC Zimbabwe Council of Churches
ZCTU Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
ZEF Zimbabwe Evangelical Fellowship
ZEF Zimbabwe Exiles Forum
ZIPRA Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army
ZLHR Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights viii
Chronology of Key Events
1964 – Rhodesian Front’s (RF) Ian Smith becomes Prime Minister of Rhodesia
1965 – Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) on 11 November. Economic sanctions imposed by Britain
1966 – Britain imposes sanctions on all trade with Rhodesia. UN imposes oil embargo on
1968 – UN imposes comprehensive mandatory sanctions on Rhodesia.
1969 – A new Rhodesian constitution extends franchise to selected groups.
1972 – Guerilla war led by rival African nationalist groups ZANU and ZAPU against white rule escalates as the violence extends into urban areas.
1975 – Mozambique attains independence and closes border with Rhodesia. Robert
Mugabe replaces Sithole as leader of ZANU
1976 – Patriotic Front is formed to unite ZANU and ZAPU.
1978 – Internal settlement between Smith, Muzorewa (African National Council), Sithole
(ZANU) and Chief Chirau (traditional leader) for majority rule elections. Patriotic Front boycotts agreement. The new state of Zimbabwe-‐Rhodesia formed. Civil war continues.
1979 – Lancaster House Conference of all parties brokered by Britain concludes with a peace agreement and a new constitution.
1980 – ZANU wins elections supervised by Britain. Zimbabwe attains independence on
18 April with Mugabe as Prime Minister.
1982 – Mugabe removes ZAPU’s Nkomo from cabinet. Zimbabwe holds non-‐permanent seat in the UN.
1982-‐1987 – Gukurahundi Massacres. Estimated 20,000 civilians killed in Midlands and
Matabeleland provinces by government forces.
1987 – Constitutional amendment introduces Executive Presidency, centralizing power.
Unity Accord forms ZANU-‐PF and ends violence but eliminates political opposition. ix
1988 – World Health Organization and UNICEF recognize Zimbabwe’s accomplishments in the provision of water and sanitation to rural households.
1991 – Harare Declaration adopted by Commonwealth. Economic Structural Adjustment
Programme (ESAP) introduced.
1996 – Largest strike of civil servants in independent Zimbabwe.
1997 – War veterans demand special compensation from government. General Strike incites government to introduce repressive laws restricting the right to strike.
-‐ Formation of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).
1998 – Economic crisis causes riots and strikes.
1999 – Formation of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
2000 – Government defeated in referendum on draft constitution. General elections take place in an environment of politically motivated violence. ZANU-‐PF narrowly wins vote.
2002 – EU imposes sanctions on Zimbabwe and withdraws elections observer team.
Mugabe wins highly contested Presidential elections against a violent backdrop.
Government introduces Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). Zimbabwe suspended from Commonwealth for one year.
2003 – Zimbabwe pulls out of Commonwealth.
2005 – ZANU-‐PF wins two-‐thirds majority in parliamentary polls, despite widespread criticism of the legitimacy of the elections by external observer teams. MDC splits into two factions: MDC-‐T (Tsvangirai) and MDC-‐M (Mutambara).
2007 – March: Peaceful rally in Harare suburb is violently disrupted by police and subjecting citizens and opposition supporters to death, torture and mass arrests. SADC mandates Mbeki to negotiate a political agreement between the three political parties.
Talks begin in South Africa.
2008 – March: Presidential and parliamentary elections held. MDC declares victory.
March-‐June: Violent campaign against opposition supporters is the worst instance of violence in Zimbabwe since the Gukurahundi Massacres. x
May: Zimbabwe Electoral Council (ZEC) announces the need for a presidential run-‐off.
June: Tsvangirai withdraws from presidential race. Mugabe swears himself in as
President. AU Summit in Egypt mandates SADC to resume mediation.
September: Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by ZANU-‐PF and two MDC parties.
2009 – January: JOMIC launched to monitor implementation of GPA.
February: Formation of the Inclusive Government.
April: Zuma replaces Mbeki as SADC chief mediator. xi
Table of Contents
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ...................................................................................................................... III
ABSTRACT .............................................................................................................................................. IV
ABBREVIATIONS ................................................................................................................................. VII
CHRONOLOGY OF KEY EVENTS ........................................................................................................ IX
CHAPTER 1 ............................................................................................................................................... 3
Identification of the Research Theme ................................................................................................. 3
1.2 The Significance of the Research Theme ............................................................................................ 7
1.3 The Formulation and Demarcation of the Research Problem ................................................ 11
1.4 The Literature Survey ............................................................................................................................... 13
1.5 The Methodological Aspects of the Study ......................................................................................... 17
1.6 The Structure and Outline of the Study ............................................................................................. 18
1.7 Conclusion ...................................................................................................................................................... 20
CHAPTER 2 ............................................................................................................................................ 22
2.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 22
2.2 Defining Conflict .......................................................................................................................................... 24
2.3 A Conflict Life Cycle .................................................................................................................................... 27
2.4 Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Systems .......................................................................... 29
2.5 Preventive Diplomacy ............................................................................................................................... 38
2.6 Examining Lund’s Conceptual Framework ..................................................................................... 42
2.7 Exploring Lund’s Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox ......................................................................... 50
2.8 Implementing Preventive Diplomacy ................................................................................................. 52
2.9 Critiquing Lund’s Preventive Diplomacy Framework through a Multi-‐Track
Diplomacy lens .................................................................................................................................................... 59
2.10 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................... 64
CHAPTER 3 ............................................................................................................................................ 67
3.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 67
3.2 Emergence of an independent Zimbabwe ........................................................................................ 68
3.3 Prosperity to Crisis ..................................................................................................................................... 73
3.4 The Decade of Decline ............................................................................................................................... 81
3.5 Shifting strategies in South Africa’s foreign relations with Zimbabwe: An historical context ..................................................................................................................................................................... 84
3.6 Conclusion ...................................................................................................................................................... 89
CHAPTER 4 ............................................................................................................................................ 91
XAMINING THE TRANSFORMATION OF
APARTHEID FOREIGN POLICY AND THE ROLE OF PREVENTIVE DIPLOMACY IN RELATIONS WITH
2000-‐2007 ...................................................................................................................................... 91
4.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 91
4.2 A State in Transition: From Rainbow Nation rhetoric to the transformation of South
African foreign policy ....................................................................................................................................... 92
4.3 A Second Transition: South African foreign policy under the Mbeki Administration .. 97
4.4 Treading Carefully and Quietly: Highlighting South Africa’s foreign policy in
Zimbabwe’s decade of decline, 2000 – 2007 ....................................................................................... 104
4.5 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................... 119
CHAPTER 5 .......................................................................................................................................... 122
XAMINING THE ROLE OF PREVENTIVE DIPLOMACY IN
2007-‐2009 .......................................................... 122
5.1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................... 122
5.2 A Regional Response: Examining the role of preventive diplomacy in the SADC intervention in Zimbabwe’s decade of decline ................................................................................... 124
5.3 A Mandated Mbeki: The SADC-‐led Zimbabwe mediation process, March 2007 to
March 2008 ........................................................................................................................................................ 130
5.4 The Conflict Tipping Point: Analyzing the role of SADC in the March 2008 Presidential elections process .............................................................................................................................................. 137
5.5 The Last Straw: Analyzing the role of SADC in the June 2008 Presidential elections
run-‐off .................................................................................................................................................................. 141
5.6 Success At Last: Examining the culmination of SADC’s preventive diplomacy approach to Zimbabwe through the signing of the Global Political Agreement ...................................... 143
5.7 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................... 145
CHAPTER 6 .......................................................................................................................................... 148
XAMINING THE ROLE OF PREVENTIVE DIPLOMACY IN MULTI
2000-‐2009 ......................................................................................... 148
6.1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................... 148
6.2 Reviewing Rupesinghe’s Concept of Multi-‐track Diplomacy ................................................. 150
6.3 Examining the Preventive Multi-‐track Diplomacy of the United Nations in Response to the Crisis in Zimbabwe .................................................................................................................................. 152
6.4 Examining the Preventive Multi-‐track Diplomacy of Zimbabwean Citizen Groups in
Response to the Crisis in Zimbabwe ........................................................................................................ 158
6.5 Examining the Preventive Multi-‐track Diplomacy of South African Citizen Groups in
Response to the Crisis in Zimbabwe ........................................................................................................ 162
6.6 Examining the Preventive Multi-‐track Diplomacy of the Church in Response to the
Crisis in Zimbabwe .......................................................................................................................................... 166
6.7 Examining the Economic Diplomacy Approach to the Crisis in Zimbabwe ................... 169
6.8 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................... 171
CHAPTER 7 .......................................................................................................................................... 174
Introduction .............................................................................................................................................. 174
A Review of the Key Findings ............................................................................................................. 175
Originality of the Research ................................................................................................................. 182
Explaining the Selected Parameters of the Research ............................................................. 183
Incorporating Recent Developments ............................................................................................. 184
The Way Forward – Proposing areas of possible further research .................................. 187
Conclusion .................................................................................................................................................. 188
BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................................................................. 190
1.1 Identification of the Research Theme
In July 2012, after a highly contentious race, South Africa’s Home Affairs minister and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-‐Zuma was elected chair of the
African Union. This is the second time South Africa has been placed at the helm of the regional body and Dlamini-‐Zuma’s appointment symbolizes a revival of South Africa’s foreign policy and leadership on the continent. Former President Thabo Mbeki served as chair during the transition period in 2002 as the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was replaced by the AU. Mbeki brought to the position his deeply entrenched pan-‐Africanist, anti-‐imperialist outlook and was driven by his vision of South Africa leading the continent in an African Renaissance era. Standing beside him during this time was his foreign policy second-‐in-‐command, Dlamini-‐Zuma who shared Mbeki’s dreams and who will undoubtedly carry this vision through in her new position. The African National
Congress (ANC) leadership, who eagerly campaigned around her great success as a foreign minister, hails the recent nomination of South Africa’s longest serving minister as the head of the AU. This claimed success could only be primarily attributed to South
Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe under Mbeki and Dlamini-‐Zuma’s leadership, which has been the most vexing, most complex and longest of the country’s foreign engagements. As South Africa intends to play a larger role on the African continent in terms of preventing and resolving Africa’s conflicts, it is important that we understand
South Africa’s experience in Zimbabwe and draw critical lessons from that experience.
This dissertation attempts to contribute to this end.
In February 2009, the Government of National Unity (GNU) was formed in Zimbabwe comprising three feuding political parties, the Zimbabwe Africa National Union –
Patriotic Front (ZANU-‐PF), the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Tsvangirai and the MDC Mutambara. The formation of the new inclusive government followed the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in September 2008 by the leaders of the three parties. The regional body, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) brokered the negotiations that led to the political transition with the South African government leading the mediation process. This event marked the first time that
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe shared power as the head of state for nearly three decades. Although images of celebrating Zimbabwean citizens flashed across television screens around the world, an overwhelming and uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty hung over the scene. Zimbabweans had been searching for a resolution to their intrastate political conflict for more than a decade and have greatly suffered in the long wait for peace.
By October 2008, Zimbabwe’s inflation rose to a world record height of 231 million per cent (McGreal, 9 October 2008). Months later, in January 2009, only 6 per cent of the population was employed in the formal sector (AFP, 29 January 2009). Between the years 2008 and 2009 a cholera outbreak cost the lives of over 4,000 Zimbabweans and infected over 98,000, making it the worst cholera epidemic on the entire African continent in the past 15 years (BBC News, 26 May 2009). In February 2009, ahead of the official formation of the inclusive government, the country’s economy was officially dollarized, which helped to stabilize the crippled economy to a degree (The New York
Times, 9 February 2009); however, for many ordinary Zimbabweans, in both urban and rural areas, access to foreign currency remains a serious challenge. Zimbabwe was once known as the ‘bread basket’ of the region but after nearly a decade of severe political and economic intrastate conflict the country became more commonly referred to in the
local and international media as Southern Africa’s ‘basket case’ (Madslien 2009).
These dire conditions that characterized Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2009 are direct symptoms of a breakdown of good governance. Bad policy decisions and the fear of a rising political opposition on the part of ZANU-‐PF led to a collapsed economy, politically motivated violence against opposition supporters and ordinary citizens, and an undermined judicial system. The consequences created by the internal crisis have come to affect far more than those living within state borders. The conflict situation in
Zimbabwe has sent ripples of instability across the Southern African region. This is illustrated by the migration of millions of Zimbabwean refugees and asylum seekers to
South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia; the eruption of xenophobic violence targeting
Zimbabweans in those countries; the false but widely-‐held belief that foreigners are responsible for the majority of crime in host countries; among other strains. Zimbabwe’s political conflict also led to damaging economic consequences. During the conflict, a reduction in foreign investment was felt due to a negative perception of the region held by international investors. The economic, diplomatic and moral sanctions imposed on
Zimbabwe by members of the international community have similarly had a negative effect on the region’s economy and foreign relations.
At first glance, the enactment of the GPA offered some hope that the political and economic crises in Zimbabwe could be resolved. For example, under the inclusive government, three commissions (human rights, elections and media) were created through a ‘public’ participation process, with Parliament playing a central role. These bodies are expected to spearhead the reform process of important state institutions, such as the media and the elections commission. Notwithstanding these achievements, the new government is beset by profound problems. Policy-‐makers of all three ruling political parties in Zimbabwe are motivated by the fear of losing power, the resulting financial benefits, and the fear of international prosecution for political and financial corruption, all of which hinder them from fully implementing the provisions outlined in the GPA. The country requires physical reconstruction and reforms in the political and security sectors, however, the inclusive government in its infancy got off to a rocky start
as the political leaders opted to bask in their own self-‐interest and ignored the urgent needs of ordinary citizens. In April 2009, only two months after the implementation of the inclusive government, it was reported that all but one of the new MDC ministers had accepted an official Mercedes Benz, which epitomizes the elitist rule of the past three
decades under Mugabe’s leadership (Raath 2009).
Zimbabwe’s decline did not happen over night. Over a period of ten years, poor governance, lingering and unresolved remnants of a colonial history, draconian policy decisions, and a disregard of human rights, to name but a few contributing factors, combined to cause Zimbabwe’s near downfall. With such devastating effects on ordinary citizens in Zimbabwe and the ripple effect in neighbouring countries, how could policymakers in Zimbabwe and in the Southern African region allow the situation to deteriorate to such a degree? What kind of preventive measures were made and by who? And at what time did these efforts move beyond preventive diplomacy and
become conflict resolution and conflict management initiatives?
The answers to the above questions form the theme of this research. The aim of this dissertation is to examine the preventive diplomatic measures taken by South African government policymakers, led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, in an attempt to halt the escalation of conflict in Zimbabwe and the efforts taken to resolve the political crisis. The period between 2000 and 2007 will be examined with a primary focus on the role preventive diplomacy in the South African government’s approach.
This will be followed by an assessment of the period between 2007 and 2009, during the
Mbeki-‐led SADC mediation process between the disputing political parties in Zimbabwe.
Preventive diplomacy will be the key theoretical concept used to evaluate South Africa and SADC’s involvement in Zimbabwe, as well as the contributions of other actors throughout the conflict.
The term preventive diplomacy refers to the action taken to prevent disputes from arising between two or more parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts, and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur (Du Plessis 2003: 13).
Michael Lund’s (1996) preventive diplomacy theoretical framework will serve as the foundation for the Zimbabwe case study. Through the incorporation of Kumar
Rupesinghe’s (1997) concept of multi-‐track diplomacy into Lund’s framework, the dissertation will also evaluate the preventive actions taken by other key role players, such as the United Nations, local Zimbabwean and South African-‐based civil society organizations, the church, and the business community. It is only when both Lund and
Rupesinghe’s two theories are merged, that this dissertation will complete the larger picture of the role of preventive diplomacy in the approaches of various actors in the conflict in Zimbabwe. The determination of preventive diplomacy success will contribute to a more effective application of preventive diplomacy in the prevention of future conflicts.
What sets this study apart from others is first its unique focus on the Zimbabwean situation. Lund’s (1996) theoretical framework has been used to illustrate the role of preventive diplomacy in conflict situations in Central Europe, Latin America, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but has never been applied to the unique
Zimbabwe context. Furthermore, the blending of both preventive diplomacy and multi-‐ track diplomacy concepts has not yet been applied by any study. This study will contribute to the academic research on preventive diplomacy by presenting a more inclusive concept that acknowledges the contributions to conflict prevention through
the use of government-‐to-‐government, or Track One diplomacy, as well as the many components of multi-‐track diplomacy.
1.2 The Significance of the Research Theme
At the time of writing, the conflict in Zimbabwe continues unresolved, even after the formation of the inclusive government and the extensive preventive diplomacy efforts
of the South African government, SADC, and other multi-‐track actors. Because of this unsettled conflict there is significant interest in determining whether South Africa and the other actors have exhausted all the necessary diplomatic tools to prevent and resolve the political conflict, or whether something more could have been done. The purpose of this dissertation is to outline the preventive diplomacy steps taken by the
South African government, and later SADC, toward the conflict in Zimbabwe and determine where these efforts succeeded and where they failed, therefore making this study a critical contribution to the literature on the intrastate conflict in Zimbabwe. This study is not solely relevant to research on preventive diplomacy approaches to
Zimbabwe, but also to the academic field of preventive diplomacy in general.
The response to South Africa’s preventive diplomacy approach has not always been positive. Since the beginning of the current Zimbabwe crisis – which is generally considered as the period following the constitutional referendum of February 2000 when President Mugabe lost his bid for a proposed constitutional revision to a large majority of the Zimbabwean people – the South African government has been criticized in Zimbabwe, at home in South Africa and abroad for its lack of transparency during the negotiations process and its ostensive denial of the severity of the crisis in its neighbour country. Harsher critique states that former South African President Mbeki supported the Mugabe stranglehold on power through his policy of ‘quiet diplomacy’. To the South
African public, Mbeki failed on two fronts: first, by allowing his priorities of pan-‐
Africanism and anti-‐imperialism to triumph over his beliefs in the democracy and human rights of the region; and second, by continuing to supply Zimbabwe with key resources such as electricity and oil, despite the failure of Zimbabwe to pay for these commodities
(McKinley 2004: 359). According to SAIIA’s Foreign Policy Monitor, while some members of the international community imposed economic sanctions on the country, in 2006
Zimbabwe was South Africa’s second largest trading partner and exports from South
Africa to the country reached R7,410.6 million (SAIIA 2008: 2).
As demonstrated through the nine years of South Africa’s preventive diplomacy foreign policy approach under the leadership of Mbeki, it is clear that there are no quick-‐fix solutions to the crisis in Zimbabwe. Preventive diplomacy efforts were applied early on to the situation, which, we will discover later in the dissertation, is one of the most important factors for the success of preventive diplomacy. However, the conditions on the ground in Zimbabwe continued to deteriorate. When an escalation of conflict in
Zimbabwe could no longer be averted in March 2007, SADC stepped up its involvement and mandated Mbeki to lead the disputing political parties in a process of mediation.
The South African preventive diplomacy foreign policy was therefore renewed and supported by the region through the SADC mandate. It is the recent interest and investment of the Southern African region in this specific conflict that also contributes to the significance of this particular research theme.
The Zimbabwe conflict peaked in the period between the March 2008 elections and the
June 2008 presidential run-‐off, where politically motivated violence targeting opposition supporters wreaked havoc across the country. In response to this outbreak of violence, the unacceptable self-‐proclaimed presidency of Mugabe, and the pressure from disgruntled members of the international community, the SADC-‐mandated Mbeki finally intensified his preventive diplomacy approach. As a result, a power sharing deal was signed on 15 September 2008 and was enacted in February 2009, representing the critical switch in approaches from preventive diplomacy to conflict resolution and
While the path toward peaceful democratic change in Zimbabwe is painstakingly slow, the key actors involved in the process remain committed to finding a lasting solution to the conflict. Some political analysts, such as University of Johannesburg’s Professor
David Moore, argue that the successful implementation of the GPA is the responsibility of those who brokered the deal, including South Africa’s former president and chief negotiator Thabo Mbeki and his mediation team (Moore 2009). Therefore, with Mbeki
removed from the SADC process, the responsibility has been shifted to South Africa’s
Zuma Administration to safeguard a smooth and peaceful transition to democracy in
Zimbabwe. The interest in comparing Mbeki’s foreign policy with that of Jacob Zuma also enhances the significance of this research theme.
The lack of transparency and information sharing on behalf of the South African government regarding its foreign policy toward Zimbabwe have left members of civil society, the media, the general public, and the international community questioning the process. Despite the formation of the inclusive government in Zimbabwe, ‘quiet diplomacy’ has become a term that implicates not enough was done by the South
African government in its mediation efforts, or that Mbeki sympathized with and supported Mugabe. In order to address the major criticisms aimed at Mbeki’s preventive diplomacy foreign policy, this dissertation will examine the main motivations behind Mbeki and the South African government’s policy decisions. Such motivations include South Africa’s post-‐apartheid shift in foreign policy and reconstruction of a national identity, the influence of the principle of solidarity in African politics, and the
dream of a realized, South African-‐led African Renaissance.
Examining empirical evidence alone in this case study falls short of determining alternative solutions to the conflict in Zimbabwe, which is why this dissertation will employ the theoretical framework of preventive diplomacy and examine its role, relevance and success in responding to the Zimbabwe crisis. The theory and the practice of preventive diplomacy are based on the acknowledgement of all parties involved that the human, political and economic costs of war and post-‐war reconstruction far outweigh the costs of conflict prevention. The theory originates in the multilateral structure of the United Nations (UN) (Du Plessis 2003: 11). The term was first coined in
1960 by the then UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld and gained prominence in
1992 by Boutros Boutros-‐Ghali in his Agenda for Peace document (Solomon 2003: 3).
However, it was Lund (1996) who first placed the theory in a coherent, practical
framework and presented several case studies that demonstrated either the success or failure of this method of peace building. This dissertation will apply Lund’s framework of preventive diplomacy in the examination of the preventive steps taken by the South
African government, as well as other actors, in the attempt to resolve the crisis in
Traditionally, the practice of preventive diplomacy is considered to be limited to governments and international institutions such as the UN; however, what makes this case study unique is the extension of Lund’s theory to include an examination of the contribution of non-‐state actors in the practice of preventive diplomacy. It is imperative to critically assess the efforts of state and international bodies, but this dissertation will also carefully consider the efforts made by actors such as civil society organizations
(CSOs), including non-‐governmental organizations (NGOs). Often during a conflict policies are implemented via a top-‐down approach, however, increasingly analysts are becoming interested in understanding the process by which the “downstairs”, or grassroots organizations, sets the agenda for “upstairs”, mainly national governments.
Rupesinghe (1997) describes this concept as “multi-‐track diplomacy”. He explains that multi-‐track diplomacy provides “new alternatives which give non-‐state actors an opportunity to voice their grievances, thereby either helping to prevent the outbreak of violence, or being effective in containing and resolving violent conflicts (Rupesinghe,
1997: 11).” Furthermore, Rupesinghe acknowledges that NGOs, because of their small size, independence and flexibility, can play a unique and significant role in the multi-‐ track approach (1997). The concept of multi-‐track diplomacy will be discussed further in
Chapter Six of this dissertation, but what can be highlighted at this time is that the key to successful preventive diplomacy is the simultaneous and complementary use of both
Track One diplomacy and multi-‐track diplomacy methods.
1.3 The Formulation and Demarcation of the Research Problem
This study will aim to examine two important questions: What is the role of preventive diplomacy in South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe during the period of 2000 and 2009? And when did diplomatic efforts cease to be preventive in nature and switch to peacemaking and conflict resolution methods? To answer these questions the study will explore several key issues that include: whether preventive diplomacy was applied in a timely, consistent and decisive manner on the part of the South African foreign policy-‐makers and other actors to resolve the conflict in Zimbabwe; the conditions that drove a multitude of state and non-‐state actors into the Zimbabwe conflict; the motivations behind the preventive actions taken by the actors involved; the different approaches taken by the various actors in preventing conflict in Zimbabwe; the conditions that inspired a mass movement of non-‐state actors to attempt to set the agenda for policy-‐makers; and the efficacy of the non-‐state actors influence on the policy-‐makers involved. A concluding point in the study will measure the extent to which the Zimbabwe experience has proven to support the need for preventive diplomacy in resolving international conflicts. It will determine the gaps in the preventive and multi-‐ track diplomacy theoretical frameworks and will suggest how these gaps can be filled in
order for the theories to be more widely applicable.
At its core, this dissertation will argue that the method of preventive diplomacy as applied to Zimbabwe succeeded in its culmination through the GPA, but will also acknowledge that the continued politically motivated violence and arrests, the blatant disregard of international treaties and obligations, and the failure to fully implement the
GPA indicates that Zimbabwe has much more to achieve before the country can be
considered truly at peace and moving toward legitimate democratic reform.
The dissertation is demarcated by the following salient theoretical concepts: conflict, conflict prevention, preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peace building, Track One,
Track Two diplomacy, multi-‐track diplomacy, negative peace, positive peace, and foreign policy. For the purposes of this study, the primary focus will be on the concept of
preventive diplomacy and the role it plays in responding to conflict or the threat of an escalation in existing conflict. Once the key concepts have been examined and analyzed, it will then be possible to apply these theories to the responses of various actors to the current conflict in Zimbabwe and determine whether these initiatives were successful
preventive measures or failed attempts to resolve the conflict. Furthermore, the study will be limited to covering the years of Mbeki’s Presidency, 2000 to 2008, and will conclude with the signing of Zimbabwe’s GPA in September 2008 and the formation of the inclusive government in early 2009.
1.4 The Literature Survey
Researching this subject requires an appraisal of a diverse range of literature that spans from international political theory concepts to historical analyses of the Zimbabwe crisis and the South Africa-‐Zimbabwe relationship. It must also include literature on South
African foreign policy as well as current affairs coverage and analysis of the political dynamics in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and in the SADC region, more generally. It is necessary to begin with a literature survey on the theoretical concepts of conflict, its structure, conflict resolution, and conflict management. The sources that provide a comprehensive study of these topics include Mitchell (1981), Schmidt and Kochan
(1972), Matthews, Rubinoff and Stein (1984), Miall, Ramsbotham, and Woodhouse
(1999), Rupesinghe (1992), Habib (1987), Lund (1996). These sources provide an overview and introduction to conflict studies. They also address the themes of conflict resolution theory in international relations, the structure of international conflict, how to manage international conflict, third-‐party mediation efforts, and achieving peace
through peaceful means.
In the chapter “The Varieties of Intervention: Conditions for Success”, Crocker (2000) explores a variety of conflict types and situations, which involved third party intervention. Crocker emphasizes the importance of examining both military and
nonmilitary forms of intervention and discusses the wide range of possible intervening actors in the contemporary global system. Crocker addresses the difficulty in defining success of interventions by third parties. He also suggests lessons about the necessary conditions for success, such as explicit implementation strategies to support peace agreements, round-‐the-‐clock commitment by those intervening parties, and regional intervention to ease the burden of single-‐handed efforts. Finally, he stresses the importance of timing and preemption. Other sources highlighting the timing of intervention and early warning include Miall, Ramsbotham, and Woodhouse (1999),
Solomon (2003), Van Walraven (1998), Davies and Gurr (1998), Lund (1996), Adelman
(1998), Rupesinghe (1997), Ramcharan (1991), Dmitrichev (1998), and Sutterlin (1998).
For the purpose of this study, a comprehensive account of preventive diplomacy will be of the utmost importance. The main source informing the formation of this study’s theoretical framework is Lund (1996). Lund presents both an historical review of preventive actions taken by states and other organized groups as well as a historiography of the development of preventive practice and analysis. After careful consideration of the work of others, Lund (1996: 384-‐385) provides his own definition of preventive diplomacy that includes deliberate governmental or nongovernmental actions and policies to keep states or groups within states from threatening or using violence or coercion as the means to settle interstate or national political disputes.
Lund presents his theoretical framework, which will be used in this dissertation to examine the preventive diplomacy efforts within South African foreign policy toward
Zimbabwe. His framework demonstrates how preventive diplomacy measures are most
effective when applied during the peace and conflict level of unstable peace. Finally,
Lund also provides a preventive diplomacy “toolbox”, which includes a list of policies and instruments that can be used by a multitude of governmental and non-‐state actors to prevent violent conflict.
Other sources on preventive diplomacy considered include Solomon ed. (2003), Du
Plessis (2003), Boutros-‐Ghali (1992), Ramcharan (1991) and (2008), Chabal (2005),
Brown and Rosencrance (1999), Ackerman (2003), and Rupesinghe (1997). Together these sources present an in-‐depth look at the theory of preventive diplomacy, its origins and the application of the theory in international conflict situations. Solomon, Du
Plessis, and Chabal in particular, provide discussions on the application of preventive diplomacy theory to African conflicts more specifically, but do not feature Zimbabwe as a case study.
As this study will argue for the importance of incorporating multi-‐track diplomacy within the practice of preventive diplomacy, it will require an extensive examination of the literature on this theory. The two main sources on multi-‐track diplomacy that will be cited in this study are Rupesinghe (1997) and Diamond and McDonald (1996). In order to emphasize the impact the grassroots level in society had on official diplomatic relations in the Zimbabwe case study, the dissertation will carefully consider these works. Both studies serve as an expansion of the Track One, Track Two paradigm that explains approaches to peace making as either government-‐to-‐government interactions or methods of diplomacy outside the formal government sector. When the concept of
Track Two diplomacy ceased to cover the necessary scope, the variety and the depth of citizen involvement, the theory of multi-‐track diplomacy was introduced. Multi-‐track diplomacy presents a conceptual framework to view the process of international peacemaking as a web of interconnected parts that operate together (awkwardly or gracefully) for a common goal: the world at peace (Diamond and McDonald 1996: 1).
Civil society, the NGO community, faith-‐based organizations, the corporate sector and ordinary citizens have played a significant role in placing pressure on the governments involved in the Zimbabwe crisis and will be taken into account in this study under the theoretical framework of multi-‐track diplomacy.
The study also requires a comprehensive understanding of the conflict situation in
Zimbabwe and how it has developed over time. Sources that provide an in-‐depth assessment of the current political situation in Zimbabwe and South Africa’s diplomatic role therein include Phimister and Raftopoulos (2004), Alden and le Pere (2004),
Raftopoulos and Savage eds. (2004), Laakso (2002), Hamill (2002), Davies (2008),
Hughes and Mills (2003), Schoeman and Alden (2003), Landsberg (2004) and (2010),
Gevisser (2007), Gumede (2007), Johnson (2009), Raftopoulos and Mlambo eds. (2009),
Masunungure (2011), Dzinesa and Zambara (2011), and Moore (2009) and (2010).
Relevant reports from internationally renowned organizations will also be cited. These sources will include reference to reports written between 2000 and 2009 by such organizations as the International Crisis Group, Open Society Initiative for Southern
Africa (OSISA) and the Solidarity Peace Trust.
Important sources outlining official South African government foreign policy include the
South African Government Department of Foreign Affairs’ White Paper defining South
African foreign policy (Department of Foreign Affairs, 1996) and the White Paper on
South African Participation in International Peace Missions (Department of Foreign
Affairs, 1999). Interpretations and analysis of official foreign policy include contributions from the African National Congress (ANC, 1994), and Landsberg (2010). Responses by the Tripartite Alliance to the South African government’s specific foreign policy toward
Zimbabwe include Umsebenzi Online (2004), Vavi (2004), ANC Today (2004), and
COSATU (2004). This study will also consider official statements and reports from the
African Union, SADC and the Commonwealth issued between 2000 and 2009.
Speeches delivered by former President Mbeki during his time in office and official communications made by the Department of Foreign Affairs during the Mbeki
Administration’s foreign policy relations with Zimbabwe will also be cited. These include among others, Speech at the Opening of the Zimbabwe Trade Fair, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
(2000), ANC Today’s Letter from the President (2001), Statement on the Imposition of
Targeted Sanctions on Zimbabwe (2002), Briefing by the South African Observer Mission
(SAOM) in Zimbabwe (2002), Interim Statement by the South African Observer Mission to the Zimbabwean Presidential Elections (2002), Statement on the Elections in
Zimbabwe (2002), Statement by the South African Government on the Situation in
Zimbabwe (2002), President Mbeki’s Comments on Zimbabwe delivered during SA-‐DRC
BNC (2008), and President Mbeki’s Comments on Zimbabwe: MDC to pull out of
Presidential run-‐off Election (2008).
In 2001, then President Mbeki composed a document addressed to Zimbabwe President
Mugabe, which was circulated to ANC branches. In the discussion document Mbeki names the document a “humble contribution to the work that ZANU-‐PF must carry out”
(2001). The document illustrates Mbeki’s personal advice to his Zimbabwean counterpart and this source will be used in order to better understand Mbeki’s personal
thoughts on how Zimbabwe could bring an end to its own conflict.
The various efforts and contributions to resolving Zimbabwe’s political conflict that include the participation of both government and non-‐state entities have not been examined together in one study. The purpose of this dissertation, therefore, is to expand on the current knowledge of the preventive diplomacy approach taken by the
South African government toward Zimbabwe in its foreign policy and to additionally highlight the preventive multi-‐track diplomacy efforts of non-‐governmental actors. Thus its aim is to determine where these various contributors succeeded and where they
failed in order to learn from the experience when applying similar methods to future conflict situations.
1.5 The Methodological Aspects of the Study
The methodological aspects elucidate the approach to the study, the methods used, and the levels of analysis of the study. The approach to this study will be both theoretical and empirical in nature. The research will begin by examining available literature on conflict and conflict prevention and will employ Lund’s (1996) theoretical model of preventive diplomacy. Following this, the framework will be evaluated as to whether or not Lund’s is an applicable theory for this particular case study. The study will then highlight the importance of integrating the concept of multi-‐track diplomacy to preventive diplomacy theoretical frameworks and practice. Although recognizing that other actors can play a significant role in preventive diplomacy, Lund does not accentuate the necessary value of non-‐state actors in conflict prevention. Rupesinghe’s theory of multi-‐track diplomacy as well as the contributions made by Diamond and
McDonald will be discussed and emphasized as a key concept in which to present a way forward in the current South Africa-‐Zimbabwe relationship. Reactions and contributions made by civil society, including NGOs and other actors will similarly be placed within the
framework of a combined preventive and multi-‐track diplomacy.
1.6 The Structure and Outline of the Study
The structure of the dissertation is comprised of seven chapters. The dissertation commences with a consideration of the research problem, the aims and objectives of the research, the research questions that the dissertation attempts to answer, a review of the literature that informs the study, and an explanation of the methodology that
forms the foundation of the study.
The second chapter consists of the theoretical and conceptual framework, providing a thorough examination of Lund’s preventive diplomacy theory. Preventive diplomacy will be placed in the context of multi-‐track diplomacy, a comprehensive international relations approach that includes not only government-‐to-‐government interactions but also the involvement of several other non-‐state actors. Rupesinghe’s (1997) theory of
multi-‐track diplomacy, as expressed in his own work and in Diamond and MacDonald’s
(1996) Multi-‐Track Diplomacy: A Systems Approach to Peace is introduced in this chapter in order to highlight the importance of non-‐state actors in conflict prevention in general and in the case of the Zimbabwe conflict in particular.
Chapter Three provides the context of the study first through the delineation of the current crisis in Zimbabwe, and second, through an overview of the development of
South Africa-‐Zimbabwe relations over time. The chapter will analyze Zimbabwe’s recent turbulent history and its near collapse through the examination of Zimbabwe’s emergence as an independent state, the years of promise and prosperity, the factors
leading to the crisis, and the decade of decline, which followed.
Examined under a preventive diplomacy theory lens, South Africa’s foreign policy responses to Zimbabwe’s internal conflict between the years of 2000 and 2007 is assessed in Chapter Four. This evaluation includes the responses from the South African government in comparison to the preventive diplomacy approach employed by the EU, the Commonwealth and other responses of members of the international community.
The chapter concludes by determining whether such measures taken by the South
African government during this period were successful in securing a lasting, peaceful
resolution to the conflict in Zimbabwe.
Chapter Five primarily focuses on the period between 2007 and 2009, in which the
South Africa government’s preventive diplomacy foreign policy approach was renewed through a SADC mandate. However, SADC’s preventive diplomacy involvement in the
Zimbabwe conflict since 2000 as highlighted to provide the necessary background. The chapter then concentrates specifically on SADC’s preventive diplomacy efforts and achievements in the period between March 2007 and March 2008, the period through
Zimbabwe’s March 2008 presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections and the
June 2008 run-‐off are also highlighted. The fifth chapter concludes by discussing the
culminating event of SADC and South Africa’s preventive diplomacy efforts and explains why the signing of the Global Political Agreement marked the point at which the approach to the conflict in Zimbabwe shifted from preventive diplomacy to conflict management and conflict resolution.
The sixth chapter examines the role of multi-‐track diplomacy, as outlined by Rupesinghe
(1997), in the responses of other actors to the conflict in Zimbabwe. The chapter examines the preventive diplomacy of the UN, Zimbabwean civil society organizations
(CSOs), South African CSOs, the Zimbabwean Diaspora, religious groups and church leaders, and further discusses the diplomacy of economics. In presenting the multi-‐track diplomacy of other actors, Chapter Six contributes a more complete examination of the role of preventive diplomacy toward the conflict in Zimbabwe.
The concluding chapter first reviews the key findings of the dissertation and reflects on the various drawn conclusions. Chapter Seven then briefly highlights the integration of the theoretical framework within the empirical research of the study. Emphasis is placed the originality of the research and determines how this study contributes to other research in this field. The specific parameters of the study are explained in order to justify why the time period of the years 2000 to 2009 was particularly chosen for the purpose of this study. The chapter then examines several recent developments of the
Zimbabwe conflict and South Africa-‐Zimbabwe foreign relations in order to determine whether the analysis of this study continues to apply to the current situation at the time of writing. Finally, the chapter concludes by proposing areas of possible research to expand on this study, both in the theoretical realm of preventive diplomacy and multi-‐ track diplomacy, and in the empirical study of South Africa-‐Zimbabwe foreign relations
and the intrastate conflict in Zimbabwe.
The research theme of this dissertation has important relevance to several academic disciplines and similar studies could be carried out in the field of political science, peace studies, diplomacy studies, and strategic studies. This study, however, is situated in the realm of international relations and focuses on the effectiveness of preventive diplomacy in South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe. Lund’s preventive diplomacy theoretical framework is be used and expanded to include the concept of
multi-‐track diplomacy and its application.
Much research has been conducted on the theory of preventive diplomacy but it has never been applied to the Zimbabwe case study in particular. Rather, focus has been placed on comparing South Africa’s involvement in Zimbabwe to the constructive engagement method used by the Reagan Administration during apartheid (Davies
2009). This study fills the research gap by linking the theory of preventive diplomacy with the actions taken by governments and non-‐state role players in their attempts to prevent further conflict in Zimbabwe. In addition, this study will highlight the relevance of the theory of multi-‐track diplomacy and will present examples in the Zimbabwe case
study where non-‐state actors were key contributors to the process of preventive diplomacy and were successful in setting the agenda for the governments involved.
The conclusions drawn in this dissertation are not only aimed at complementing the established academic research on the above-‐mentioned topics but equally aim to make a significant contribution to the more practical application of preventive diplomacy. It is the aim and objective of this dissertation to demonstrate that over the course of 2000 to 2009 the South African government, SADC, and other multi-‐track actors applied preventive diplomacy to the conflict in Zimbabwe and, while at times this policy failed to prevent all outbreaks of violence, the combined preventive diplomacy efforts ultimately succeeded in finding a settlement between the disputing political parties in Zimbabwe.
A Theoretical Framework of Conflict and Preventive Diplomacy
The first chapter presented a concise overview of the recent conflict in Zimbabwe and
South Africa’s involvement therein. It was determined that South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe began as one of preventive diplomacy. Certain strategic steps were taken by South Africa with the intent of preventing the conflict from escalating.
However, when preventive diplomacy measures began failing to produce positive results and the situation across the border continued to deteriorate, the regional body,
SADC, intervened and mandated South Africa to lead a mediation process between the disputing political parties. South Africa’s preventive diplomacy policy was thus renewed under the SADC mandate. When an agreement was eventually met in the form of the
GPA and an inclusive government was formed, South Africa and SADC’s preventive diplomacy approach shifted to one of conflict resolution and conflict management.
Chapter One, therefore, introduced the broad research themes of preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution. The limitations of general preventive diplomacy efforts were acknowledged, and the theme of multi-‐track diplomacy was introduced. These terms were briefly defined and applied to the South African foreign policy position on
Zimbabwe so as to demonstrate the importance of the themes to the study.
The research problem of this study investigates the role of preventive diplomacy in
South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe during the period 2000 to 2009. This time period was specifically selected because it was during this era that Zimbabwe experienced a renowned political and economic decline. It was also during this time that then South African President Thabo Mbeki became the world leader expected, and later
mandated, to deal with the intrastate conflict in South Africa’s neighbour to the north.
This study further seeks to determine the turning point when South Africa’s diplomatic efforts ceased to be preventive in nature and thus switched to conflict resolution and conflict management methods. While unpacking South Africa’s foreign policy toward
Zimbabwe, the study also highlights the limitations of Track One diplomacy and therefore examines the multi-‐track efforts that include other actors not bound by the
constricting government-‐to-‐government relationship.
The literature survey found in Chapter One presented a selection of the various primary and secondary sources that inform this study. The majority of the sources used are secondary due to the nature of the research problem. Sources currently available relating to this particular topic, however, do not link the preventive diplomacy theory with a South Africa-‐Zimbabwe foreign relations case study. Neither do current available sources link the preventive diplomacy theory with the concept of multi-‐track diplomacy.
Therefore, this study expands on the existing knowledge of the South African foreign policy approach toward Zimbabwe as well as contributes to the larger body of literature
of preventive diplomacy by presenting a unique case study that, until this time, has remained overlooked.
This chapter will introduce and explain the theoretical framework that will be used to analyze the research problem of this study. The chosen theoretical framework is based on Lund’s (1996) conceptual framework of preventive diplomacy. Lund has presented his theoretical framework in his work, Preventing Violent Conflicts: A strategy for
preventive diplomacy (1996). This framework will form the basis of analysis of the South
Africa-‐Zimbabwe case study to be examined in Chapters Four, Five, and Six.
Furthermore, Rupesinghe’s (1997) concept of multi-‐track diplomacy will be introduced in this chapter as a complementing addition to Lund’s framework and will be referred to more specifically in Chapter Six, which analyzes the effects of multi-‐track diplomacy efforts of other actors involved in the Zimbabwe conflict.
This chapter begins by defining the term conflict as it relates to the research themes and the particular case study. This chapter will then introduce the theoretical framework of preventive diplomacy as defined by Lund. Once thoroughly explained, Lund’s framework will be critiqued. The preventive diplomacy theoretical framework will be placed in the context of multi-‐track diplomacy in order for the study to present a comparison between Track One diplomacy, or government-‐to-‐government relations, and multi-‐track diplomacy, which can include among others the conflict prevention efforts made by
inter-‐governmental organizations and civil society groups, among other non-‐state actors. Finally, concluding remarks will be made on the importance of this theoretical framework for Chapters Four, Five, and Six, which will lead into the third chapter: the historical background to the current crisis in Zimbabwe.
2.2 Defining Conflict
Understanding the current political conflict in Zimbabwe is not easy. In fact, grasping a solid understanding of the entirety of any conflict situation is highly problematic. This is because conflict is not a singular incident with predictable outcomes and solutions. A conflict is a complex and dynamic process, which grows or diminishes according to the actions of each participating group or individual. Once a conflict is initiated its nature is also nearly impossible to fathom as it can suddenly shift and sway in surprising directions. Conflict can draw in new participants with new perspectives and goals, and it can lead to unanticipated outcomes that either widen or narrow the conflict itself. But before one can begin to understand a given conflict’s nature in order to manage it, one must first break down the complex concept into a basic definition.
Conflict can be defined as a situation in which two or more parties desire goals, which they perceive as being obtainable by one or the other but not obtainable by both.
Matthews, Rubinoff and Stein (1984: 2) refer to conflict as competition among groups
for scarce goods, such as territory or resources, or the pursuit of mutually incompatible values and purposes. An earlier interpretation by Schmidt and Kochan (1972: 363) defines conflict as “overt behavior arising out of a process in which one unit seeks the advancement of its own interests in its relationship with the others.” According to
Mitchell (1981: 15), conflict is any situation in which two or more social entities perceive that they possess mutually incompatible goals. Mitchell (1981) explains conflict as the actual behavior of an opposing party preventing the other party from reaching its goals.
The absence of such conflict behavior results in a cooperative relationship between
parties or a condition of peaceful coexistence.
Conflicts are never static and each conflict situation takes on its own unique energy and character that changes over time as participants alter strategies and react to each other’s actions. More directly, every conflict is different and so it could be argued that it is unrealistic to try and explain conflict theoretically. Theory does remain valuable, however, if the framework can accommodate for the complexity of conflict and if it is relatively structurally abstract so that an extensive range of conflict situations can apply.
Mitchell (1981: 15) admits that the term ‘conflict’ comes with considerable ambiguity yet argues that any conflict or dispute is fundamentally comprised of three structural components: a conflict situation, conflict behavior, and conflict attitudes and perceptions. These three dimensions of conflict are not separate entities but are all intrinsically connected – continuously reinforcing and transforming each other as the conflict evolves. Mitchell’s triadic framework consequently succeeds in apprehending the innate complexity of conflict and can be implemented when examining either a
minor dispute between individuals or a major international conflict situation.
Conflict is a dynamic process and consists of many different types. In fact, according to
Miall, Ramsbotham, and Woodhouse (1999: 29) the overall state of existing conflict typology is in a state of confusion because there are as many typologies of conflicts as there are conflict analysts. The criteria of determining conflict types vary incredibly and
while some are based on an analysis of conflict parties, conflict issues determine another type, while yet other types are defined by conflict causes. This section will
introduce a few basic differentiations.
Miall, Ramsbotham, and Woodhouse (1999: 12) draw a distinction between two types of conflict: symmetric and asymmetric. Symmetric conflicts are disputes that transpire between relatively similar parties; whereas asymmetric conflicts occur in situations of unbalanced power between dissimilar parties, such as a majority and a minority or a government and rebel forces. The root of an asymmetric conflict does not lie in a difference in ideas or interests but instead lies more in the actual structure of the relationship and the roles that each party plays. Therefore, the only way to change the structure of the relationship is through conflict. The structure in asymmetric conflicts is such that the party in power always wins and the disadvantaged party always loses. In order to resolve this type of conflict, the structure must be changed, but not in the favour of the party in power. The current conflict in question in Zimbabwe can be characterized as an asymmetric conflict. The former ruling ZANU-‐PF party disallowed any form of political dissent and overtly oppressed the leading opposition party’s members and supporters through intimidation and violence. There are no win-‐win solutions to this type of conflict as there are costs imposed on both parties. In asymmetric conflict it is common for a third party to join forces with the disadvantaged party to bring about a resolution.
Because the Zimbabwe conflict can be considered an internal or intrastate conflict as opposed to an interstate conflict, it is important to recognize Rupesinghe’s outlining of types of internal conflicts. He distinguishes the various types of internal conflicts that generally result in serious or violent hostilities (Rupesinghe 1992: 13-‐14). These include: ideological conflicts which occur between the state and insurgent movements where the social inequality between classes is dominant; governance and authority conflicts, which concern the distribution of power in society and where demands from the
opposition are for regime change and control over resources; racial conflicts, South
Africa, for example, during apartheid; environmental conflicts, which are resource-‐ based over land, water, etc.; and finally, identity conflicts, where the dominant aspect is ethnic, religious, tribal or linguistic differences and the devolution of power.
Habib (1987) distinguishes between latent, perceived, affective, and manifest varieties of conflict. According to Habib (1987: 808), latent conflict encompasses potential sources of conflicting behavior such as allocation of scarce resources, divergence of goals, poor communication, and drives for sovereignty or power. Perceived conflict is a cognitive state that describes an individual’s perception or cognizance of being in conflict with another. Anxiety, stress, tension and hostility characterize affective conflict. Manifest conflict refers to the overt activity or behavior dimension of conflict that can range from the passive resistance to the use of military force. These types of conflict range from the most hidden (latent) to the most blatant (manifest) forms. It is important to highlight that because manifest conflicts are open confrontations they are most easy to recognize and respond to timeously. It is the latent conflicts that are more difficult to detect because they can simmer under the surface for extended periods of time before exploding into manifest conflict. In order to respond more effectively to latent conflicts, we must rely more heavily on conflict prevention methods and early
warning systems, which will be discussed in Section 2.4 of this chapter.
2.3 A Conflict Life Cycle
Just as there are numerous varieties or types of conflict, a single conflict undergoes numerous stages in its lifespan. The term used to describe these dynamic stages of conflict is aptly named the conflict life cycle. As defined above, conflicts are complex, dynamic processes that are never static. The conflict life cycle is made up of several stages, each of various intensities, through which parties in a conflict can pass more than once before the conflict is settled or resolved. It is critical to have a good
understanding of the conflict cycle in order to effectively employ different conflict prevention and conflict management methods at the various stages of conflict.
Contemporary research, as demonstrated by Lund (1996) and Miall, Ramsbotham, and
Woodhouse (1999), documents a life cycle that is common to most international conflicts. Although not all conflicts necessarily pass through each of the mentioned stages in the life cycle, it is important to consider each stage carefully because with the commencement of one stage then the next becomes more and more likely to occur. The frameworks describing the various stages in a conflict life cycle assist in the analysis of conflict evolution and thus aid in determining an appropriate conflict prevention
According to Lund (1996: 38-‐39), there are five main stages of conflict: war, crisis, unstable peace, stable (or cold) peace, and durable (or warm) peace. War is sustained fighting between organized armed forces. The stage of war can vary between low-‐ intensity, continuing conflict and civil disorder, to a situation of all-‐out “hot” war. The second stage of conflict is crisis, which is tense confrontation between armed forces that are mobilized and ready to fight. These forces may engage in threats and occasional low-‐level clashes but have not yet wielded any significant amount of force. When in this second stage, a conflict is very prone to move to war. The third stage is unstable peace, which is a situation where violence is either absent or irregular but where the relationship between parties is characterized by suspicion and tension. Stable (or cold) peace is a relationship of cautious communication and limited cooperation between parties and marks the fourth stage of conflict. In this stage the prospect of war or confrontation is low as disputes are generally resolved in nonviolent ways. The final and fifth stage of conflict is durable (or warm) peace, which involves a high level of cooperation and reciprocity. Effectively it is the absence of self-‐defense measures among parties. This “positive peace” stage can be sustained through a relationship of
shared values, goals, and institutions, such as democratic political systems, and economic interdependence.
These five levels or stages of conflict outline the nuances in various aspects of the relationship between parties. According to Lund (1996: 40), each level involves some degree of conflict but of significantly different intensity and forms of expression. When a conflict is at one of these five stages it has the propensity to move to the next stage or slip back into a previous stage on the conflict life cycle spectrum. In other words, a conflict at any stage can either escalate or de-‐escalate and shift to another stage, depending on the existing conditions. It is critical for both scholars and policy-‐makers to grasp a good understanding of the conflict life cycle and the implications of each stage of conflict in order to develop effective conflict prevention strategies that can avert a conflict from escalating toward violence and rather direct a conflict toward a stage of durable peace.
2.4 Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Systems
While conflict resolution has developed as a specialized field in the post-‐Cold War era, the study of conflict prevention has come into the fore even more recently. Past research focused too narrowly on the causes and nature of conflict, rather than how conflicts are prevented. Yet, according to Miall, Ramsbotham, and Woodhouse (1999:
95), preventing violent conflict has been a central objective of the conflict resolution enterprise from its start in the late 1950s. Therefore, the concept of conflict prevention is not new. While human history is replete with conflict situations, it is also rich with tales of conflict interventions and prevention. It can be said that the practice of conflict prevention has existed for as long as humankind has made attempts to avoid man-‐made calamities (Solomon 2003: 2). However, one more formal example extends back to the early nineteenth century when the Concert of Europe was established in order to lay international relationship ground rules and sustain peace between the great powers of
Europe. With the end of the Second World War the United Nations was founded in 1945 according to its Charter’s Preamble in order to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” by “effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace.”
The concept of conflict prevention has grown out of the policy of conflict intervention.
Van Walraven (1998: 2) suggests that the nature of post-‐Cold War conflict interventions by inter-‐governmental institutions has differed greatly than the approaches made by the two nuclear superpowers during the Cold War. He states, “Intervention [is] now dictated, not by the narrow interests of some dominant states, but by a humanitarian or enlightened purpose: the alleviation of human suffering (Van Walraven 1998: 2).” After witnessing the devastating carnage of conflicts such as Angola, Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia and Liberia, which exposed the deficiencies of government and international organization intervention, scholars and policy-‐makers began to realize the importance of intervening in a conflict earlier, before it could escalate to higher levels of intensity in the conflict cycle. Not only would an early intervention potentially save human life and human capital, it would also be cost effective. Conflict prevention, when applied timeously, can save a lot of money and resources, considering the exorbitant price for subsequent humanitarian relief, protection, physical reconstruction, and rebuilding of economic and sociopolitical systems (Miall Ramsbotham, & Woodhouse 1999: 95 and
Davies & Gurr 1998: 2). The research question then became, could these recent conflicts have been avoided? The answer was clear: the destructive outcomes to these conflicts were due to the lack of early and effective international action. As Lund (1996: 14) states, “the longer that crises are allowed to fester, the harder they are to resolve.” So whether inspired, as Van Walraven (1998) points out, by the alleviation of human suffering, or by the more practical consequences of high monetary costs of reconstruction, governments, UN agencies, international organizations and NGOs more often agree on the benefits of anticipating a crisis and responding with preventive action before the conflict explodes.
Simply put, arguments for early intervention have come to outweigh the excuses to not get involved. It is clear in this current globalized world that international and intrastate conflicts can have serious implications and can cause destabilizing global effects, such as the influx of refugees and the negative impact on the regional or global economy. Lund
(1996: 21-‐24) warns that non-‐involvement is no longer a strategic stance to current international and intrastate conflicts. Firstly, it is difficult for a third party not to get involved when exposed to the mass media portrayals of human suffering, which can also sway public opinion to demand a government or an international organization to respond. Secondly, and as previously mentioned, the financial and political costs of nonintervention are significantly higher than the costs of prevention early on in a given conflict. Lund (1996: 23) suggests that the amount the United States has paid in the
1990s to repair only a few war-‐ravaged sub-‐Saharan African countries through peacekeeping, relief aid, and reconstruction has far exceeded the amounts it would otherwise likely have contributed to peacetime development assistance for all the sub-‐
Saharan countries combined. Thirdly, nonintervention can bring about a loss of status and influence to a third party government or international organization. If one major international player opts out of conflict intervention, a new and aspiring leader will emerge and exert its influence in managing conflicts on their own terms. Therefore, there is much more to gain both politically and economically through early intervention in a conflict as opposed to noninvolvement.
In order to effectively act to prevent the outbreak of violence, clear forewarning of impending trouble is required such as an early warning system or tool that reveals the factors and indicators that could spark this conflict shift. The concept of early warning originates in the sphere of military relations and intelligence and the prediction and management of natural humanitarian disasters (Adelman 1998: 45). For example, the
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) developed the first early warning system that was designed to enable the FAO to locate food supplies to prevent famine (Adelman
1998: 45). According to Adelman, the first type of early warning system was designed to enable action to be taken to deter an enemy’s threat or mitigate its effects and the second was concerned with taking action, but to prevent or mitigate suffering of others
(Adelman: 45). Van Walraven (1998: 3) explains that “if put into practice, [early warning] would involve the collection of data on the basis of uniform, systematized procedures; their analysis according to a proper scientific methodology; and, if it would be concluded that those data pointed to a high probability of impending violent conflict, the transmission of a warning to political decision-‐makers (Adelman 1998: 52).” further defines early warning as “the communication of information on a crisis area, analysis of that information, and development of potential, timely, strategic response options to the crisis.” With this early warning information at hand, ideally decision-‐makers would then take the necessary steps or early action to prevent the conflict from reaching a
phase of violence or from escalating to increased levels of violence.
There is much debate on the concept of early warning and its link to preventive action.
Dorn states, “Early identification and early warning are the first steps toward conflict prevention.” This is a starting point. However, some analysts prefer to define early warning solely in terms of information sharing, while others view early warning as both situation monitoring and communicating an alert (Adelman 1998: 52). Therefore, one school of thought sees early warning as information gathering and the second sees it as including action. The two key analysts embroiled in this debate are Kumar Rupesinghe, the Secretary General of International Alert and Chair of the International Peace
Research Association’s Commission on Internal Conflicts and their Resolution, and B.G.
Ramcharan, a member of the UN Secretariat for thirty-‐two years and served as UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights. Rupesinghe is of the school that believes early warning must include action, which stands in contrast to Ramcharan, who clearly distinguishes early warning from preventive diplomacy, while linking the two.
Early warning as a practice on its own has suffered illegitimacy claims over recent years due to the debate and the close link between early warning and preventive action. The focus on successful preventive results has led to the misunderstanding that a lack of preventive action was caused by a failure in early warning (Dmitrichev 1998: 221). When this is recognized the common explanation given for the failure is the lack of political will, which brings the debate into the political realm. Dmitrichev (1998: 221) explains that once this particular debate enters the political sphere it raises sensibilities and concerns over the role of organizations being more than what may suit the mandates of
“response” agencies when conducting early warning studies and therefore puts NGOs at risk of exceeding their welcome by host states if they are seen in this negative light. But no matter what side of the debate you are on it is generally agreed that both the collection of early warning data and preventive action are critical in the process of preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention. The success of early warning and conflict prevention depends highly on the building and strengthening of close collaborative links between early warning researchers and practitioners (normally found in the private sector, such as universities) and those in a position to influence public policy
(international organizations and NGOs) and policy makers or governments (Davies &
Gurr 1998: 2).
Although early warning encompasses a more policy-‐oriented aspect of conflict studies, the concept should be practiced at multiple levels of society, including at the levels of national governments, inter-‐governmental and international organizations such as the
United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), and non-‐governmental organizations (NGOs). However, international organizations are often too preoccupied with confronting and reacting to existing conflicts to respond to potential or imminent conflicts. There has been much discussion and lip service paid to conflict prevention and early warning mechanisms by government officials and diplomats, however, Van Walraven (1998: 19) asserts, “While early warning and conflict prevention have become part of the vocabulary of
international diplomacy, this does not automatically mean that inter-‐governmental organizations and their member states have actually designed and pursued strategies of conflict prevention.” This dissertation will determine in the coming chapters whether the South African government’s foreign policy toward the political conflict in Zimbabwe was a true act of preventive diplomacy or merely another example of lip service paid to the concepts and ideas underlying conflict prevention and early warning.
Unfortunately, standardized early warning systems or methods are rare and so policy-‐ makers, peacekeepers and third party mediators must adapt their own preventive approaches in any given conflict situation. Furthermore, governments often lack the political will to practice and invest in early warning. Few organizations can claim success in developing and implementing conflict prevention strategies. To date, the UN has been the leading organization in the field of early warning. Sutterlin (1998: 121) explains that because the principal purpose of the UN, as defined in its Charter, is the maintenance of peace and international security, the UN is therefore mandated to prevent conflict that would jeopardize peace in any country or region across the world.
Therefore, in order to successfully fulfill this extensive mandate, the UN requires a system of early warning. Sutterlin (1998: 121) observes that the necessity for early warning has “long been recognized in the United Nations, since it is inherent in the concept of preventive diplomacy, something that every Secretary-‐General since Dag
Hammarskjöld has explicitly favoured and that both the General Assembly and the
Security Council have supported.” He clarifies, “The concept of preventive diplomacy, however, encompasses both warning and preventive action (Sutterlin 1998: 121).” With
this said, we can recall the differing opinions of Rupesinghe and Ramcharan on the distinction of early warning and preventive diplomacy. The concept of preventive diplomacy will be further explored and defined in the subsequent sections of this chapter.
In 1996, in his capacity as Director of the Africa 1 Division of the Department of Political
Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, Ramcharan explained that early warning is in an experimental period but that it is growing and therefore has its starts, its trials and stoppages (Van Walraven 1998: 176). The now disbanded UN Office for Research and the Collection of Information (ORCI) played a critical role in early warning and conducted valuable work towards the establishment of a common early warning methodology. The ORCI reached out to the academic community for assistance in launching a comprehensive database and to work on developing indicators of potential conflict and violence. The office also began a computerized system into which information on every country in the world could be fed and further classified according to standardized indicators. The ORCI staff attempted to work on trends that could possibly propagate conflicts in certain regions, but unfortunately more recently the ORCI was disbanded and the UN has since decreased its efforts in the development of indicators and a system of early warning (Van Walraven 1998: 177).
Other UN agencies, such as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) rely heavily on early warning systems. The UNHCR’s Centre for Documentation and
Research (CDR) conducts research on the parameters and indicators for monitoring country situations. The CDR has carried out important activities that relate to early warning such as field monitoring, information collection through the Country of Origin
Information Project, information dissemination through REFWORLD, an authoritative resource on human rights and refugee-‐related information, and finally policy research
(Dmitrichev 1998: 227-‐228).
Perhaps more relevant to the Zimbabwe internal conflict, is the role SADC plays in conflict prevention. At a symposium on conflict prevention and early warning, which was held on 26 November 1996 at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations in
The Hague, E.T. Manyika spoke in his capacity as Deputy Secretary for Political and
Economic Affairs at the Zimbabwean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the SADC contact
point for the Southern African Community’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security
(Van Walraven 1998: 177-‐78). Manyika argued that the SADC member states effectively used the experience gained during liberation struggles to then attempt to prevent conflicts in the region from developing into full-‐scale civil wars (Van Walraven 1998:
177-‐78). His examples of success stories were preventive measures in the Kingdom of
Lesotho, where after an unconstitutional takeover of power Presidents Mandela (South
Africa), Matsire (Botswana) and Mugabe (Zimbabwe) intervened to prevent civil war; and in Swaziland where the monarchy was (and still is) opposed to democratization,
SADC launched an intervention. These examples, however, are not very persuasive. One participant at the symposium, for example, argued that in the case of Swaziland, it was not so much that the SADC organ acted to prevent conflict, but that South Africa’s
President at the time, Nelson Mandela, worked single-‐handedly to sway the Swazi monarchy (Van Walraven 1998: 177-‐78). What can be drawn by Mr. Manyika’s contribution, however, is that the SADC body recognizes the need for conflict prevention in Southern Africa and has officially mandated, from 1996, the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security to prevent conflict in the region. Chapters Four and
Five of this dissertation will delve deeper into SADC’s preventive role in the current
At the very same symposium, N. Hinton, a representative of the International Crisis
Group (ICG), explained the advantages NGOs have over governments in the field of conflict prevention and early warning due to their non-‐political nature (Van Walraven
1998: 179). The ICG’s membership includes former prime ministers, presidents, foreign ministers, senior businessmen and journalists and its directive is to identify countries that are on the verge or in the middle of a crisis situation. Its involvement includes high-‐ level advocacy, in order to prevent a crisis or mediate through a conflict. The ICG as an organization believes that because conflict differs from country to country and region to region, an application of an early warning or conflict prevention strategy across the world as a whole would be impossible, and therefore, the ICG commits itself to a
particular country in crisis for the long-‐term in order to comprehensively study the nature and structure of the country’s unique conflict and thus apply more effective methods of conflict prevention. One success story shared by Hinton is the example of
ICG’s collaborative intervention in Sierra Leone in 1994. The ICG implemented a multi-‐ track diplomacy approach by working together with the United Nations, several national governments and major media houses, such as CNN and the BBC, to ensure firstly that sufficient funds were available for a smooth and democratic elections process, and secondly, that the events around the elections were covered for the duration of the electoral cycle. The ICG also encouraged the UN to pay more attention to initiating peace talks between the Sierra Leonean government and rebel groups, because from its research the ICG recognized that a successful election would not be enough to bring about lasting peace. It is this form of long-‐term commitment and involvement that is
ideal in preventive diplomacy.
Van Walraven (1998: 180) highlights the gaps in the research around conflict prevention and early warning. He observed that in the symposium’s Clingendal Occassional Paper, the role of NGOs had not been included in the report and in fact a more comprehensive analysis on the roles NGOs play in the field of early warning and conflict prevention is needed. Rupesinghe (1997) expresses the same sentiment in The General Principles of
Multi-‐Track Diplomacy. Indeed, NGOs play a very critical role in the collection of early warning information and in mediating in crisis situations, as they have the advantage of being apolitical and being situated on the ground in conflict countries. Increasingly, organizations such as the UN, AU, SADC and national governments are relying heavily on the contributions and analysis provided by the NGO community. For example, according to the Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Irene Petras, the
2011 South Africa-‐led SADC mediation team for Zimbabwe was in regular communication with ZLHR to receive reliable information on human rights violations and legal human rights cases that exist in the country (Personal Communication, Irene
Petras, 2 December 2011). It is critical for those governments and international
organizations involved in conflict prevention and conflict mediation to keep their doors open for dialogue with relevant NGOs. In conclusion, it is important for this study to highlight the multi-‐track diplomacy efforts, which is not limited to the state-‐focused approach, but which includes the contributions made by NGOs and other members of
civil society in the field of conflict prevention and early warning.
2.5 Preventive Diplomacy
As mentioned previously in this chapter, the idea of preventive diplomacy surfaced in the 1950s through the desire of conflict resolution practitioners to prevent rather than merely react to violent conflict. Former United Nations Secretary-‐General Dag
Hammarskjöld first articulated the term preventive diplomacy in 1960. He was referring to a Cold War context but foresaw preventive diplomacy in the political as well as the economic spheres. His concept held and subsequently, all of his successors have been proponents and practitioners of preventive diplomacy. While Boutros Boutros-‐Ghali’s
(1992) acclaimed An Agenda for Peace is the most cited document in the field, Javier
Pérez de Cuéllar called for a comprehensive global watch during his term and Kofi
Annan sought to develop inter-‐agency collaboration in the implementation of preventive strategies and the development of a “culture of prevention” (Ramcharan
2008: xvi). Needless to say, the idea of preventive diplomacy has informed UN practice specifically and has spread to form the basis of foreign policy practiced by national
governments across the world.
The term preventive diplomacy combines two critical components of diplomatic relations: both official and unofficial. First, it includes the notion of prevention, which is the act of avoiding or keeping away from risk and danger. This can include the measures taken to prevent a conflict situation from escalating to heightened forms of tension and violence. Secondly, the term includes the concept of diplomacy. A simple definition of diplomacy, referencing Encyclopaedia Britannica, is the “established method of
influencing the decisions and behavior of foreign governments and peoples through dialogue, negotiation, and other measures short of war or violence.” While traditionally the understanding of diplomacy is limited to official relations between sovereign states, a modern interpretation of diplomacy includes the international activities and unofficial diplomacy carried out by international organizations, regional bodies and NGOs. When these two definitions are combined the concept of preventive diplomacy becomes the method used by states or international organizations and civil society to avoid and prevent the escalation of conflict, particularly through the practice of dialogue and
In An Agenda For Peace: Preventive Diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-‐keeping,
Boutros Boutros-‐Ghali (1992: 2) defines preventive diplomacy as an “action to prevent disputes from arising between parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur.” He first distinguishes preventive diplomacy, which is a method that “seeks to resolve disputes before violence breaks out,” from peacemaking and peace-‐keeping, which are “required to halt conflicts and preserve peace once it is attained (1992: 2).” One would think that preventive diplomacy could not then be useful in conflict situations that have reached a later stage in the conflict cycle. However, he does continue to state that, “the most desirable and efficient employment of diplomacy is to ease tensions before they result in conflict – or, if conflict breaks out to act swiftly to contain it and resolve its underlying causes (1992:
2).” This way Boutros-‐Ghali recognizes that preventive diplomacy remains a relevant method even after a full-‐blown conflict is realized.
An Agenda for Peace (1992: 1) was written as a report of the UN Secretary-‐General following a summit meeting of the UN Security Council with the purpose of providing analysis and recommendations on ways the capacity of the UN for preventive diplomacy could become strengthened and more efficient. Writing as a leader of the UN, Boutros-‐
Ghali (1992: 2) limits the practice of preventive diplomacy within the realm of the
United Nations when he writes, “Preventive diplomacy may be performed by the
Secretary-‐General personally or through senior staff of specialized agencies and programmes, by the Security Council or the General Assembly, and by regional organizations in cooperation with the United Nations.” The former Secretary-‐General of the UN did not, at the time, consider the preventive diplomacy method to be applied by any group or individual without the close guidance and collaboration of his international organization of sovereign states. Twenty years after the presentation of this document, we see a very different application of preventive diplomacy; one which includes multi-‐ track diplomacy of national governments, international organizations, NGOs and other members of civil society. This modern interpretation will be discussed further in 2.9 of
Although Boutros-‐Ghali’s An Agenda for Peace can be seen in hindsight as rather limiting and exceedingly focused on the role of the UN as the central actor, this document should be recognized as the tipping point that led the study and practice of preventive diplomacy to shift from one generation’s philosophy to that of a second generation.
Anton du Plessis introduces the origins of preventive diplomacy through the comparison of what he terms first generation preventive diplomacy and second generation preventive diplomacy (Du Plessis 2003: 11-‐15). First generation preventive diplomacy, he describes, was strictly linked to UN efforts of either the quiet facilitation of discussion and mediation of conflicting parties led by the UN Secretary-‐General or the UN field operations that were often political in nature and based on military force (Du Plessis
2003: 11). Du Plessis (2003: 11) argues that first generation preventive diplomacy did not flourish firstly because at the time it was unclear what the method actually entailed.
Making reference to Kantian philosophy, Du Plessis (2003: 12) concludes that the ambiguity resulted in an idiographic, which focuses on an in-‐depth understanding of a specific case study, rather than a nomothetic approach, which tends to generalize.
Secondly, first generation preventive diplomacy waned was because the term itself failed to articulate the public’s understanding of the UN’s function (Du Plessis 2003: 12).
Finally, Du Plessis (2003: 11-‐12) explains that relating the concept of diplomacy, which was generally understood as unaggressive, to the concept of war prevention, which distinctly requires hostile behavior did not resonate among people at the time.
Therefore, preventive diplomacy during its first generation of existence as a concept was limited to the activities of UN, its Secretary-‐General and the Security Council and was not a widely accepted term known by the public or used by others in the field of
Second generation preventive diplomacy arguably came into being in 1992 with An
Agenda for Peace, which named preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacekeeping as the UN’s main objective. Although still declaring the UN as the custodian of preventive diplomacy, there was mention of the involvement of regional organizations working in cooperation with the UN. In fact, in some circumstances, “the United Nations may well need to draw upon the specialized skills and resources of various parts of the
United Nations system; such operations may also on occasion require the participation of non-‐governmental organizations (Boutros-‐Ghali 1992: 3).” The Cold War had recently ended and analysts of the time believed in a “new world order” but new era of insecurity and conflict appeared. With a rise in smaller, hot conflicts across the globe came the realization that if the causes were detected sooner and an appropriate early warning response was applied some of these disputes could be prevented before reaching more advanced stages of conflict. This would save not only human life but also the financial burden that comes hand in hand with humanitarian responses and reconstruction.
Preventive diplomacy thus became more popularized and applied in its second generation because it developed into a more comprehensive approach to peace and security. The UN continued its preventive diplomacy activities but others quickly followed suit. As Du Plessis (2003: 14-‐15) points out, the Bush and Clinton administrations of the United States, regional and multilateral organizations such as the
Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization for African Unity (OAU) and the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as NGOs, academic and research institutions and private foundations all propagated the notion of preventing conflict through political means. The South African government’s White Paper
Discussion Document on South African Foreign Policy (South Africa DFA 1996) reflects the same sentiments:
Conflict prevention and peace-‐making are of substantial concern to South Africa in the
African context…Preventive Diplomacy has become an essential and fundamental consideration in the international context for political leaders and diplomats. Once conflict occurs, diplomacy is faced with a new challenge, which is more difficult,
traumatic and costly – both materially and in terms of human life – namely devising appropriate peace-‐making and peace-‐keeping operations (South Africa DFA: 6.1, 5).
Delayed, messy and expensive responses to international conflict were on their way out and preventive diplomacy was the sexier alternative. Preventive diplomacy protected interests, saved money, enhanced political status and saved lives. To the public it was an easy and attractive sell.
2.6 Examining Lund’s Conceptual Framework
In his work Preventing Violent Conflicts: A Strategy for Preventive Diplomacy, Lund
(1996) provides historical case studies of successful and failed efforts at preventive diplomacy and a “tool kit” for implementing the method. Lund illuminates the debate among analysts and practitioners to find a working definition of preventive diplomacy.
He acknowledges the first generation preventive diplomacy thinking that only considers the involvement of a high-‐level official such as the UN Secretary-‐General to end a war or contain an international crisis. This understanding generally links preventive diplomacy strictly to wars. Yet to others, Lund (1996: 31) observes, preventive diplomacy is associated with the contributions made unofficially, through Track Two diplomacy, by
NGOs and other actors that promote dialogue and mediation behind closed doors. A
more flexible viewpoint accepts that preventive diplomacy can address one-‐sided conflicts such as genocide or the repression of human rights (Lund 1996: 31), this
making Lund’s framework a more practical model to consider.
If finding an accepted definition was not difficult enough, preventive diplomacy is often confused with peacemaking, conflict management and peacekeeping. Lund (1996: 31) additionally points to the many commonly used similar terms that flood foreign policy conversations such as preventive action, preventive engagement, preventive
deployment, conflict prevention and crisis prevention. Lund does brave the confusion and offers his own definition of our phrase of focus. Lund (1996: 37) determines that
preventive diplomacy is:
Action taken in vulnerable places and times to avoid the threat or use of armed force and related forms of coercion by states or groups to settle the political disputes that can arise from the destabilizing effects of economic, social, political, and international change.
This will remain the accepted definition for the purpose of this dissertation. Lund’s definition and conceptual framework has been chosen predominantly because it is the most appropriate framework currently available that can be applied to the Zimbabwe conflict and South Africa’s foreign policy attempts to prevent the country’s further deterioration. Moreover Lund’s concept has an inherent inclusion of various types of diplomatic efforts such as political, economic, and military among others that can be implemented by governments, multilateral international organizations, NGOs, private citizens or a combination thereof. Furthermore, as Lund (1996: 37) suggests preventive diplomacy can also be carried out by the disputants themselves. His theory therefore accommodates for the study’s inclusion of Rupesinghe’s concept of multi-‐track diplomacy. Lund appreciates that some analysts would prefer to use the terms “conflict prevention” or “crisis prevention” so as to avoid reference to the word “diplomacy,” however, in order to include the wide range of actions the word denotes, Lund stands by the Hammarskjöld-‐Boutros-‐Ghali tradition in terminology.
Lund explores this particular area of conflict research and presents his own theoretical framework, which provides a narrower focus than is offered in Agenda for Peace. For
Lund (1996: 37), the core of the concept of preventive diplomacy is that “proaction is better than reaction, that crises can be better addressed as they emerge rather than when they have already deepened and widened.” Therefore the core of preventive diplomacy is about timing; the stage at which a conflict has reached when intervention is made. The type of proaction can take many forms and intervention can take place at any stage of the conflict life cycle, as long as an intervention is made in a timely and effective manner that keeps conflicts from escalating to unmanageable levels of prolonged violence. Lund builds his theoretical framework around this core issue and thus provides a structure that facilitates an accurate evaluation of conflict, which at the same time indicates the strategic moments in the conflict life cycle where intervention would be most efficacious.
Lund’s theoretical framework describes the place or stage in the full life history of a conflict at which preventive diplomacy can be engaged in relation to actions taken at other points in a conflict. He combines the progression of conflict with different strategies of prevention and management. In his diagram The Life History of a Conflict,
Lund (1996: 38) recommends different prevention and management measures depending on the intensity of violence and the stage the conflict has entered. Lund’s framework is three-‐dimensional and includes the evolution of conflict through five stages and the characteristic problems to each stage, the length or life cycle of a conflict, and a list of conflict prevention and management strategies relating to each stage that can be implemented.
The framework begins with the far left column of the diagram, which presents the five levels or stages of peace or conflict that exist between parties. The stages describe the shifts that can take place within the parties’ relationships as they evolve. Lund (1996:
38) includes the parties’ “awareness of differences, separate identities, political polarization, value congruence, mutual trust, and hostile behavior.” Each of the stages involves some level of conflict but encompass different intensity and manifestation.
Even from the stage of Durable Peace a conflict can emerge, just as a conflict that has
already subsided can re-‐escalate.
The first of the five stages of peace or conflict described in Lund’s theoretical framework is Durable (or Warm) Peace. Although this stage does not appear to belong in a life history of conflict, Lund argues that conflict can grow out of a time of peace. Durable peace describes a just order and Lund gives the example of the relationship between the United States and Great Britain during the 20 th
century to illustrate this stage on the conflict life cycle. The parties in this stage enjoy strong cooperation and reciprocity.
Lund highlights that although at this stage there is a virtual absence of self-‐defense measures among parties, it may include a military alliance against a common threat. The relationship between parties is based on shared values and goals, economic similarities and interdependence, and parallel institutions, such as democratic political systems.
Therefore a “positive peace” exists and should any disagreements arise they are addressed through institutionalized settlements. According to Lund, the intrastate or domestic form of this stage ranges from processes of national reconciliation (i.e. South
Africa in mid-‐1990s) to the establishment of a legitimate constitutional democracy, where there is a natural shifting in political representation and a sense of social justice.
When durable or warm peace is shared between countries (i.e. the current Canada-‐
United States relationship) there is very minimal risk of the relationship deteriorating
into conflict or repression.
The second stage of peace or conflict is Stable (or Cold) Peace, which describes a basic order relationship. Parties relating in this stage engage in partial cooperation (i.e. trade relations) and cautious communication. Lund (1996: 37) proposes the relationship between the United States and China in the mid-‐1990s as an example of two countries
in stable peace. Domestically, this is a stage of national stability but tensions are not buried deep below the surface. For example, this could involve competition between national and at times hostile political factions (i.e. South Africa in 1994). A stable peace is characterized by goal variance and a lack of military cooperation; however, disputes at
this stage are largely resolved predictably and through non-‐violent means.
Lund’s third stage of peace or conflict is termed Unstable Peace. At this point in the conflict life cycle tension and suspicion between parties is heightened, however violence is either infrequent or nonexistent. Lund (1996: 37) describes this stage as a “negative peace” because “although armed force is not deployed, the parties perceive one another as enemies and maintain deterrent military capabilities.” For example, at the time of writing the relationship between the United States and Iran can be described as one of unstable or “negative” peace. Crisis or war is possible, however a balance of power keeps aggression between parties at bay. Domestically, this stage of conflict can be illustrated by government repression (i.e. Mugabe’s repression of the opposition in
March 2007 in Zimbabwe).
Lund (1996: 37) names his fourth stage of peace or conflict Crisis, which is a “tense confrontation between armed forces that are mobilized and ready to fight and may engage in threats and occasional low-‐level skirmishes but have not exerted any significant amount of force.” Lund (1996: 37) reminds us of the Cuban missile crisis of
1962, where the world was on the brink of war, as an example of the crisis stage of conflict. At the domestic level, the crisis phase would describe a situation of continuing
political violence between two competing factions.
Finally, Lund’s fifth stage of peace or conflict is War. This stage describes the prolonged and violent unrest between organized armed forces of the involved parties. It can include low-‐intensity but unceasing conflict or civil disorder but can also rise to the level of what Lund (1996: 37) describes as an “all-‐out hot war”. The internal conflict in
Somalia in early 1992 is given as an example of a low-‐intensity conflict during the War stage. An example of the extreme side of this fifth stage is the Second World War.
Lund’s theoretical framework maps the progression of disputes as they evolve into violent conflicts. This evolution is dependent on two critical factors: the intensity of the conflict, which is illustrated by the vertical axis of Lund’s diagram, and the length of the conflict over time, which is evident by the horizontal axis. Lund uses a curved line that stretches from left to right of the diagram and forms an arc to explain the escalation and diminution of the intensity of a given conflict over time. Lund (1996: 38) describes his diagram as “oversimplified” to characterize an “ideal type” life history of a conflict.
Therefore, Lund does acknowledge the complexities of every conflict but has simplified his diagram in order to serve the purpose of accommodating a wide variety of conflict types in his preventive diplomacy theoretical framework. The model is adaptable in that it permits analysts to identify several different types of conflict interventions that
correspond to the diagram’s different levels of conflict intensity.
Located within the theoretical framework’s arc are contemporary examples of conflicts that are then designated to Lund’s various stages of peace or conflict. Located outside and around the arc are the commonly used terms for different types of conflict interventions. These terms are captured through the use of two parallel series. The “P” series includes preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peace enforcement, peacekeeping, and peace building. The “P” series terms are generally used in discussions associated with the work of the United Nations. The “C” series are generally employed in the academic literature on conflict and include conflict prevention, crisis management, conflict management, conflict mitigation, conflict termination, and conflict resolution.
Terms from both series can be used but Lund (1996: 38) advises analysts to consider the importance of first understanding that the terms form sequences of related but
different conflict interventions, each applicable to different stages of a conflict.
Let us recall that the key to Lund’s theoretical framework is the timing of the application of preventive diplomacy and according to his framework preventive diplomacy is most effective at the stage of unstable peace. Preventive diplomacy is most commonly employed when the relationships between the involved parties are at risk of shifting from stable (cold) peace to unstable peace. Therefore, the practice of this conflict prevention method can apply to situations that have had no recent encounters with conflict and also to post-‐conflict situations where violence or coercion have, for the most part, been put at bay but the efforts of post-‐conflict peace building have failed to move the conflict into stable peace and away from the risk of re-‐escalation (Lund 1996:
41). This said, Lund (1996: 41) indicates that preventive diplomacy is especially effective at the level of unstable peace in order to prevent a conflict from escalating to a deeper stage of crisis.
Once Lund establishes that preventive diplomacy is most operative when used at the level of unstable peace he differentiates the practice from two other well-‐known forms of diplomacy and conflict intervention with which it is often confused. These are peacetime diplomacy (or peacetime politics), which is located on Lund’s diagram in the stable peace stage; and crisis management (or war diplomacy), which is located on
Lund’s diagram in the crisis stage of peace or conflict.
Peacetime diplomacy is the form of diplomacy that is enjoyed by states that have stable and relatively positive relations in the environment of peacetime international relations and conventional national foreign and defense policies. Such countries or parties engaged in peacetime diplomacy may not necessarily be exemplary democratic countries or parties, however there exists a basic order because the worth of safeguarding this stable order and positive relationship is more important than reaching desirable outcomes by resorting to dispute or conflict to the parties involved. Because of this conscious and joint effort to sustain the relationship, there is less of a chance of rising tensions and violence to emerge when parties are participating in peacetime
diplomacy. Whereas crisis management (or war diplomacy) is engaged when the parties involved have already reached the level of high confrontation; the threat of violent force by one or more party is realistic and the full eruption of aggression is predicted.
Appendix B encapsulates the differences between these two forms of diplomacy as compared with the medium term to short term role preventive diplomacy plays to resolve disputes.
As indicated by Lund’s diagram, preventive diplomacy operates between peacetime and crisis management. Preventive diplomacy is not applicable in conditions of ordinary foreign relations and typical development activity nor is it effective when a conflict has reached a stage of war. Preventive diplomacy is best employed at a stage of unstable peace. Lund (1996: 42) explains further that preventive diplomacy “concentrates specifically on troubled, unstable places and at times where the potential is high or rising that regimes or peoples will take up arms or use other forms of coercion to
“resolve” emerging political differences. The shift between stable (or cold) peace and unstable peace transpires when the basic order of the relationship is disrupted and undergoes rapid changes. This disruption can include, among others, a dramatic economic downfall, a transferal in political power or the rise of a military force. The disruption then effectively restricts the ability of existing institutions and normal conflict resolution paths to peacefully address the dispute. This is the point between peacetime and crisis management.
Lund (1996: 42) clarifies that preventive diplomacy is not engaged in every dispute or conflict of interest, but instead it is employed when “policies, institutions, and procedures between states and groups at the local, national, or regional levels that could handle disagreements and maintain a process of orderly resolution either do not exist, are breaking down, or fail to regulate political disputes and conflicts of interests,” which creates a significant risk that an eruption of widespread violence or other forms of coercion will materialize between the conflicting parties.
2.7 Exploring Lund’s Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox
The previous section explored Lund’s preventive diplomacy theoretical framework. It described his diagram of the stages of peace and conflict and differentiated preventive diplomacy with the practices of peacetime and crisis diplomacy, both of which are frequently confused with preventive diplomacy. Missing in this discussion are the practical examples of the types of actions used in the preventive diplomacy approach.
To complement his conceptual framework, Lund (1996: 203-‐205) also provides analysts with his “Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox” in order to present the variety of types of instruments (or “tools”), and intervention implementers for preventing violent conflict.
Lund’s “Toolbox” is divided into three different approaches: military approaches, nonmilitary approaches, and development and governance approaches. According to
Lund (1996: 203), the military approach to preventive diplomacy can include restraints on the use of armed force or the threat or use of armed force. Techniques employed when restraining the use of armed force consist of arms control regimes (including their monitoring); confidence-‐building measures; nonaggression agreements; preemptive peacekeeping forces (for deterrence and containment); demilitarized zones, “safe havens,” or peace zones; arms embargoes or blockades; non-‐offensive defense force postures; an military-‐to-‐military programs. Methods used when applying the threat or the use of armed force includes deterrence policies; security guarantees; maintaining or restoring local or regional “balances of power”, and the use or threat of limited shows of
The second method to preventive diplomacy is a nonmilitary approach, which involves either coercive diplomatic measures (without the use of armed force) or non-‐coercive diplomatic measures (without armed force or coercion). Coercive diplomatic measures include diplomatic sanctions comprising of withholding of diplomatic relations,
recognition as state, or membership in multilateral organizations; economic sanctions; moral sanctions comprised of condemnations of violations of international law; and war crimes tribunals or trials. Tactics used when implementing non-‐coercive diplomatic measures can take a non-‐judicial approach and include international appeals (moral suasion to conflicting parties to urge accommodation); propaganda (directed at violators of international principles); fact-‐finding missions, observation teams, on-‐site monitoring of human rights abuses and instances of violence; bilateral negotiations between opposed parties; third-‐party informal diplomatic consultations by official entities; track-‐ two diplomacy by nonofficial, nongovernmental parties; conciliation; third-‐party mediation; commission of inquiry or other international inquiries; conciliatory gestures, concessions (unilateral or reciprocal); nonviolent strategies by oppressed groups; and economic assistance or political incentives to induce parties’ cooperation. Non-‐coercive diplomatic measures can also take the form of judicial or quasi-‐judicial methods such as mechanisms for peaceful settlement of disputes; arbitration (binding decision by a
permanent tribunal); and adjudication.
Finally, Lund’s Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox presents a development and governance approach, which is further divided into three strategies: policies to promote national economic and social development; promulgation and enforcement of human rights, democratic, and other standards; and national governing structures to promote peaceful conflict resolution. The first strategy of national economic and social development promotion policies include preventive economic development aid (in conflict-‐prone states or areas); preventive private investment (in conflict-‐prone states or areas); economic trade (with conflict-‐prone states or areas); economic integration to achieve interdependency; economic reforms and standards; bilateral cooperative programs (in social, cultural, educational, scientific, technological, or humanitarian affairs.) The second strategy is the promulgation and enforcement of human rights, democratic, and other standards and involves political conditionality attached to economic aid; international human rights standard setting; election monitoring; and
military-‐to-‐military consultations regarding military professionalism and role of military in society. Lund’s third development and governance approach is to promote peaceful conflict resolution through national governing structures. This approach is comprised of power sharing, federalism, federation, confederation, autonomy, partition, secession, and trusteeships or internationally sponsored protectorates. It is important to note that once a preventive diplomacy approach selects and succeeds in this method, the approach then switches from preventive diplomacy to conflict resolution. This will become evident in Chapter Five, however, as indicated by Lund’s third development and governance approach, the national government structures to promote peaceful conflict resolution, when SADC brokers a power sharing settlement, South Africa’s foreign policy
shifts from preventive diplomacy to conflict resolution.
Lund’s “toolbox” succeeds in presenting a wide variety of methods that can be engaged by a preventive diplomacy approach. It is not meant to suggest that one method is more important or more effective than the other. In fact, several different methods listed in the toolbox may be applied in an effort to prevent the escalation of one given conflict. It is critical to the preventive diplomacy approach to first comprehensively assess the conflict situation and determine the priorities and then carefully select the methods relevant to the conflict. Whether a military and coercive, nonmilitary, or developmental and governance approach is taken, it is important that the strategy is undertaken in a deliberate and consistent manner in order for preventive diplomacy to be most effective. Now that the various approaches and techniques have been outlined, the next section will examine the key elements of successfully implementing preventive diplomacy.
2.8 Implementing Preventive Diplomacy
Policymakers cannot always rely on theoretical frameworks and hypothetical concepts that have not been tried and tested. Instead policymakers require specific policy
guidelines that derive from a systematic assessment of the processes that have helped to prevent conflicts in the past and of those approaches that have failed (Lund 1996:
51). After evaluating several post-‐Cold War successful and failed preventive diplomacy attempts in eastern Europe, sub-‐Saharan Africa, and Latin America, Lund is able to deconstruct preventive diplomacy as a concept, offer opinions on what defines success or failure in the realm of preventive diplomacy, recommend a five-‐step system policymakers can consider when applying the preventive diplomacy approach, and finally, offering explicit guidelines that fill the gap in preventive diplomacy literature.
When deconstructing the concept of preventive diplomacy, Lund (1996: 78) outlines the preventive agents, instruments and motivations that help to explain the type of actors that tend to be most involved in preventive diplomacy, the policy instruments that actors engage, and the reasons why actors prefer a preventive diplomacy approach in the first place. Lund concludes that preventive diplomacy is a multilateral approach that is not limited or claimed by one country, international organization, NGO or individual alone. Derived from his case studies, Lund summarizes that actors have included major world powers, such as the United States, middle-‐power countries, such as Canada, neighbouring states, regional organizations, NGOs, eminent individuals, and in some cases, efforts were initiated by the disputants themselves or local third parties. In nearly every conflict situation, one actor takes the stage more prominently than others, but is important to note that there are numerous other actors working behind the scenes providing a wide variety of assistance and support such as fact-‐finding or monitoring, diplomatic leverage, and preventive peacekeeping deployments, to name only a few.
Some actors, such as NGOs, prefer to operate discreetly in order to protect the preventive diplomacy process and therefore there is not always a great deal of information on their involvement. Because of this inclusive framework, Lund’s concept has been selected to showcase the efforts made to prevent the Zimbabwe crisis from escalating. It is not only South Africa’s involvement (through Thabo Mbeki’s leadership) that illustrates the larger picture of the situation. As Lund’s framework suggests, many
other actors participated in the preventive diplomacy approach in the Zimbabwe case, such as SADC, the AU, bodies of the UN, Britain, the United States and the EU, the
Commonwealth, local Zimbabwean NGOs, South African-‐based civil society and NGOs, to name but a few.
Much like the involvement of actors, no sole intervention “tool” dominates in the preventive diplomacy approach, but rather a wide variety of preventive instruments are used and consist of rewards, penalties, and assistance (Lund 1996: 79). One can refer to the carrot and stick analogy when describing preventive instruments. The “carrots” used include economic assistance, diplomatic recognition of newly formed states, and offers of membership in regional economic organizations and trade agreements. The “sticks” are more hardline methods and include the threat or use of economic sanctions, withdrawal of development aid, moral condemnations of human rights violations, warnings of military actions, and deterrence through preventive peacekeeping. In addition to “carrot and stick” mechanisms, another form of preventive diplomacy instrument is to provide the opportunity to facilitate mediation and negotiations between the disputants, such as bilateral negotiations, fact-‐finding or monitoring missions, peace conferences, track-‐two or multi-‐track informal dialogues, and binding arbitration. The Zimbabwean case study demonstrates Lund’s amalgamation of tools, as the multitude of actors involved engaged both “carrots” and “sticks,” and a combination thereof throughout their preventive action.
The intervention of a third party actor to deter a conflict situation is not simply an ad hoc reaction to the threat of violence or because leaders of third parties have received pressure by their domestic constituents or the media. Furthermore, not every threat of conflict escalation receives an automatic third party response. Third party actors get involved in preventive diplomacy when national or international leaders determine that the dispute in question holds a wider regional significance and has a damaging geopolitical or symbolic impact. A triggering event, such as riots or a declaration of
independence, may have been required for a third party to act, however, the event is comparatively insignificant because it did not directly effect the third party. Third parties choose to intervene because of the potential local and regional or secondary effects of conflict intensification. For the purpose of this study, Thabo Mbeki and the
South African government will serve to illustrate the primary third party role in the
Policymakers are concerned with effectiveness of their actions. The outcome of a conflict situation can depend on factors subject to human manipulation such as the aims, attitudes, and behavior of the leaders of the disputants; the type of settlement; the weapons and resources available at their disposal; the channels available for resolving the dispute; and the skill and experience of mediators (Lund 1996: 83).
Reflecting on his cases studies, Lund (1996: 83) determines that there are five factors that are most often present in conflict situations in which emerging political disputes were handled through peaceful means and were absent in those disputes that resulted in the use of armed force. The five factors that can determine a successful and peaceful preventive diplomacy approach are: the timing of third-‐party intervention; a multifaceted approach, where third parties act in coordination with other relevant actors and make use of several varied instruments in their efforts; the support of the preventive process from major players, such as international and regional powers and neighbouring states; the level of moderation shown by the disputing leadership in their views, actions, and policies; and finally, the level of state autonomy among the disputants that can make use of procedures and institutions through which disputes can be negotiated and agreements enforced (Lund 1996: 85-‐86). For example, the military and security forces of an autonomous state or group are bound by the constitution and act independently of the partisan aims of political parties. The success of a preventive diplomacy effort is largely determined by these five factors, without which cause the process to struggle and may lead to violent and military action. Another factor that can
be considered as contributing to a preventive diplomacy success story is a strong civil society, which can exert pressure to prevent a political dispute from becoming violent.
In order for preventive diplomacy to reach its full potential certain intertwining issues must be considered. Lund shares his ideas of policymaking and implementation in an organized and deliberate five-‐step system. Once again he presents five key issues: a) early warning – or identifying where and when tensions and disputes are likely to escalate into violent conflicts; b) deciding priorities – or determining which of these potential conflicts warrant responses; c) devising effective interventions – or deciding what preventive responses are the most timely and cost-‐effective for the given conflict situation; d) mobilizing will and resources – or determining how political, bureaucratic, and material support can be obtained; and e) linking international actors in a coherent system – or concluding what is needed to organize an ongoing, coordinated system for preventive diplomacy (Lund 1996: 108).
As mentioned previously, early detection and early warning of a possible conflict does not always lead to action by a third party. It is the responsibility of policymakers to decide whether or not to respond. Therefore it is important that official mechanisms designed to consistently gather and interpret information be developed and accessible to policymakers. With regards to early warning, Lund (1996: 118-‐121) offers several guidelines. First, he suggests the creation of comprehensive, post-‐Cold War relevant, and user-‐friendly early warning system that makes analytical links between problem indicators and the range of options available to particular policymakers and preventive diplomacy implementers at specific levels. Special focus should address vulnerable developing nations, however each region should be analyzed in terms of the problems likely to be encountered over the long term and medium term, such as economic, political, cultural, and technological forces and their impacts on the strength of states and their relations with other countries in the international community. Regularized early warning procedures need to be further institutionalized by the United Nations,
major world powers, and regional organizations and the various processes from all of these bodies should be more closely coordinated. More interactive procedures are needed that link the aggregated early warning information with decision-‐making and the implementation of preventive responses. Official early warning systems must also incorporate the expertise and resources of NGOs and the academic community. Finally,
Lund suggests that policymakers, diplomats and staffs of multilateral organizations should be encouraged to pursue further training and participate in simulation exercises in the analysis of complex conflicts.
Policymakers must prioritize which potential conflict zones identified by early warning systems warrant a response. According to the guidelines proposed by Lund, when deciding on priorities policymakers must answer the following questions: a) What are the most important goals and interests that the would-‐be preventer wishes to preserve, defend, or expand? b) What trends and forces in the regions of the world are most likely to threaten the attainment of those goals in the near future? c) Which of these risks and threats is most important regarding the specified goals? d) Are the short-‐term costs of trying to prevent a conflict’s escalation worth more than the long-‐term costs of ignoring it, and therefore, must this threat be addressed? Lund (1996: 127) admits that this process of deciding priorities is not fixed and can be modified, however, such a deliberative process is absolutely necessary to protect preventive diplomacy decision-‐ making from the more short-‐term aims and pressures presented by the media and public opinion. Clearly the Zimbabwe situation warranted a response from the South
African government and the SADC region given the extensive involvement of South
Africa between 2000 and 2009.
Once policymakers are made aware of the potential eruption of conflicts through an early warning system, national and regional interests have been articulated, and a preventive response to a particular dispute has been prioritized and warranted, they must then decide on the most effective mode of intervention. To assist policymakers in
this difficult decision, Lund suggests that whatever the circumstances, successful preventive diplomacy depends on making strategic decisions on timing, tasks and methods, sequencing interventions, and plans for disengagement. With regards to timing, early action is preferable and preventive diplomacy is most effective when action is taken when there already exists an interest and willingness of the disputants to find a peaceful resolution. With regards to determining the tasks and methods of intervention and sequencing interventions most effectively, Lund advises policymakers conduct a needs assessment of the pre-‐conflict situation to see what is required to keep violence at bay as well as a review of the full range of policy tools available to intervene.
In order to ascertain an appropriate disengagement strategy, Lund (1996: 162) reminds policymakers that preventive diplomacy does not aim to achieve good societies but to prevent various destructive forms of violent resolution to political disputes. Therefore, because the preventer must exit the situation, priority must be to strengthen traditional mechanisms for dispute resolution that draw on local history and customs, rather than
replacing these with new, externally imposed mechanisms.
Engendering the necessary national and international political will to act decisively and engage in preventive efforts can be very difficult. There is often a concentration on domestic issues before looking to get involved internationally due to budget restraints and a lack of national interest. To counter this apathy, citizens can be informed of the predicted gains and risks in both instances of preventive action and inaction. Aiming these education campaigns at political elites may cause them to reallocate some budget resources toward preventive action. Finally, a lack of support for preventive action can
derive from poor knowledge of the exorbitant costs of recent UN peacekeeping missions. It must be explained that preventive action can be cheaper, less risky and require less resources if the burdens of interventions are shared with other governments and multilateral organizations.
In an ideal world where conflicts are more often prevented and quelled than erupting and leading to violence Lund envisions an eventual linking of international actors in a coherent, ongoing, coordinated system for preventive diplomacy. This system could take several forms: a UN-‐centered system, regional organizations to be used as hubs, an
NGO-‐led preventive network, and the leadership of individual states. After considering various case studies it is made clear that each of these proposed systems on their own has its advantages and disadvantages, its strengths and its weaknesses. However, what
Lund advocates for is a multilateral approach to preventive diplomacy where the
principal players work together in a deliberate and coordinated manner to prevent conflict across the world. This is a rather vague proposal, however, its purpose is to stimulate debate in the hopes that a more effective system of preventive diplomacy is eventually established.
2.9 Critiquing Lund’s Preventive Diplomacy Framework through a Multi-‐Track
There are few theoretical frameworks in the existing literature that can compare to the comprehensive exploration of the policy of preventive diplomacy as exemplified by
Lund’s Preventing Violent Conflicts: A Strategy for Preventive Diplomacy (1996). Lund succeeds in presenting a practical and logical definition of the term that analysts have been debating since its arrival on the conflict studies scene in 1960. His framework includes a structured analysis of the conflict life cycle, its various stages of peace and conflict, and prevention methods that can be applied at each stage of the cycle. Modern day case studies are evaluated and Lund determines in which incidents a preventive diplomacy approach succeeded and where in others it failed. The timing of intervention by involved parties becomes the most critical factor for Lund that results in a successful application of the framework in real conflict situations. However, Lund expands his
theory to include other central factors that make or break a preventive intervention.
Concerned that the current literature on preventive diplomacy leaves policymakers wanting for practical, implementable and verified policy guidelines, Lund devotes a significant portion of his work to outlining the five pertinent issues that must be considered in a preventive diplomacy approach, and offers explicit guidelines for further action. Policymakers can now refer to Lund’s conceptual framework as their own personal handbook when engaging in preventive diplomacy.
While Lund’s framework may be the most complete example of how to practically apply and evaluate the preventive diplomacy theory, another conceptual aspect should also be considered for the purpose of this study. Although Lund notes on several occasions the significance of a strong civil society and the involvement of nongovernmental actors in the practice and success of preventive diplomacy, his focus remains largely on Track
One diplomacy and does not delve into the growing debate around the value of multi-‐ track diplomacy. Practical examples of multi-‐track diplomacy responses to the case study will be examined in Chapter Six of this dissertation, however the next section will briefly introduce the concept of multi-‐track diplomacy in order to broaden the scope of
Lund’s framework for the purpose of this study.
One theoretical way of examining the process of achieving international peace is through multi-‐track diplomacy. The term multi-‐track diplomacy was popularized by
Rupesinghe (1997) and refers to the contributions of a variety of actors at different levels of a conflict that work together effectively to attain peace. Rupesinghe’s concept is based on the appreciation that diverse efforts in peacemaking can complement each other and form part of a larger framework of initiatives. He links his concept with preventive diplomacy as he explains that multi-‐track diplomacy is “the application of peacemaking from different vantage points within a multi-‐centred network. At the heart of this preventive action plan is the concept of ‘positive peace’, which was explored previously in the discussion of Lund’s conflict lifecycle. The multi-‐track approach tries to highlight the combination of elements that can work together successfully to bring
together a conjuncture of forces, thereby creating the ingredients for a successful process (Rupesinghe 1997: 1).” The concept extends from the Track One, Track Two model, which speculates that government-‐to-‐government actions between official state representatives is not the only process that can prevent conflicts from escalating, secure international cooperation, and resolve disputes in the international arena; and it is often not the most effective method.
The expression “Track Two” was devised in the early 1980s by Joseph Montville of the
Foreign Service Institute to describe methods of diplomacy that were outside the realm of the formal nation state structure (Diamond & McDonald 1996: 1). The informal and unofficial actions initiated by non-‐state actors (private citizens or groups) form the basis of Track Two diplomacy. According to Diamond and McDonald (1996: 2), Track Two diplomacy action has three broad objectives: a) To reduce or resolve conflict between groups or countries by improving communication, understanding, and relationships; b)
To decrease tension, anger, fear, or misunderstanding by humanizing the “face of the enemy” and give disputants direct personal contact with one another; and c) To affect the thinking and action of Track One by addressing the root causes, feelings, and needs and by exploring diplomatic options without prejudice, thereby laying the groundwork for more formal negotiations or for reframing policies. In comparison with Lund’s interpretation of preventive diplomacy, the Track Two diplomacy model adds a significant human element to the process and considers communication, understanding, and the emotions of actors over tactical diplomatic activity. It also recognizes the value of non-‐state actors’ involvement in conflict prevention and resolution; that individuals and groups outside the jurisdiction of government offer expertise and certain skills that can benefit the conflict prevention process.
Rupesinghe (1997) asserts the need for multi-‐track diplomacy in modern day conflict prevention and argues that that there is no viable system currently in place that is capable of tackling internal conflicts. He contends that “the prevention, management
and resolution of internal conflicts (intrastate conflicts) require a fundamentally different approach to that of interstate conflicts…The objective should be to harness capabilities of inter-‐governmental organizations, state and non-‐state systems in a coordinated and complementary manner. Within this framework, citizen-‐based diplomacy and non-‐governmental organizations have an important role to play
(Rupesinghe 1997: 2-‐3).” In his assessment of the need for multi-‐track approach
Rupesinghe highlights several challenges to resolving internal conflicts: the principle of state sovereignty; access to the conflict and its actors; asymmetry, or the imbalance of power relations between the disputants; a lack of political will; the power of the media and the lack of in-‐depth coverage; and the difficult transformation of a culture of
violence (Rupesinghe 1997: 5-‐11).
Rupesinghe (1997) identifies six different diplomacy tracks that participate in the conflict prevention process, which include: governmental diplomacy (led by national government representatives); inter-‐governmental diplomacy (led by organizations such as the UN or the EU); second track diplomacy (also known as unofficial or semi-‐official diplomacy and involves individuals or small interested groups as mediators); ecumenical diplomacy (led by religious organizations); citizen diplomacy (or the involvement of local people from different sectors of society); and economic diplomacy (involving the World
Bank or the International Monetary Fund at the global level or international corporations and large multi-‐national companies at a regional or local level). Together these six tracks make use of multiple tools, similar to those mentioned in Lund’s
“toolbox”, in order to make multi-‐track diplomacy effective. Rupesinghe’s (1997: 21-‐25) multi-‐track tools include: peace missions and monitors, special envoys, training workshops, capacity-‐building, learning from comparative experiences, economic assistance or political packages, human rights standard-‐setting, conflict resolution institution-‐building, police and military training, computer networking for early warning
systems, and mobilizing the media for conflict resolution.
Diamond and McDonald (1996: 3) discuss the reasons why the interest and practice of multi-‐track diplomacy has grown in recent years. Modern media is adept at spreading awareness among populations that the world is an interdependent global village through the images of human suffering, natural disasters, and war that can be witnessed through television broadcasts. As a result, there is a growing understanding that one person’s or groups’ actions can have an impact that flows across the confines of national borders. Secondly, a growing impression among people has emerged that the world is not able to manage and resolve large-‐scale international conflicts. Too many conflicts that exist in the world today have lasted for generations, such as the
Israeli-‐Palestine conflict, and, as Rupesinghe suggests, Diamond and McDonald also believe that there are not the mechanisms in place to successfully solve these conflicts.
There is an increasing loss of confidence in the capability of the United Nations, which is the body that is supposed to be leading the world in conflict resolution processes.
Diamond and McDonald (1996: 3) expose the two most serious constraints of the UN’s effectiveness: the Security Council is a political body with a veto option that allows the
United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, or China to deflect debates or action on any situation; and the UN Charter prohibits the UN from intervening in any situation considered to be in the realm of domestic affairs. Finally, as advanced weaponry becomes more and more accessible to impulsive groups around the world the inevitability of conflict is rife. If the Cuban missile crisis taught us anything, it is the clear apprehension that in one quick moment the world we live in can be completely destroyed. Therefore, the interest in conflict prevention and peace has become a top priority for most.
Like Rupesinghe, Diamond and McDonald conclude that the Track Two phrase fell short of reflecting the diversity and scope of citizen involvement. The concept of multi-‐track diplomacy was developed to define and describe a more accurate representation that incorporates the efforts of all actors that can contribute to conflict prevention and peacemaking. Expanding on Rupesinghe’s model, according to Diamond and McDonald’s
(1996: 4) model, multi-‐track diplomacy is comprised of nine different tracks that play a role in the complicated system of peacemaking. The nine tracks include: government, or peacemaking through diplomacy; nongovernment/professional, or peacemaking through conflict resolution; business, or peacemaking through commerce; private citizen, or peacemaking through personal involvement; research, training, and education; or peacemaking through learning; activism, or peacemaking through advocacy; religion, or peacemaking through faith in action; funding, or peacemaking through providing resources; and communications and the media; or peacemaking
Individually, each of the nine tracks possesses their own philosophy, motivation, attitudes, diversity, and culture, among other divisive factors. However, none of the tracks can exist without the others and often multi-‐track diplomacy encompasses the collaborative and coinciding activities of various tracks. Therefore, central to the study of multi-‐track diplomacy is the consideration of the interdependency between all tracks, rather than the examination of each of the nine (or six) tracks independently. This concept presented by Rupesinghe and Diamond and McDonald expands on and complements Lund’s theory of preventive diplomacy; and for the purpose of this study, which will address Track One and multi-‐track diplomacy efforts to prevent an escalation
of the Zimbabwe conflict, Lund’s theoretical framework will be placed within a context of multi-‐track diplomacy.
This chapter encompasses a wide range of theoretical concepts in order to prepare for the selected case study. It begins by defining the complex and dynamic process of conflict. We discover that there are as many types of conflict as there are the numbers of analysts that study the concept. Different typologies are explained and include
symmetric versus asymmetric; intrastate versus interstate; and the distinctions between latent, perceived, affective, and manifest forms of conflict.
The conflict life cycle is introduced along with its five levels or stages. The chapter continues to link the concept of conflict prevention with early warning systems and discusses the current debate around this controversial association. This leads to the exploration of preventive diplomacy as both a theory and practice, which began as the idea that initially informed UN action specifically and has spread to form the basis of foreign policy and action practiced by national governments and non-‐state actors across the world.
Chapter Two introduces and examines Lund’s preventive diplomacy conceptual framework, the use for his preventive diplomacy “toolbox,” and his guidelines for the successful application of the theory to real conflict situations. As practical as Lund’s framework is to describe South Africa’s attempts to prevent a further escalation of the
Zimbabwe conflict, in order to conduct an accurate and more complete analysis, Lund’s theory was placed within the context of Rupesinghe’s multi-‐track diplomacy, which expands on Lund’s concept to include a variety of unique actors and actions located outside the formal government-‐to-‐government system that provide unique expertise and background thus benefiting the process of conflict prevention. This more inclusive theoretical framework, considering the combining of Lund’s application with the concept of multi-‐track diplomacy, will be used as the basis for analysis in Chapters Four,
Five, and Six. However, before we can begin to examine the role preventive diplomacy plays in South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe between the years of 2000 and
2009, we must first assess the various factors leading to the crisis in Zimbabwe and explain the long-‐standing and complicated relationship between South Africa and
Zimbabwe that directly impacts and influences the decisions taken by South African and regional policymakers in their attempts to quell the intrastate conflict. While Chapter
Two provided the study with a theoretical base, Chapter Three provides the necessary
historical background to set the scene for the larger discussion around the function of preventive diplomacy in the current Zimbabwe context.
An Historical Overview the Zimbabwe Conflict
The previous chapter introduced the theoretical framework that will function as the base of this dissertation, supporting the case study throughout. In order to determine the role of preventive diplomacy in South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2009, this dissertation will rely on Lund’s concept of preventive diplomacy complemented by Rupesinghe’s model of multi-‐track diplomacy as the main theoretical structure. Just as important as establishing the theoretical base of the dissertation is to analyze the historical background that explains first, how the conflict in
Zimbabwe emerged over time, and second, the historical context of South Africa-‐
Zimbabwe relations. The South African-‐Zimbabwe relationship will be streamlined through the historical development of this third chapter. Similarly, the theory of the lifecycle of conflict and its various stages that was developed in Chapter Two will be
linked throughout this chapter.
What makes the story of Zimbabwe so captivating is that as the southern African country endured a difficult war of liberation and survived the trying, early post-‐colonial years (early 1980s) it showed such great potential to be a beacon in the region, capable of inspiring neighbouring nations to overcome the challenges left by colonialism and to become strong, independent states. Alas, the story of Zimbabwe is a tragic one that is comprised of power struggles, greed and paranoia, bloodshed, and a steady record of detrimental missteps leading to its great decline. This chapter will sketch the details of
Zimbabwe’s recent turbulent history and its downfall through the examination of
Zimbabwe’s emergence as an independent state, the years of prosperity, the build up to
crisis, and the decade of decline, which followed. As previously mentioned, this chapter will also explore the relationship between Zimbabwe and South Africa during the years of Zimbabwe’s internal conflict; particularly noting the shift in South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe from preventive diplomacy to conflict management and
3.2 Emergence of an independent Zimbabwe
This story will begin in the mid-‐1960s in the heat of the Cold War and a time when decolonization was rapidly spreading across the African continent. In addition to the white population who emigrated from the UK after the Second World War and those liberal whites that immigrated to Rhodesia from South Africa after 1948, another movement of whites who feared an uncertain future of African majority rule flowed south into Rhodesia. A white stronghold was therefore maintained in the midst of the
African independence era of the 1950s and ‘60s. Rhodesia’s white population, however, was unable to attain Rhodesian independence, which forced Prime Minister Winston
Fields to resign and hand the reigns over to the first Rhodesian-‐born Prime Minister, Ian
Douglas Smith. Smith also struggled to negotiate with Britain, whose government would only grant independence on its own terms: ‘no independence before majority rule’; and so on 11 November 1965 Smith chose the path of a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI). This pronouncement brought the Zimbabwe conflict to a level of
unstable peace, where violence is either absent or irregular.
Congruently, another struggle transpired within the country. A split in the African nationalist movement led to the establishment of two major factions comprised of the banned political parties of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and the
Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). There are several proposed causes for the split that include a frustration felt by some African nationalists over ZAPU leader Joshua
Nkomo’s acceptance of the 1961 Constitution, some believed the decision signified a
“selling-‐out” of the nationalist movement’s values; a clash in personalities between
Nkomo and ZANU leader Ndabaningi Sithole; and the dispute over the prioritization of a government in exile (Nkomo’s vision) versus the conviction that the leadership must strengthen the party from within Zimbabwe for greater effect (Mlambo 2009: 111-‐112).
To further fuel the tension, diverging Cold War external forces influenced the two factions. ZAPU was aligned to Moscow, whereas the Chinese supported ZANU. Finally, although not exclusively, there is an ethnic base to consider, as ZAPU’s stronghold was positioned in the Matabeleland provinces, traditionally the home of the Ndebele tribe, and ZANU drew its support from the country’s majority ethnic group, the Shonas.
Despite the division in the movement and despite the prevailing tensions along lines of race and ethnicity, African nationalism was on the rise and consequently sparked a protracted, complex, and later violent power struggle to transform the political, social and economic situation of the former British colony.
Britain promptly cut all diplomatic ties with Salisbury in response to the UDI and introduced economic sanctions, which terminated trade between the two countries and encouraged the international community to follow suit. By 1968, aware that the landlocked country’s economy was highly dependent on external economic relations, the UN imposed comprehensive sanctions on the southern African country with the hopes that the pressure would force Smith to reverse the UDI (Mtisi 2009: 127). The UDI government survived this period by strictly centralizing the Rhodesian economy, investing in the local manufacturing industry, and evading sanctions by establishing pseudo-‐state bodies that oversaw the trade of certain commodities (Mtisi 2009: 133).
However, the principal contributor to the survival of the Rhodesian Front’s (RF) leadership under Smith was the inability of the international community to successfully implement the sanctions. Some countries simply continued trading with Rhodesia, others never ratified the sanctions agreement, and further still, motivated by a climate of political rivalry in Europe, other countries such as France and Spain refused to assist
Britain as a matter of principle (Mtisi 2009: 133). Among the most significant of these countries keeping the Rhodesian economy afloat was South Africa, which could be
considered at the time a “lifeline for the beleaguered Rhodesian economy, becoming the main source of investment finance, the main market both primary and secondary exports and the transit route for much of the trade traffic of Rhodesia (Pangeti, as quoted by Mtisi 2009: 134).” Indeed, South Africa, Rhodesia’s closest ally, was not involved solely for UDI solidarity, but was instead acting in its own interests in containing communism. It was at this time that the South African apartheid government was under increasing economic and international political pressure for its racist order and therefore Vorster responded through a policy of rapprochement with other African states. Entering into amicable relationships with majority-‐ruled governments, he believed, would provide him the opportunity to convince others of the logic behind
South Africa’s separate development policy and, therefore, stop the perceived communist threat against his country (Landsberg 2010: 36). It must also be noted that this survival of the RF government and its economy was not advancing the aims of
African nationalism, but instead was driven firstly by the preservation of white security and control, and secondly, by the fear, like South Africa, that African nationalism was the Trojan horse for communism in the region given the liberation factions’ ties with
Moscow and Beijing.
The UDI pronouncement marked a turning point in Zimbabwe’s turbulent history.
However, it was the constitution of 1969 that instigated the initial strides towards majority rule. The constitution made some concessions such as including minority groups (Asians and Coloureds) on the ‘A’ voters’ roll. It can be argued, however, that this was merely an RF political ploy, as Asians and Coloureds were excluded from the access to European land according to the Land Tenure Act of the same year (Mtisi 2009: 123).
The RF used a strategy of ‘inclusive exclusion’ that incorporated other racial groups
(Africans, Asians, and Coloureds) within government structures but which prevented them from shaping policy (Mtisi 2009: 123). Therefore, the ruling RF party trusted that if
Africans were tangibly involved in the processes of state administration it would defer the more aggressive African nationalist resistance. However, over the course of the UDI
period the RF was forced to frequently reposition its stance until the party’s initial outright rejection of majority rule fell away to instead acknowledge the possibility of a change in favour of the nationalists. Although the conflict remained in a stage of unstable peace both between the RF government and the British and between the
African nationalist movement and the RF movement, attitudes were beginning to shift ever so slightly.
As the white RF party continued negotiating their authority, the African nationalist movement turned to violence for their cause of liberation and received supplementary military backing from Tanzania and Zambia. The nationalists were additionally involved in training for armed struggle in both Ghana and Algeria. The once latent conflict became manifest as it quickly shifted through the phases of unstable peace to crisis and then to war. As the stakes of the liberation struggle were raised with the violent means, so too did the frictions between the factions of the African nationalist movement. ZANU emerged as a viable contender. The party evolved toward the idea of a strong centralized rule, as they believed that they were the only party representing the interests of the majority, but ingeniously at the same time maintained strong connections with the country’s rural base. A substantial push surfaced for incarcerated
Robert Mugabe to replace Sithole as the ZANU party leader, which Mozambique’s
Samora Machel called a “coup in prison”.
The year 1975 brought independence to both Angola and Mozambique, which made a significant impact on the situation in Rhodesia mainly because Smith had lost vital and strategically located allies to the African nationalist movement. The political and economic ties between the RF and South African governments therefore increased considerably. A quick resolution to the Rhodesian conflict was of great interest to South
African Prime Minister John Vorster for the preservation of apartheid. At this point, however, South Africa’s efforts had failed to attain international support and convince the West that it was an anti-‐communist agent (Landsberg 2010: 44). Therefore, as
mentioned above, Vorster changed tactics to then establishing better relations with southern African states ruled by their majorities, such as Zambia. Vorster and Zambian
President Kenneth Kaunda together attempted to negotiate an entente between Smith and the African nationalists in Rhodesia. US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger also became involved and the combined pressure resulted in Smith shifting policy and releasing African nationalist political prisoners (Landsberg 2010: 44). However, despite the negotiations between Smith and selected leaders of the African nationalist movement, the conflict did not shift away from the stage of war. The violent struggle persisted during this time, primarily because important factions of the African nationalist movement were excluded from negotiations.
In 1978, as if selecting methods straight from Lund’s Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox, the combination of a peak in international political and economic pressure and the Patriotic
Front, a joint military front between ZANU and ZAPU forces, showing genuine signs of winning the war concluded with an Internal Settlement – the formation of a coalition government between Smith (RF), Muzorewa (African National Council), Sithole (ZANU), and Chief Chirau (traditional leader) – and a new state named Zimbabwe-‐Rhodesia
(Mtisi 2009: 164). The Internal Settlement may have appeared to establish majority rule but it failed to bring about peace as the signatories left out a key constituency in the
Patriotic Front. The liberation war then reached its most destructive height, which, in a period of roughly one year, saw the vicious clash between Muzorewa’s and Sithole’s guerrilla fighters, the use of increasingly sophisticated weaponry, and the fatal shooting down of two airplanes (Mtisi 2009: 164). At the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting (CHOGM) in Zambia in August 1979, African states, led by Nigeria (Britain’s biggest African trading partner), insisted that it was Britain’s obligation to resolve the conflict in Zimbabwe-‐Rhodesia (Mtisi 2009: 165). It was clear that the international community, those in the region, and the warring factions themselves were exhausted by the struggle. The RF government had ultimately lost its asymmetric conflict and it was time for a genuine transfer of power and a return to peace.
The Lancaster House Conference of 1979 irreversibly put an end to the war and the conflict returned to a stage of unstable peace. The settlement stipulated that the minority white population would retain 20 of the 100 seats in Parliament for the next seven years; a debt of $200 million would be passed down to the new state of
Zimbabwe; the liberation forces would be integrated into the state army; and elections had to be held within three months of the conference to nominate a new leader (Mtisi
2009: 165). The Lancaster House Constitution was also introduced at this time and it was not without its flaws. The most contentious issue was the question over land. It constituted that land had to be bought on the condition of willing-‐seller-‐willing-‐buyer, however, having recently inherited a $200 million debt, this was out of reach for the young country (Nkomo as quoted by Sachikonye 2004: 6). In order to move the process along, Britain and America promised, without providing great detail, to purchase the white-‐owned lands for African tillers. Although the new Constitution was signed and a ceasefire was instated, this unsettled issue of land would come back to haunt the western nations in the decades to follow.
In the three months leading up to Zimbabwe’s first majority rule elections the once conveniently joined partnership of the ZANU and ZAPU parties crumbled and the two parties became ZANU-‐PF and PF-‐ZAPU. The elections saw the Mugabe-‐led ZANU-‐PF party attain 57 seats and winning a significant majority. Nkomo’s PF-‐ZAPU followed and secured 20 seats. Finally the Muzorewa-‐led United African National Council won a mere
3 seats (Mtisi 2009: 166). On 18 April 1980 Zimbabwe celebrated its Independence Day
and Robert Mugabe was inaugurated as the new country’s first Prime Minister.
3.3 Prosperity to Crisis
The fledgling state faced tremendous challenges in its infancy. According to Muzondidya
(2009: 167), the main challenges included post-‐war reconstruction; reforming the inherited colonial political economy; the democratization of the inherited authoritarian
colonial state and its institutions; and nation building in a society deeply divided along race, class, ethnicity, gender and geographical lines. The ZANU government was virtually building a state from scratch. To begin, confronting the onerous task of nation building necessitated an earnest attempt at reconciliation. Apropos, Mugabe gallantly declared
that he was ‘drawing a line through the past’ and in his inaugural speech to the nation he introduced his reconciliation policy:
Henceforth you and I must strive to adapt ourselves, intellectually and spiritually to the reality of our political change and relate to each other as brothers bound one to the other by a bond of comradeship. If yesterday I fought you as an enemy, today you have become a friend and ally with the same national interests, loyalty, rights and duties as myself. If yesterday you hated me, today you cannot avoid the love that binds you to me and me to you. Is it not folly, therefore, that in these circumstances anybody should seek to revive the wounds and grievances of the past? The wrongs of the past must now stand forgiven and forgotten. (Mugabe 1980 as quoted by
Raftopoulos 2004: x)
This uplifting but much calculated public assertion chartered the course for a decade of unification strategies led by a strong, centralized state and ZANU-‐PF at the helm. As for tackling other challenges, reversing the oppressive system of the past and delivering a prosperous, all-‐inclusive, non-‐racial, and cooperative society would prove most difficult
for the new Zimbabwe administration.
In the first decade of independence, the government of Zimbabwe made some progress in the social and economic spheres, which included improved access to health and education, development in infrastructure, and agricultural productivity. Perhaps the most notable and lasting achievement was the prioritization placed on transforming the education system throughout the country. The government, with the financial assistance of foreign donors, expanded educational facilities across both rural and urban areas, reaching locations once overlooked by the previous leadership. The number of education facilities nearly doubled, increasing 80 per cent between 1980 and 1990. The enrolment in primary schools rose remarkably from 82,000 in 1979 to 2,216,878 in
1985, and in secondary schools during the same period enrolment rose from 66,000 to
482,000 (Mlambo as quoted by Muzondidya 2009: 168). Not only did the facility and enrolment numbers rise exponentially, but also due to the passion shown by the new government in this particular sphere early on, the high quality of the transformed
Zimbabwean education system would be evident for generations to come. Similarly, the government placed priority on the expansion and improvement of health care for its citizens. For its achievements in the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation to rural households, Zimbabwe received honorable recognition by the World Health
Organization and UNICEF (Musemwa as quoted by Muzondidya 2009: 168). Through the rapid and durable improvements in the education and health care sectors alone, the
young Zimbabwe shone bright beside its southern African neighbours.
The government introduced a policy of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) in order to involve the population majority in the development of the economy. However, as good as this strategy looked on paper, in later years, the BEE policy was contaminated by corruption and patrimonial politics, resulting in privileges for family, friends and loyal supporters of the ruling party. In order to tackle racial inequality and rural poverty the government relied on its new land ownership policies and introduced (initially) a gradual land resettlement programme, positive pricing, and opened up access to credit and marketing services for farmers. In the first few years of independence, Zimbabwe’s rural agricultural production improved and communal farmers became the largest producers of maize and cotton (Muzondidya 2009: 168). Zimbabwe was on the brink of developing its eminent reputation as the breadbasket of the region. Advances in working conditions
and workers’ wages also emerged during this time. The improvements across the educational, health and economic spheres can be mainly attributed to strong political interest and the rapid (but fleeting) economic growth of the early years of independence.
At first glance during the first decade of Zimbabwean democracy it would appear that the new government had succeeded in resolving many of the tensions of the recent past and managed to shift its conflict to a stage of durable peace. It was also able to build a positive reputation outside its borders. During the first decade of independence,
Zimbabwe chaired the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which was the predecessor of the African Union, the Non-‐Aligned Movement (NAM), and the Frontline States. It was further chosen in 1982 to hold one of the non-‐permanent seats in the United
Nations Security Council for two years (Muzondidya 2009: 188) However, in reality, one had only to scratch the surface to find a well of brewing trouble. According to
Muzondidya (2009: 169), many of the gains made during this time were “limited, unsustainable and ephemerally welfarist in nature.” The country experienced droughts, high interest rates and oil prices, escalating pressure from the IMF and the World Bank to repay its large debts, a growth in unemployment, and an estimated 3 per cent of the population (mostly white farmers and a small black elite) sustained its ownership and control of the majority of the country’s resources and gross domestic income
(Muzondidya 2009: 169-‐170). As we will discover later in this section, part of the country was trapped in a stage of war for most of the 1980s. These problematic economic and social conditions combined with the absence of any successful reconciliation outcomes did not bode well for a peaceful and viable young democracy.
The two most discernible and enduring tribulations that plagued the new state during its first decades of independence were the ‘land question’ and political opposition disguised as ethnic divisions. Historically, land has long been a problematic issue in
Zimbabwe. According to Sachikonye (2004: 5), the expropriation of land was “a significant aspect of the process of colonial conquest and of modernization through large-‐scale commercial agriculture… It was a major social engineering programme undertaken by the colonial state. The consequences of that programme of modernization and social engineering would reverberate well beyond independence.”
As mentioned previously, the Lancaster House negotiations left the ‘land question’
unanswered. Deeply burdened by debt, the government was in no position to buy back land through the willing-‐seller-‐willing-‐buyer agreement for those who had been dispossessed in the past. Britain and the United States also fell through on their promises to purchase the land. Notwithstanding the challenges, the government went ahead with revealing its land reform programme, in which the resettlement of the poor and landless was of top priority. The goal of the programme was to resettle 162,000 households on 9 million hectares of land, which would have transferred 23 per cent of households from overcrowded communal lands to newly government purchased land
(Sachikonye 2004: 7). However, this objective was never met. By 1989, only approximately 48,000 households had been successfully resettled and even much fewer households received land during the 1990s due to a slow-‐down in the land reform process (Sachikonye 2004: 7-‐8). What was laudable about this dismal outcome of land reform during the 1980s and 1990s was that the process itself was relatively peaceful and orderly, keeping any conflict over land latent, which is in stark contrast to the rapid
and violent land occupations of the next decade.
As the Lancaster House Constitution left the land question hanging, it similarly hindered a peaceful transition period by delivering no resolution to the political tension and conflict among the once warring factions. Eppel (2004: 44) calls to mind that the liberation forces had been divided since 1963, at what time ZAPU split into two parties
ZAPU and ZANU, and each new party controlled their own guerilla armies: the
Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) and the Zimbabwe African National
Liberation Army (ZANLA) respectively. The tensions between the two militias escalated in the 1970s. The Lancaster Constitution stipulated an almost impossible task of integrating the armed forces, uniting ZIPRA, ZANLA, and the Rhodesian army into one national army and as could be predicted within the first year of independence, violent clashes broke out in Bulawayo between ZIPRA and ZANLA forces. Recalling the elections results of 1980, ZAPU was the only prominent opposition to the new ruling party and it was evident that the conflict was politically motivated. Between 1981 and 1982, the
conflict spread from Bulawayo although the scattered fighting remained primarily in the
Matabeleland provinces, in western Zimbabwe, known as both a stronghold for the
ZAPU party and the area most populated by the Ndebele tribe. The government was facing its first general elections in 1985 and before the country could reach the polls the
ZANU-‐PF party made sure to defeat the only potential opposition to their rule.
In the years between 1982 and 1987, the situation in Matabeleland deteriorated to a point of politically driven massacre and, considering the ethnic divide involved in the manifest conflict, genocide. It was known as ‘Gukurahundi’, which in the Shona language means, ‘the early rain that washes away the chaff’, or in other words, any person who dares to challenge Mugabe and the ZANU-‐PF leadership. In retrospect, the events of Gukurahundi call to mind the similarly motivated ZANU-‐PF urban-‐based onslaught in 2005, known as Operation Murambatsvina, or “Get rid of the filth”, which will be explored further in the next chapter. With the purpose of eliminating the political opposition that was widespread in the provinces of Matabeleland and part of the Midlands, the government of Zimbabwe assembled the ‘5 Brigade’, which was strategically made independent of the national army and was uniquely accountable only to Mugabe. The brigade, comprised primarily of Shona-‐speaking former ZANLA guerillas
(and later involved ZANU-‐PF Youth militias), and trained especially by the North
Koreans, massacred thousands of civilians and tortured further thousands within the first weeks of deployment (Eppel 2004: 44-‐45). Eppel (2004: 45) recounts that as the soldiers of the Fifth Brigade pillaged and slaughtered innocent citizens, victims were told
“they were being punished because they were Ndebele – that all Ndebeles supported
ZAPU, and all ZAPU supporters were dissidents”, which intertwined the political motivation behind the atrocities with ethnicity.
By 1987, an estimated number of 20,000 civilians had been killed by government forces in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces (Muzondidya 2009: 179), and tens of thousands more were abducted, tortured and mutilated, raped, detained in camps, and
had their homesteads and property burned to the ground. Worse still, through the use of strictly controlled state media, movement curfews and roadblocks, the rest of the country was not informed of the extent of the violence in the western provinces of their country. The international community, particularly the United Kingdom, was much more aware of the genocide taking place in Zimbabwe but was eager to appease the anti-‐
Soviet Mugabe, while keeping an eye on the purportedly Soviet-‐aligned ANC in South
Africa. An even bleaker and race-‐based theory surrounding the international community’s response to the ‘Gukurahundi’ massacre posits that because not many white farmers were affected by the violence and instead the violence was perpetrated by an African government against black African citizens, it did not invoke any significant
The ‘Gukurahundi’ massacre allowed the ruling party to eradicate its only opposition and indoctrinate citizens across the country to support ZANU-‐PF. The Unity Accord of
1987 may have brought an end to the atrocities, but it also served as the final stage in the elimination of ZAPU. ZANU-‐PF gave the opposition party a few seats in government, ceremoniously merged the two parties, and allowed a blanket amnesty for all perpetrators, which effectively led to the creation of a one-‐party state (Eppel 2004: 46).
Therefore, as the new state of Zimbabwe received international praise for its reconciliation efforts, its advances in health care and education, and while it sat on the
United Nations Security Council, the same government led a devastating campaign murdering over 20,000 of its own civilians all for the sake of one party maintaining political power.
The country moved further toward its great decline in the 1990s. During this decade,
Zimbabwe experienced a weakening economy, a series of droughts, and the implementation of the IMF/World Bank Economic Structural Adjustment Programme
(ESAP) in 1991. ESAP resulted in severe hardships for workers and the poor, reduced school enrolments, and health services had fallen by 30 per cent (Muzondidya 2009:
189). However, Davies suggests that the adoption of ESAP resulted in the creation of a different mode of securing wealth, and therefore a considerate number of people benefited from the policy (Davies 2004: 31). While the elite benefited by the new policy, the rest of the country plummeted in a downward economic spiral. According to
Gumede (2007: 218), Zimbabwe’s fiscus was being drained by a failing military intervention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which some estimate cost the country 1 million USD per day and resulted in 5.5 million people per day relying on international aid to survive by 2004.
Workers and the unemployed responded to the economic crisis with strike action that was initially easily suppressed by the police but by 1996 an eight-‐week public sector strike was recorded as the largest strike organized by civil servants in post-‐ independence Zimbabwe (Muzondidya 2009: 194). Several other strikes and food riots followed, including a General Strike in 1997, and demonstrated the widespread support of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the labour movement. Civil society groups, women’s groups, and churches, rallied together to publicly demonstrate against the government’s questionable policies and intent. The ruling party was under threat and the government responded by introducing repressive laws to control the population. During this decade, the government introduced laws such as the Labour
Relations Act, which restricted the workers’ right to strike; the Presidential Powers Act, used to suspend strike action by employing the brute force of the army and police; and other laws that strengthened its control over the media, the law, and the security forces
(Muzondidya 2009: 196-‐197). The country found itself once again in a stage of unstable
Despite the powerful clout of government authoritarianism, the labour movement gained momentum and the ZCTU preemptively expanded its political ideology to include constitutional reform. From this rising debate, the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) was established, officially strengthening labour within civil society as one highly
competitive force. At the same time, ZANU-‐PF was also struggling with internal pressures from its former freedom fighters. A radical wing of the war veterans, led by
Dr. Chenjerai ‘Hitler’ Hunzvi, was gaining recognition that demanded quicker land redistribution, including 20 per cent for themselves, and financial compensation for their contribution to the liberation war. According to Nyathi (2004: 71), Hunzvi organized the war veterans into an effective lobbying force and even used violence and the threat of violence against Mugabe and the ruling party. Buckling under the pressure,
Mugabe circumvented his Cabinet and succumbed to the high demands. In 1997, he awarded 50,000 war veterans with cash payouts, free education and healthcare for their families, and life-‐long pension payments, a decision that contributed to the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy but that secured the loyalty of the war veterans directly to
Mugabe (Nyathi 2004: 71).
Meanwhile the ZCTU and NCA worked diligently together for constitutional reform and the fruit of their labour gave way to the birth of a new political party in September 1999, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The MDC, led by its party president
Morgan Tsvangirai (former ZCTU leader), would quickly become the “most successful opposition party in post-‐colonial Zimbabwe (Raftopoulos 2009: 204)”. It is also important to note that organizations such as the ZCTU and the NCA received a significant amount of foreign funding during the late eighties and nineties. This contributed to the ruling party developing an opinion that all opposition activity was funded by the proverbial “west” and therefore any activists attached to the opposition movement were dubbed “puppets of imperialism”. To this day, the ZANU-‐PF party
continues to view opposition parties, unions and NGOs in this light.
3.4 The Decade of Decline
Over the course of 1999 the multi-‐track diplomacy joint pressure of the MDC, the NCA, and the trade unions calling for constitutional change amplified, compelling the government to call a national referendum to resolve the matter. ZANU-‐PF put forward
their draft of an amended constitution, but the new MDC party rallied the growing civil society members and campaigned for a “No” vote. The referendum was held in mid-‐
February 2000 and a clear 54 per cent of the 1.3 million citizens who cast their vote rejected the government’s draft constitution (Raftopoulos 2009: 210). As Raftopoulos illustrates, “As a multi-‐class, cross-‐racial alliance, the MDC and its allies confronted the state with a language of democratization, a discourse that resonated in large sections of the population and turned the constitutional referendum into a plebiscite on ZANU
(PF)’s rule since 1980 (Raftopoulos 2009: 211)”. The emergence of the popular MDC party and the groundbreaking results of the 2000 referendum demonstrated the first real opposition to Mugabe’s firm grip on power in twenty years. The government’s vicious retaliation that followed would mark the beginning of the country’s decade of decline, or what is more commonly branded as the ‘crisis in Zimbabwe’.
We recall the way in which ZANU responded to the political opposition of ZAPU in
Matabeleland during the mid-‐1980s. In 2000, once more, Mugabe’s authority was being threatened and he was not about to tolerate civil society, the trade unions and the increasingly popular new MDC party any further victories after the successful “NO” vote campaign. Only weeks after the referendum results were announced, the government launched a violent and fast-‐tracked programme of land occupations. Cunningly turning the land grievances of the war veterans to his advantage, Mugabe directed Hunzvi and the “so-‐called war vets, some no more than teenagers and thus patently not former freedom fighters at all, [to swarm] onto commercial farms to peg their claims. Mugabe and ZANU-‐PF openly supported the use of brute force to drive not only the white owners, but also hundreds of their loyal black workers, off the land (Gumede 2007: 219-‐
220)”. As an even further reward for their loyalty, Mugabe allocated massive tracts of
land to the war veterans (Nyathi 2004: 72).
A debate exists around the motivation for the post-‐2000 land occupations. Raftopoulos
(2009: 212) explains that some analysts believe the land grabs were meant to deal with
issues such as the struggles within areas of peasant farming or the effects of rural-‐urban migration, however, he continues, “The need to contain, coerce and demobilize the structures and support of the opposition played a central role in the politics of land after
2000, and a key characteristic of this process was the restructuring of the state itself.”
Consequently, the intrastate conflict shifted back to a stage of crisis, bordering on conditions of war. Even Mugabe referred to his party’s actions toward the land question and his fight against the “new imperialism” during this decade as the Third Chimurenga, or liberation war. The politics of ZANU-‐PF thereafter became increasingly autocratic, racially prejudiced and fixated on the great triumph the party had delivered to end the liberation struggle and free Zimbabwe from the evils of colonialism.
Over the next eight years, the ruling party tightened its grip on most facets of
Zimbabwean society. The ruling party commanded the land redistribution process and thus the agricultural sector; the national finances through the Reserve Bank; the judicial system through the office of the Attorney General; the security forces, whose elite members were awarded leadership in key state positions; the media, although excluding the American sponsored radio stations such as Studio 7, Voice of the People, and Radio
SW Africa; and most notoriously, the elections directorate. The history of elections in independent Zimbabwe has had an atrocious record. In 1985, the ZAPU party was eliminated through a systematic campaign of murder and torture. Throughout the 1990s any political opposition effort was proficiently crushed through the use of intimidation
By the year 2000, ZANU-‐PF had no change in sentiment when confronted by an opposition in the form of the MDC. The country’s economy was in serious decline as a result of disastrous economic decisions made by Mugabe, including in the disregard of property rights and the war veterans’ payoff. Additionally, the ruling party had now faced its first major defeat in the constitutional referendum. In the lead up to the 2000 general elections, once again Mugabe remunerated the War Veterans Association to
campaign for the ruling party and the Association used the funds to hire unemployed youth to assist the war vets in violently occupying farms owned by MDC supporters
(Laakso 2002: 448). A reign of terror began to characterize the ZANU-‐PF elections campaign, as its paid supporters “beat, raped, intimidated and killed alleged supporters of the MDC…7000 teachers fled their schools for the towns…About 10,000 peasants were displaced. The veterans’ groups…threatened to go back to war if ZANU-‐PF lost the elections (Laakso 2002: 449).” Despite the presence of foreign elections observers and journalists keeping close watch of the process, the ruling party succeeded in retaining its power. However, it was clear that ZANU-‐PF was losing popularity and there is much evidence to indicate that manufactured results assured a ZANU-‐PF win. The ruling party won, against a close competition, only 62 seats over the 57 seats secured by the MDC
(Laakso 2002: 455).
The conditions for opposition party members, its supporters, and their families only worsened in the elections of 2002, 2005, and 2008. Zimbabwe’s decade of decline is characterized by the ruling party’s increasing use of violence and intimidation to maintain power against a growing opposition; the introduction of the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) by government to tighten its control over the population; gross human rights violations perpetrated with impunity by ruling party supporters; great economic decline resulting in hyperinflation and the loss of the Zimbabwean currency; international sanctions against key ZANU-‐PF officials; the suspension and eventual exit of Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth; and SADC mediation efforts led by South Africa. These critical moments in Zimbabwe’s recent history in the context of South Africa’s foreign relations with the country will be covered in depth in Chapter 4 of this dissertation.
3.5 Shifting strategies in South Africa’s foreign relations with Zimbabwe: An historical context
This section will briefly examine the historical context of South Africa’s foreign relations with Zimbabwe, as South Africa’s role, using preventive diplomacy methods, in the attempt to avert a deepening crisis in Zimbabwe between the years 2000 and 2009 is the topic of discussion of the fourth chapter. However, South Africa’s foreign relations with Zimbabwe began long before 2000. As previously revealed, South Africa played a major role during the period of UDI in Zimbabwe. The South African government was the RF’s leading ally in the 1960s and 1970s and played a significant role in keeping their neighbour’s economy afloat. However, to be accurate, the distinction must be made between the role of the South African government at this time and that of the African
National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, because the ANC, on the contrary, was instrumental in assisting Zimbabwe’s African nationalist movement. As the ANC is the political party that has led South Africa from 1994 to the present day and its policies
being the main focus of this dissertation, it is imperative to examine the roles of both.
The apartheid government, under the leadership of Prime Minister John Vorster (1966-‐
78), had a keen political and economic interest in Zimbabwe. First, if South Africa’s northern neighbour maintained its rule by the white, RF government and managed to quell the rise of the African nationalist movement, this, Vorster believed, could help to sustain South Africa’s own racially separatist policies and white-‐domination. He actively engaged with Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda and US Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger to resolve the conflict in Rhodesia by making small concessions to the African nationalist movement but supporting the RF rule. However, despite these combined efforts, the future of Zimbabwe was not to correspond with Vorster’s vision. The power of the African nationalist movement, though divided, continued to rise until it succeeded in delivering Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
While the South African apartheid government was supporting the RF leadership and economy, the ANC of South Africa supported and assisted Zimbabwe’s African nationalist movement. Traditionally, the ANC’s closest ally in the movement was the
ZAPU party led by Joshua Nkomo. There were many similarities common to the two parties. The ANC and ZAPU shared the same culture and language, both their headquarters were in Lusaka when in exile, and the two parties were members of the same Moscow-‐aligned group of liberation movements (Gevisser 2007: 431). However, future South African President, Thabo Mbeki was among the few who, at the time, had correctly analyzed the situation in Zimbabwe and was not alarmed, some say he even approved, when Mugabe won the 1980 leadership race (Gevisser 2007: 433). As Mbeki had predicted “the 1980 election results reflected…Zimbabwe’s demographic divisions:
Mugabe’s support was from the majority Shona, while Nkomo’s was from the minority
Ndebele. The Ndebele are the Nguni-‐speaking descendants of Mzilikazi, Shaka’s break-‐ away general, and the link between ZAPU and the ANC was thus affective as well as ideological (Gevisser 2007: 433)”.
However, the ANC’s future relationship with ZANU-‐PF was cultivated as early as the late
1970s through Mbeki’s foresight. Gevisser (2007: 433) explains the logic behind Mbeki’s vision,
Mbeki had accepted – as few of his comrades were able to – the ethno-‐ political arithmetic of Zimbabwe: Mugabe, and not Nkomo, would ultimately gain control of the country, and thus of South Africa’s route home. Mbeki was also interested in befriending ZANU because it was far more effective than ZAPU: while Nkomo prepared for a classically Leninist working-‐class struggle, Mugabe had understood that his country was overwhelmingly rural, and had engineered a Chinese-‐style peasant insurrection that sustained his guerrillas as they penetrated deep into
While Mbeki managed to maintain unofficial contact with ZANU during Zimbabwe’s liberation war, the ANC as an organization kept its allegiance with ZAPU, thus causing certain animosity between Mugabe’s ZANU and the ANC. According to Mbeki, the ANC erred when it rejected several of ZANU’s advances, such as Mugabe’s proposition for military cooperation (Gevisser 2007: 433-‐434). Mbeki’s persistent attempts at developing a good relationship with Mugabe and the ANC’s stubborn resolve to discard
ZANU will become very relevant in the policies of the South African government
between 2000 and 2008, and in 2009 when South Africa’s foreign policy switches from preventive diplomacy to conflict resolution under the leadership of Jacob Zuma.
The ANC was then forced to shift its strategy towards the new Zimbabwe and repair its relationship with the ruling ZANU party in 1980. The ANC was represented at
Zimbabwe’s independence celebrations, after which Mugabe invited ANC President
Oliver Tambo to send an ANC team to assess the independence of Zimbabwe for the purposes of their cause in South Africa (Gevisser 2007: 434). Mbeki was sent on this first official ANC mission to the independent Zimbabwe, which helped the future president realize that “while the ‘military route’ home was through Angola and Mozambique, the
‘peaceful route’ home would be through Zimbabwe, because South Africa could travel freely here (Gevisser 2007: 435)”. Since the visit, the understanding between the two parties grew and culminated with Mugabe extending the most generous olive branch to the exiled party: The ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), was promised to be allowed to operate in Zimbabwe and receive assistance from the Zimbabwean army, while the ANC’s “above-‐ground diplomatic work would mask its secret military operations (Gevisser 2007: 436).” Mbeki worked closely during this time with
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the future Zimbabwe minister of state security; the significance of this early rapport will be discussed later in this section. The gratitude to ZANU felt by the ANC for permitting its members to work freely within Zimbabwe’s borders became a key factor in South Africa-‐Zimbabwe relations two decades later.
However, the promises made to the ANC by ZANU did not all come to fruition. The economy under the new government of Zimbabwe continued to rely heavily on the support of South Africa and thus ZANU had to cooperate in some way with the apartheid government. In response to the offer made by ZANU to the ANC, the South
African security forces struck back by assassinating the ANC’s representative to
Zimbabwe, Joe Gqabi. The South African government also decisively made serious cutbacks in its economic support to the country. These coercion tactics worked and
consequently the relationship between ZANU and the ANC collapsed (Gevisser 2007:
437). Mbeki quit his post in Zimbabwe to return to headquarters in Lusaka to strategize with the ANC leadership their own plan forward for South Africa’s liberation struggle.
Chris Hani, the leader of the South African Communist Party (SACP) replaced him and became the MK’s chief of staff. A reduced ANC presence remained in Zimbabwe during the 1980s; however, with the altered relationship even the MK forces were not spared during ZANU’s Gukurahundi. According to Gevisser (2007: 437), the MK was still heavily involved with ZAPU at the time and when the Five Brigade attacked ZAPU commanders, the entire MK command in Matabeleland was imprisoned and many were tortured. The initial promise made by Mugabe to the ANC was now completely broken and ANC
personnel had no choice but to withdraw from the country.
In 1989, the world watched the fall of the iron curtain and in terms of African politics, the end of the Cold War was a significant game-‐changer. African countries were no longer seen by the world’s super powers as strategic pawns and for South Africa, suddenly the tides turned in favour of the liberation movement. Consequently, during the period between the late 1980s and much of the 1990s, South Africa’s attention logically turned away from Zimbabwe as it suffered through the worst of its liberation struggle, a period of intense negotiations, and then relished in the euphoria of a free and democratic South Africa under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. Moving forward, between the years 2000 and 2007, under the ANC and Mbeki leadership, attention returned to the neighbour to the north. In fact, by far the foremost concern in the South
African government’s foreign policy throughout the decade between 2000 and 2010 was its relations with Zimbabwe. South Africa’s involvement in Zimbabwe can be characterized by a series of missed opportunities and blunders, which ultimately served to prolong the crisis in Zimbabwe rather than preventing its escalation. In the first years of his presidency, Mbeki was focused on the African Renaissance, the transition between the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the African Union, and Nepad, all
of which formed the core inspiration for his administration’s foreign policy, and all of which contributed to the errors he made in his dealing with the Zimbabwe crisis.
The purpose of this chapter was to lay the foundation, as Chapter Two achieved regarding the theoretical framework, of historical context to root the dissertation’s examination of South Africa’s preventive diplomacy action toward Zimbabwe between the years 2000 and 2009. Without the necessary historical background, one would have great difficulty understanding how the once praised and promising country of Zimbabwe could fall to such ruin in only two decades. Without an explanation of the relationship between South Africa and Zimbabwe over time, one would also struggle to make sense of the behavior and the decisions taken by the South African government in the handling of the Zimbabwe situation throughout the Mbeki presidency.
In this chapter we followed the story of Zimbabwe as the RF movement fought for its autonomy against its colonial master, Britain. We reviewed the formation of the UDI and the rise of the African liberation movement. We noted the transformation of
Zimbabwe’s conflict lifecycle as the conditions shifted between unstable peace, crisis and war. As Zimbabwe gained its independence and attained world recognition for its early accomplishments in health, education and regional leadership, a hot war raged in the western part of the already troubled country as the ZANU party fatally stamped out its political opposition. From this point onward, the story of Zimbabwe is one of tragic downfall. First the economy began to deteriorate and soon after the refusal of a despotic government to accept any form of dissent led the ruling party to terrorize its
In this chapter we examined how the relationship between South Africa and Zimbabwe developed over time, keeping in mind the distinction between the role of the South
African apartheid government and that of the exiled ANC, both of which had radically
opposing interests in Zimbabwe. The differing views within the ANC regarding its relations with Zimbabwe were also highlighted. While the majority of the ANC initially sided with ZAPU, a party that shared its language and culture, an exiled experience in
Zambia, and ideological training in Moscow, there were others such as Thabo Mbeki who took a different stance and was able to envision the value of establishing a good relationship with ZANU. But despite all Mbeki’s convincing his fellow party leaders and his efforts to strengthen the ANC’s relations with ZANU, the chapter ends with a fallout between the two liberation movements before South Africa embarks on its own journey
This assessment of Zimbabwe’s rise and fall and South Africa’s relationship with its neighbour north of the Limpopo River through the liberation struggle passed the celebrations of independence, provides the groundwork necessary for the next discussion of this dissertation. We will see that South Africa’s shared history with
Zimbabwe plays a major role in the future relationship between the two countries.
While acting in the interest of the state but also remembering the initial camaraderie shown by Mugabe and ZANU in the early years of Zimbabwe’s independence, Mbeki and his team in South Africa’s Department of Foreign Affairs would not forget its history with Zimbabwe and would allow this memory to shape its foreign policies. Chapter Four,
therefore, will pick up where the historical overview has left off and will examine South
Africa’s foreign policy responses preventive action to the conflict in Zimbabwe from
2000 to 2009.
A Foreign Policy Transformed: Examining the transformation of South Africa’s post-‐apartheid foreign policy and the role of preventive diplomacy in relations with Zimbabwe, 2000-‐2007
With the foundations laid of a theoretical framework and an historical review that explains both how the conflict in Zimbabwe emerged over time and the historical context of South Africa-‐Zimbabwe relations, this chapter will proceed with an analysis of
South Africa’s foreign policy responses to Zimbabwe during the latter’s period of crisis.
South Africa became a state in transition from 1994 and the transition was experienced first in the concerted efforts made by the young democracy to break away from the recent history of apartheid and then again in the transfer of leadership from Nelson
Mandela to his deputy president, Thabo Mbeki in 1999. It is important to emphasize the unique conditions surrounding South Africa’s transition, as we explored in the previous chapter; it was a transition that employed a very different manner of transferring power than in the case of Zimbabwe. South Africans owned their transition process and because the transition took place strictly within South Africa, with all South African actors, the terms were not dictated to South Africa. This experience came to influence
South Africa’s preventive diplomacy efforts in Zimbabwe, as South Africa was ideologically opposed to outside interference in the form that the West saw fit regarding Zimbabwe.
This chapter will begin by highlighting the foreign policy standards that were set during the Mandela leadership that strived to establish a new national identity at home and introduce a transformed South Africa to be accepted and welcomed onto the
international stage. The chapter will then examine the transition period between
Mandela and Mbeki, characterized as an extension of a transformed foreign policy.
Mbeki’s distinctive influences and his ambitions will also be considered.
Even before receiving the SADC mandate to intervene in Zimbabwe in 2007, the South
African government was heavily involved throughout the Zimbabwe crisis. As illustrated in Chapter Three, the two neighbouring countries share a long history whose events of the past predominantly influence the present day relationship. The first aim of Chapter
Four is to provide an overview of South Africa’s foreign policy transformation from response-‐based conflict management to conflict prevention, or preventive diplomacy.
The second aim is to analyze the preventive diplomacy steps South Africa took to avert a worsening situation in Zimbabwe before being given the SADC directive. The theoretical framework developed in the second chapter and the historical background presented in the third chapter together will inform the study as it follows South Africa’s preventive
diplomacy toward Zimbabwe from 2000 to 2007.
4.2 A State in Transition: From Rainbow Nation rhetoric to the transformation of
South African foreign policy
The story of the South Africa-‐Zimbabwe relationship concluded in the previous chapter at the end of South Africa’s honeymoon period and the end of Mandela’s term in office.
However, it was the era of Mandela’s leadership that decisively set the tone for the future of South Africa’s international relations. As Deputy President and one of the
ANC’s top authorities on international relations, Mbeki played a very key role in formulating much of Mandela’s foreign policy. Therefore, a smooth continuity ensued in
South Africa’s foreign policy development and execution when Mbeki assumes the role of President of the Republic in 1999. The Mandela Administration (1994-‐1999) has been characterized as a ‘transformative’ period for South Africa (Houston and Muthien 2000).
The new democracy during its first five years placed its emphasis on making a dramatic departure from the apartheid era and finding its unique place in the world. From a
political standpoint, Schraeder (2001: 230) posits that South Africa is an ideal case study that demonstrates foreign policy transformation in the post-‐Cold War era, as he considers the country “serves as the embodiment of the democratic changes that have swept the African continent since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.” In his inaugural address Mandela (1994) inspired the fragile nation to unite and transform by declaring,
“We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans,
both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and
the world”. From the outset, it was clear that foreign policy would be based on national interests, therefore intrinsically linking the foreign policy and domestic politics of
Mandela’s rainbow nation.
It was also with the inception of the new ANC-‐led government that lasting policy decisions, particularly regarding its foreign policy, were founded. The government’s new approach to foreign policy was three-‐pronged. Human rights and democracy, preemptive and preventive action, and the promotion of African interests in world affairs would concurrently guide South Africa’s Department of Foreign Affairs (now the
Department of International Relations and Cooperation). To illustrate this transformed approach, just months before the first multi-‐racial, multi-‐party, democratic elections,
Mandela (1993) wrote, “Human rights will be the light that guides our foreign
policy…South Africa will immediately become a full-‐fledged member of the family of
nations who holds human rights issues central to foreign policy.” Furthermore, the new government announced that it was no longer interested in practicing a reactive foreign policy, but “rather sought to remould its national identity and restrategise its global role by pursuing a pro-‐active approach (Landsberg 2010: 80)”. In 1996, the Department of
Foreign Affairs released a Green Paper outlining South Africa’s new approach to foreign policy (DFA 1996). Within the document peace making and conflict prevention are highlighted as being cornerstones and main preoccupations of South Africa’s foreign policy, and it further states, “Preventive diplomacy has become an essential and
fundamental consideration (South Africa DFA 1996).” This decisive shift from a response-‐based foreign policy to one of preventive diplomacy will play a key role in the
Mbeki leadership particularly and will feature prominently in this chapter. Foreign policy priorities at this time were also placed, more than any other region, on the rest of the
African continent. In his 1993 Foreign Affairs article, Mandela (1993) speaks to South
Africa’s African destiny and more specifically its destiny linked to the region of southern
Africa. In 1996, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad confirmed this notion by stating that, “South Africa’s future is inextricably linked to that of Africa… This is our
national interest (Pahad as quoted by Landsberg 2010: 88).” This African focus too would come to characterize the Mbeki presidency.
While the advancement of human rights and democracy, the emphasis on preventive diplomacy, and the promotion of African interests in world politics together formed the basis of South Africa’s new approach to foreign policy, the ANC government also considered other influences that were not necessarily officially acknowledged but had a notable impact on the country’s foreign relations. The Mandela Administration took the past solidarity garnered by the ANC during the liberation struggle in earnest and allowed this perceived indebtedness to weigh significantly on present external relationships. The solidarity between African countries during the 1970s and 1980s, for example, were based on anti-‐colonialism and the fight for independence. However, the solidarity between African states in a post-‐independence context has stubbornly held onto the anti-‐colonial sentiment and has thus solidified the bonds developed in the past irrespective of a government’s human rights record or authoritarian governance practices (Sachikonye 2004: 655). Schoeman and Alden (2003: 12) refer to this policy as the diplomacy of solidarity.
For example, despite his infamous reputation as a butcher of his own people, Mandela awarded Indonesian dictator Suharto with South Africa’s highest medal of honour, the
Order of Good Hope, on account of his past support of the ANC (BBC News, 22
November 1997). Similarly, when criticized by the West for his and then Foreign
Minister Alfred Nzo’s diplomatic visit to Libya in 1997, Mandela gave a public, hard-‐ hitting response by stating “Those that yesterday were friends of our enemies have the gall today to tell me not to visit my brother Gadaffi; they are advising us to be ungrateful and forget our friends of the past (London Evening Post, 18 April 2011).” The powerful influence of past solidarity for the ANC’s cause during the fight against apartheid on current foreign relations also impacted on South Africa’s approach to Zimbabwe. In the previous chapter it was acknowledged that the ANC had a more natural tie to
Zimbabwe’s ZAPU party, however, it was the ZANU-‐PF party that initially permitted ANC exiles to operate with Zimbabwe. Furthermore in 1980 it was Mugabe who welcomed
South African government officials to visit the country and assess the state of democracy. Just as Indonesia and Libya’s past backing of the ANC impacted the Mandela
Administration’s foreign policy in the 1990s, so too does Zimbabwe’s past pledges of support and camaraderie influence the South African government approach to the
handling of the crisis in Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2007.
McKinley (2004: 357-‐364) points to the political economy as another motivator of South
Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe. McKinley (2004, 357) stipulates that class interests and the emergence of South African economic hegemony on the continent combine to drive South Africa’s foreign policy. He refers to South Africa’s estimated R1 billion rescue package offered to Zimbabwe before the country’s national parliamentary elections in 2000, which can be interpreted as a preemptive decision by Pretoria to prevent a further decline of the Zimbabwean economy in the interests of the
Zimbabwean people, South Africa and the region (McKinley 2004: 358). McKinley (2004,
358-‐359) further argues that the real beneficiaries of such a financial lifeline are the
South African government-‐controlled financial institutions such as electricity conglomerate Eskom and the oil corporation Sasol. Therefore, national economic interests play a critical role in influencing South Africa’s foreign policy. This analysis not only points to an economic influence on foreign policy, but also supports the argument
that South Africa’s external relations with Zimbabwe are motivated by the policy of preventive diplomacy. Economic assistance is featured as a nonjudicial, noncoercive
diplomatic measure in Lund’s Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox (Lund 2006: 204).
Considering both South Africa’s official foreign policy and its informal but effective influences, the new and transformed foreign policy was put to the test first during the
Mandela presidency. Most notably for this early period, the transformed foreign policy was employed in South Africa’s intervention in Nigeria between 1994 and 1995
(Landsberg 2010: 104). When the 1993 elections in Nigeria turned from a results dispute to great civil unrest, South Africa responded quickly to prevent an escalation in the crisis through dialogue and mediation efforts, and therefore choosing preventive diplomacy over force. Although South Africa went a step further in 1995 when Mandela called for more punitive measures through the introduction of sanctions and the suspension of
Nigeria from the Commonwealth, both of which remain in the realm of preventive diplomacy. This hard-‐hitting stance was not widely popular among other African state leaders and even among some members of the ANC, who believed they were not consulted, and resulted in a minor isolation of South Africa among its African counterparts (Hamill 2002: 36). It was indeed a bold move in the new direction of foreign policy that focused on human rights and democracy, and preventive diplomacy.
South Africa would similarly respond proactively to conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and Lesotho during the Mandela presidency with some success.
Although the intervention in Lesotho, which began with the engagement of non-‐ coercive preventive diplomacy methods but shifted to a military response, presented the first lesson learned by the young democracy that there are at times limits to the preventive diplomacy approach.
Under Nelson Mandela’s leadership, South Africa ultimately achieved its goals of establishing a new national identity, far removed from the recent legacy of apartheid, and in entering the international stage as an accepted and respected player. The new
national identity was largely defined by the country’s 1996 constitution, which enshrined human dignity, equality and human rights in the lives of South Africans of all walks of life, and protected by the highest court in the land, the Constitutional Court.
Through its new approach to foreign policy and having already achieved success as a mediator in several conflict situations, South Africa also emerged an influential leader on the continent and a visible world player. Of course, many South Africans will disagree that during this time the country had accomplished all it needed to, however, on paper the foundations were laid for a very promising future.
The realization of South Africa’s unique transformation was not fortuitous. According to
Alden and Le Pere (2004: 283), “South Africa’s dramatic rehabilitation from international pariah during the apartheid years to bastion of African democracy is itself the product of a very carefully crafted transition.” The early emphasis placed on human rights and democracy, foreign policy supporting multilateral channels, and South Africa’s confidence as a leader on the continent merged and continues to influence foreign policy conduct today (Alden and Le Pere 2004: 283). Solidarity shown by other countries during the struggle against apartheid as well as national economic interests also serve as important factors in South Africa’s current foreign relations. The first five years of democracy in South Africa was also an era where the rhetoric and branding of a rainbow nation facilitated the creation of a new national identity at home and came to be revered around the world and Mandela, father of that rainbow nation, reached icon
4.3 A Second Transition: South African foreign policy under the Mbeki Administration
In 1999, inheriting the legacy of Mandela and the euphoria of the rainbow nation could be seen as a tough act to follow but nonetheless motivating. The truth, some analysts will argue, is that the triumphs and the rhetoric of the rainbow nation was exactly that: only embellished rhetoric (Johnson 2009: 320). By 1999 it was time for South Africa to
get down to business, so to speak, and finally begin to right the wrongs left by apartheid. The rainbow nation hype was not the only thing Mbeki inherited. As
Thompson (Thompson 1999: 83) observes, “The new South Africa that Mandela bequeathed to Thabo Mbeki [was] beset with many serious problems.” The remnants of apartheid still remained after five years of democracy in South Africa and presented serious challenges for the Mbeki Administration. Abject poverty was the plight of the vast majority of South Africans. Mbeki coined the term the “two economies” to describe the inequality in the social and economic realms of the country, and therefore real transformation and economic development on the home front would become a great motivator for both Mbeki’s domestic and foreign policy.
Another challenge facing Mbeki was the inefficiency of certain government departments, most importantly for Mbeki’s objectives being the Office of the President and the Department of Foreign Affairs. Mbeki initiated a restructuring of the Presidency, which, as Alden and Le Pere (2004: 288) explain, brought the process of policy formation, implementation and monitoring, especially that of foreign policy, directly under the jurisdiction of the President’s office. It is for this reason that analysts often personalize the political decisions made by the South African government during this period as Mbeki’s own policies, for Mbeki ultimately controlled the administration's
With the challenges left over from the apartheid structure and with much of the foreign policy direction now controlled by the Presidency, the Foreign Affairs ministry was negatively affected. Johnson highlights Mbeki’s early blunders in his weak attempts to rectify the Foreign Affairs situation. Firstly, under Mbeki’s direct leadership, many of the skilled white foreign affairs officials were dismissed, as were those experts working for the former South African Foundation, which had been used as a specialized foreign service focused on trade (Johnson 2009: 321). Secondly, during the Mbeki presidency, ambassadorships became rewards for party loyalty, a professional diplomatic corps
ceased to exist, and Foreign Affairs officials in embassies abroad became notorious for inappropriate behavior, spanning from financial fraud to sexual harassment (Johnson
2009: 321-‐322). Finally, aware of her past difficulties in directing the Department of
Health, Mbeki appointed Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-‐Zuma as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
According to Johnson (2009: 321-‐322), within months of her appointment the
Department’s staff became demoralized as Dlamini-‐Zuma “kept desk officers in the dark about her dealings with countries in their regions, disregarded the briefs she was given…and micro-‐managed her department so that all foreign postings and promotions had to come through her, with resulting long delays and vacancies in key foreign missions.” The Foreign Minister’s strong-‐willed and single-‐handed management and leadership skills would also be felt in South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe.
Later in the chapter we will observe that while Mbeki worked hard behind the scenes, it was often the public statements made by Dlamini-‐Zuma that stirred media criticism and that served to undermine Mbeki’s sensitive process of preventive diplomacy.
At first glance, the disconcerting conditions of the Department of Foreign Affairs may cause one to suspect Mbeki had other things on his mind. In part this is true, although
Mbeki is known as a ‘foreign policy president’ and through his restructuring of the office of the President he maintained control of foreign policy formation. Mbeki had a much larger vision that surpassed the day-‐to-‐day management of the Foreign Affairs ministry.
Mbeki believed that post-‐1994 South Africa was the embodiment of what is known as the African Renaissance. The African Renaissance, popularized by Mbeki, is a vision of the continent’s political renewal founded on democratic principles and Africa’s economic revival that is sustainable, free from the burden of debt and placed prominently within the world economy. The vision is attained through certain definitive
African foreign policy interests and has emerged as the foreign policy model most characteristic of the Mbeki Administration. A clear understanding of the features and objectives of the African Renaissance is critical for the purposes of this dissertation as it
assists in the comprehension of the South African government’s foreign policy decisions regarding Zimbabwe between 2000-‐2009.
According to Bongmba (2004, 294-‐304), the main components of the African
Renaissance include the politics of an African cultural identity, a post-‐nationalist ideology that strives for the renewal of the entire continent and not just of single nations, and the promotion of democracy and development. As Schraeder (2001: 233) further explains, there are six principal concerns of the African Renaissance. The first concern is regional integration and development, as shown by South Africa’s prioritization of SADC and the AU, and the second aim is the support for nuclear non-‐ proliferation, which has been met by South Africa in the dismantling of its nuclear weapons programme and the country’s promotion of the global Nuclear Non-‐
Proliferation movement (Shraeder 2001: 233). The respect of territorial integrity and state sovereignty is the third concern of the African Renaissance and is illustrated by
Mandela’s refusal to sever diplomatic ties with Libya (as discussed in the previous section) and Cuba, despite the demands of the United States (Shraeder 2001: 233). The
fourth objective is the peaceful resolution of conflicts, which is demonstrated by South
Africa’s foreign policy shift from reaction to preventive diplomacy (Shraeder 2001: 233).
The African Renaissance premise of a peaceful continent paired with the fourth objective stated above motivated Mbeki to douse the flames of African conflicts flaring up all around him. Early on in his presidency, Mbeki facilitated the end of civil wars in the DRC and Burundi, and led mediation teams in the conflicts of Ivory Coast, Eritrea, the Sudan, Somalia, and later his main focus would be on Zimbabwe. The fires raged on faster than he could put them out, and yet he persisted, guided by the dream of the
African Renaissance. The promotion of human rights and democracy is the African
Renaissance’s fifth concern, which is clearly a shared value as outlined in South Africa’s
1996 constitution (Shraeder 2001: 233). Finally, the African Renaissance embraces the liberal economic model of free trade and investment, which is indicative of Mbeki’s
prioritization of foreign trade and the government’s support of national and regional businesses (Shraeder 2001: 233). It is quite clear that the South African government, especially under the Mbeki Administration, aspires to embody the vision of the African
Renaissance through its foreign policy and national identity and lead the continent toward a complete realization of this vision. Preventing an escalation of conflict in
Zimbabwe and assisting the opposing factions in finding a resolution to their political
crisis was very much a part of this plan for South Africa.
Furthermore, Schraeder (2001: 234-‐235) highlights two additional foreign policy strategies central to the African Renaissance and refined by the Mbeki Administration, which are the principle of universality and asserting a leadership role in multi-‐lateral organizations. The principle of universality refers to the willingness to form diplomatic relationships with countries irrespective of their domestic or foreign policies (Shraeder
2001: 234). For example, the South African government decision to prioritize national economic interests in their foreign relations explains the current Sino-‐South African relationship. The democratic model of Taiwan was not as significant to the South African
government as the monetary benefits gained by establishing good relations with the authoritarian administration of Beijing.
Similarly, the young, democratic South Africa was quick to grasp the African Renaissance strategy of assuming top positions in international multi-‐lateral organizations and placed emphasis particularly on African institutions and organizations representing the interests of the ‘South’ (the South referring to developing nations of the world and the
North referring to industrialized nations). Within months of the first democratic elections, South Africa gained re-‐admission to the British Commonwealth of Nations and resumed its seat in the United Nations. Shortly thereafter South Africa joined the G77, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), later the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), and joined the Non-‐Aligned Movement (NAM). The country rejoined
United Nations Specialized Agencies such as ILO, WHO and FAO, initiated negotiations
with the European Union, and concluded diplomatic relations with 78 states in the first two years of a democratic leadership (South Africa DFA 1996). South Africa’s international leadership role only expanded further under the Mbeki Administration.
Therefore, it is clear that South Africa’s “crafted transition” was based primarily on the values of the African Renaissance; values that would continue to shape and inspire the
Mbeki Administration’s worldview and foreign policy approach. The aim to assume leadership positions in international multi-‐lateral organizations played a significant role in the South African government’s preventive diplomacy approach toward Zimbabwe.
Mbeki used his position in the Commonwealth to participate in a troika that would make recommendations on policy toward Zimbabwe. Similarly, as Mbeki chaired the UN
Security Council in 2007, he succeeded in preventing the Council from discussing
Zimbabwe’s human rights violations (Johnson 2009: 339).
The dream of South Africa leading the continent to its Renaissance encouraged Mbeki’s preoccupation with South Africa’s involvement in the African Union, formerly the OAU, and the advancement of his own proposition, the New Partnership for Africa’s
Development (Nepad). Nepad is a pan-‐Africanist programme of action to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development, and depends on the foundations of democratic governance across the continent (Bongmba 2004: 297-‐298). Together this triad of interrelated themes formed the cornerstone of Mbeki’s foreign policy (Johnson
2009: 323). In 2001, just two years into his presidency, the OAU became the AU and
Mbeki was elected to oversee the transition as chair of the regional body; South Africa thus observing a key strategy of the African Renaissance. The AU structure developed rapidly, one could even say that it took on too much at once, modeling itself after a combination of the European Union (EU) and the UN. Institutions were set up such as the Pan-‐African Parliament (PAP), the African Court of Justice, the Peace and Security
Council, the Economic, Social and Cultural Council, and an AU Commission. An African
Monetary Fund and an African Investment Bank were also established.
The concern by many onlookers was the incredible costs needed to support such a complex structure. The AU inherited the debts of the OAU and from its infancy was highly dependent on foreign donors. Yet despite the many obstacles, Mbeki was determined to make the AU a success and he wanted that success to be credited to
South Africa’s leadership in the organization. Despite the aspiration for a united continent through the AU and the African Renaissance, the dominance of South Africa in the AU instigated some sentiments of rivalry among African heads of state. Mugabe, for example, did not enthusiastically appreciate Mbeki’s leadership role in the AU, as it led to the eclipse of Zimbabwe by South Africa at the continental level and thus the eclipse of Mugabe’s leadership by Mbeki on an individual level.
Although some analysts argue that Mbeki achieved very little during his AU presidency
(Johnson 2009: 326), Mbeki, adhering to his vision of the African Renaissance, focused on the symbolism of the regional organization and placed South Africa at the very heart of it. He similarly clung to his Nepad initiative in order to demonstrate to the world that
South Africa could lead a united continent out of the shackles of colonialism and on to independently and successfully addressing the critical challenges facing Africa, such as poverty and development. However, the efforts of the Mbeki Administration to prevent and resolve the conflicts in the region often hindered the fulfillment of its grand foreign policy program for Africa. According to Alden and Le Pere (2004:290), “Even in those circumstances – Zimbabwe in particular – where South African interests were most directly effected and leverage was assumed to be considerable, the range of actions available that would not exact costs in terms of SADC unity, domestic politics and
relations with all-‐important G-‐8 countries, turned out to be far fewer than policy makers in Pretoria had anticipated.” The Mbeki Administration faced a serious challenge in realizing the African Renaissance when having to balance the demands of various important players within and outside the continent of focus.
Nevertheless, in 1999, elected as both President of the ANC and the second President of the newly democratic South Africa, Thabo Mbeki inherited the country’s transformed foreign policy approach as well as its increasingly recognized role as the African continent’s go-‐to peacemaker. He was inspired by his own vision of South Africa spearheading an African Renaissance and envisaged his country playing a major leadership role in the African Union. Having acted as South Africa’s chief representative in foreign affairs and top mediator in the country’s involvement in conflict prevention and conflict resolution, Mbeki adeptly grasped the reigns as President and soon turned the country’s foreign policy attention back to its neighbour north of the Limpopo River.
Zimbabwe was to become the top foreign policy priority country for South Africa
throughout Mbeki’s leadership between 1999 and 2008.
4.4 Treading Carefully and Quietly: Highlighting South Africa’s foreign policy in
Zimbabwe’s decade of decline, 2000 – 2007
This section will examine the South African government foreign policy toward Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2007 through a preventive diplomacy lens. First it is important to keep in mind the historical background of the two countries that was developed in the third chapter. Secondly, the impact of the African Renaissance vision on President
Mbeki’s leadership style and South Africa’s foreign policy transformation that were briefly explored in the previous section must be considered. Finally, we must also recall
Lund’s preventive diplomacy theoretical framework and Rupesinghe’s contribution to the understanding of conflict and multi-‐track diplomacy that were analyzed in the second chapter of this dissertation. The consideration of these critical aspects will result in a more comprehensive understanding of how and why the South African government
responded the way it did to the crisis in Zimbabwe.
In Chapter Two we examined Lund’s (1996, 38-‐39) Stages of Peace or Conflict. We learned that when a conflict is at one of these stages it has the tendency to move to the next stage or slide back into a previous stage on the conflict life cycle spectrum.
Therefore, a conflict at any stage can either escalate or de-‐escalate and shift to another stage, depending on the existing conditions. Between the years 2000 and 2007,
Zimbabwe’s intrastate conflict fluctuated between the parameters of unstable peace and crisis. Recalling Rupesinghe’s (1992: 13-‐14) outline of the types of internal conflicts, which was also discussed previously in the second chapter, the conflict in Zimbabwe can be considered a governance and authority conflict, which concerns the distribution of power in society and where demands from the opposition are for regime change and control over resources. Furthermore, the case study of Zimbabwe uniquely demonstrates a trend of conflict escalation during the country’s electoral cycles. We will observe through this chapter a dipping back to a stage of unstable peace in between
elections in our country of focus.
In the beginning of the year 2000, the conflict in Zimbabwe was approaching a level of unstable peace. The conditions throughout the country were tense due to a severe economic crisis, where strike action debilitated the workforce in the cities and droughts impeded agricultural production in the rural areas. Although violence was either absent or sporadic, typical of this stage of conflict, a negative peace prevailed as the formation of the MDC party in 1999 and its successful campaign of rejecting ZANU-‐PF’s proposed constitution during a national referendum in 2000 combined to present the first real political challenge to the ruling party’s leadership. Taking into account this political threat and considering parliamentary elections were to take place later that year
Mugabe unleashed a pre-‐election terror campaign through his fast-‐tracked programme of land occupations. The conflict pushed the limits of its unstable peace phase, as the government employed war veterans to use brute force against white farm owners, black farm workers, and ultimately those supporters of the political opposition. This intensification of conflict occurred in Mbeki’s second year of his Presidency and the conditions on the ground in Zimbabwe presented the South African government with an opportunity to once again implement its transformed foreign policy of preventive diplomacy.
As mentioned in the second chapter, Lund (1996: 21-‐24) cautions policy makers that non-‐involvement is no longer a strategic decision in current international and intrastate conflicts because the political and economic costs of non-‐involvement or late reaction to a conflict far exceed the costs of conflict prevention. Due to the gravity of the situation in a neighbouring country and the potential ramifications at home, the South African government decided to intervene and became increasingly involved between the years
2000 and 2009. The Mbeki Administration selected a preventive diplomacy method by reaching out to its counterpart and reminding Zimbabwe’s ruling party of their mutual goals. Some analysts have also referred to South Africa’s preventive diplomacy approach as “quiet diplomacy”, as the handling of the situation is sensitive and quiet in nature, as opposed to vociferous diplomacy of the megaphone variety (Landsberg 2004: 10).
According to Lund (1996: 41), preventive diplomacy is most commonly employed and most successful during the stage of unstable peace; therefore South Africa’s initial intervention came at an opportune moment. Recalling Lund’s toolbox (1996: 204), the
South African government at this initial stage engaged non-‐coercive diplomatic
measures, specifically through the use of the tool of moral suasion.
In May of 2000, Mbeki made use of the moral suasion tool when delivering a speech at the opening of the Zimbabwe Trade Fair in Bulawayo and stated:
“I am pleased to take this opportunity publicly to salute President Mugabe, the rest of the leadership and the people of Zimbabwe for what they did to ensure [South Africa’s] liberation from apartheid tyranny…As neighbours and peoples who have shared the same trenches in the common struggle for freedom, it is natural that we must now work together to build on the victory of the anti-‐colonial and anti-‐racist struggle…[by] achieving a better life for the masses of our people; protecting the achievements we have scored to ensure that ours is a region of freedom, democracy, peace and stability… (Mbeki in South Africa DFA 2000)”
Mbeki first finds common ground and cleverly binds the two countries together as anti-‐ colonialist, liberation struggle survivors. In doing so he demonstrates the solidarity
principle that drives South African foreign policy, as was discussed previously in this chapter. He then diplomatically advises the ruling party that the main goal for the two countries now is to build a better life for their citizens and protect the freedom, democracy, peace and stability of the SADC region, all of which are key elements to the achievement of the African Renaissance. Mbeki’s speech is an excellent example of preventive diplomacy as it establishes trust and partnership between the two countries
–one country embroiled in intrastate conflict and the other as a third party mediator – at an opportune moment in order to avert a further escalation of the conflict.
Zimbabwe had maintained its electoral system since independence in 1980, making it one of the oldest official multi-‐party systems on the continent, but on the other hand it had also maintained the same ruling party (Laakso 2002: 441). The 2000 elections were especially significant because they were the first in Zimbabwe’s independent history where an opposition party was given a genuine opportunity to contest ZANU-‐PF’s power. At this point, we must recall that we have determined the conflict in Zimbabwe has a tendency to escalate to a stage of crisis during an election cycle. News of the violent land invasions attracted international media attention and international donors, such as the EU and the US, who then decided that under such conditions the elections could not be free and fair.
The Mbeki Administration took a less aggressive stance, dismissed the criticism, openly declared that the conditions were suitable for free and fair elections, and conclusively sent their own observation team (Laakso 2002: 451). In doing so Pretoria opted again for a preventive diplomacy solution by approaching their neighbour’s situation delicately and not publicly condemning the ruling party’s authority, thus respecting
Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and demonstrating regional solidarity. The values of the African
Renaissance are apparent in this approach. However, the decision to send South African representatives to observe the elections, which is another non-‐coercive diplomatic measure as well as a development and governance approach featured in Lund’s toolbox,
served as a subtle intimation that ZANU-‐PF was being watched. The final election results were contentious with a narrow ZANU-‐PF victory but it was a clear indication that support for the ruling party was weakening. The EU delegation was the most critical, whereas the South African parliamentary observer team confidently stated that “the chances of rigging were negligible and the results reflected the will of the Zimbabwean people (Laakso 2002: 457).” South Africa’s preventive diplomacy approach in 2000 can be credited as moderately successful, as the elections process in Zimbabwe concluded in relative peace with no definite worsening of the conflict.
Between 2000 and 2002, the South African government continued its preventive diplomacy, or quiet diplomacy, approach to the situation in Zimbabwe. During this time, the Mbeki Administration engaged a preventive diplomacy strategy of conciliation in exchange for the ruling party’s promise to adhere to democratic norms. Conciliatory gestures are featured as noncoercive diplomatic measures in Lund’s (1996, 204) preventive diplomacy toolbox. According to Hughes and Mills (2003: 11), it was during this time that the South African government acted as a significant creditor to its
Zimbabwean counterpart and permitted a R80 million debt to South African company
Eskom (electricity), an increased Telkom (telecommunications) credit line of R60 million, an extended overdraft from the South African Reserve Bank, and credit reassurance to the Zimbabwean iron and steel parastatal, Zisco. The use of South Africa’s economic leverage over Zimbabwe was highly criticized at home and abroad and such decisions caused a negative effect on foreign investor confidence and the national currency of
South Africa (Johnson 2009: 341). Other analysts, however, argue that through this economic rescue package, South African government-‐controlled financial institutions were the real beneficiaries, as part of the package included over twenty investment projects in Zimbabwe that enriched South Africa’s state-‐owned corporations (McKinley
2004: 358-‐359); thus pointing to the national economic interest influence on South
Africa’s foreign policy that was discussed previously in this chapter. Nevertheless the fact remains that the Mbeki Administration at no point swayed from its foreign policy
commitment of preventive diplomacy. Indeed, such economic assistance packages, conciliatory gestures, and political incentives are all included as non-‐coercive diplomatic
measures in Lund’s Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox.
In 2001, Mbeki wrote a document entitled How Will Zimbabwe Defeat Its Enemies? A
discussion document conveying his views on how he believed ZANU-‐PF should act under the circumstances the ruling party faced at the time (Mbeki 2001). The document was timeously circulated to the ANC in 2001 as the 2002 Zimbabwean elections approached.
This document was made more widely available in 2008 by New Agenda, 2 nd
(2008: 56-‐75) and served to enlighten the critics of the Mbeki Administration’s handling of the Zimbabwe crisis, some of whom went as far as to suggest that Mbeki in fact endorsed Mugabe’s authoritarian policies. The document is also valuable, therefore, in illustrating how Mbeki was bound by ANC and South African government foreign policy and, as an individual, would perhaps have responded differently to the situation in
Zimbabwe. Interestingly, it was in 2001, the same year as writing the document, that
Mbeki first acknowledged that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe. On the BBC’s Hard Talk programme Mbeki stated that South Africa could not afford a complete economic collapse in Zimbabwe and said, “We’ve got to find a way out of this crisis, it is critical
(BBC News, 6 August 2001).”
Through the document, Mbeki first truthfully acknowledges that Zimbabwe is
“confronted by a number of problems that require urgent solutions” (Mbeki 2001). In the discussion document Mbeki situates these problems in what he terms the Second
Phase of the National Democratic Revolution; the first phase being the independence struggle against white minority rule and the establishment of an independent democratic state; and the second phase referring to the many tasks ahead of newly democratic states, such as addressing poverty, building the economy, entrenching democracy, and securing its place in the region and the rest of the world (Mbeki 2001).
The goals of the second phase of the National Democratic Revolution parallel the goals of South Africa’s transformed foreign policy approach.
Throughout the document Mbeki analyzes the mistakes made by the ruling party in
Zimbabwe that include state corruption, an alienation of the masses from the system of governance, economic mismanagement, and the use of force against its people (Mbeki
2001). Although criticized in the media for failing to condemn the Zimbabwe government’s blatant disrespect for human rights and democracy, Mbeki writes that
Zimbabwe has become “an opponent of the democratic institutions of governance and democratic processes…for whose establishment many militants lay down their lives
(Mbeki 2001)”. Mbeki warns Mugabe that if these malpractices continue, the global response will only worsen (Mbeki 2001). Finally, the document reveals that Mbeki offered Zimbabwe a way out of its predicament, a way that is based on re-‐establishing the ruling party’s leadership by defending the fundamental interests of its citizens and rebuilding the collapsed relationships between Zimbabwe and the international community (Mbeki 2001). Ultimately, the document’s most significant worth is that it clearly demonstrates Mbeki’s informed view of the crisis in Zimbabwe and his genuine willingness to assist the ruling party of Zimbabwe to make changes for the benefit of the
Zimbabwean people, the region, and the reestablishment of a democratic and economically stable participant on the global stage; all of which adhere to the values of the African Renaissance and South Africa’s transformed foreign policy.
Despite Mbeki’s apparent personal good intentions and political will, as well as South
Africa’s conciliatory preventive policy, an escalation of the intrastate conflict nevertheless developed in the lead up to Zimbabwe’s presidential elections of March
2002. By this time, the ruling party in Zimbabwe had reorganized the state structures in such a way that compromised the independence of the judiciary, isolated alleged opposition supporters within the civil service, and allowed for the passing of repressive legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to
Information and the Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) (Raftopoulos 2009: 213-‐214).
These conditions combined with a rise in political violence against opposition supporters in the elections campaigning period, caused other multi-‐track players such as the EU to respond by imposing targeted sanctions on the ZANU-‐PF government in Zimbabwe.
Sanctions are also a tool of preventive diplomacy, which demonstrates the use of preventive diplomacy by multi-‐track actors. These particular sanctions included international travelling restrictions for Mugabe and 19 members of his cabinet, the freezing of the leadership’s assets in the EU, as well as a drastic cut in development aid
funding (BBC News, 18 February 2002).
The tight restrictions then placed on the European observer team by the Zimbabwe government rendered the observers ineffective and they were subsequently withdrawn.
In the meantime, the South African government relied on less punitive preventive diplomacy methods through participation in the multi-‐track SADC Parliamentary Forum and the South African Observer Mission (SAOM) elections observer teams. Within the first week of observation, the SAOM publicly condemned the violence witnessed by the team and pledged to “intensify their efforts…to construct democracy and enhance a culture of respect for human rights (South Africa DFA 2002a).” In its Statement on the
Imposition of Targeted Sanctions, Pretoria proclaimed their concern that this method will only compound the situation and asserted their commitment to assisting in the creation of “a climate conducive to free and fair elections (South Africa DFA 2002b).”
Pretoria evidently disagreed at this point with the more retributive form of preventive diplomacy being used by other multi-‐track actors. Although the South African
government was criticized for continuing to engage a less punitive preventive diplomacy approach, which was deemed ineffective, nevertheless, Pretoria was consistent in using preventive diplomacy methods in an effort to avert a further escalation of conflict in
Prior to the 2002 Zimbabwean election, the intrastate conflict in Zimbabwe attracted a parallel multi-‐track response. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
(CHOGM) convened in Coolum, Australia and discussed several proposals of Zimbabwe’s suspension from the organization. While Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada supported the suspension initiative, the South African government rallied the African membership to oppose the bid (Johnson 2009: 346). CHOGM agreed that a three-‐ member commission, which included Mbeki, John Howard of Australia and Olusegun
Obasanjo of Nigeria, would make the decision on behalf of the Commonwealth following their special observer mission of the 2002 elections. When Mugabe’s victory was announced, many in the international community regarded the results fraudulent.
The Norwegian mission, for example, reported that the poll lacked ‘integrity’ and ‘failed to meet the key broadly accepted criteria for elections’ (Hamill 2002: 35). The
Commonwealth observer mission openly stated that the conditions in Zimbabwe ‘did not adequately allow for a free expression of the will by the electors’ (Hamill 2002: 35).
According to the SADC Parliamentary team, the electoral process ‘could not be said to adequately comply with the norms and standards for elections in the SADC region’
(Hamill 2002: 35). Therefore, multi-‐track actors such as the EU, the Commonwealth and
SADC stuck to a more hardline preventive diplomacy approach regarding Zimbabwe and did not hesitate to condemn elections results they did not deem free and fair. There were a few noted members of South Africa’s observer team that challenged the SADC consensus, such as Brigalia Bam, chairperson of South Africa’s Independent Electoral
Commission, who did not agree that the elections could be declared free and fair (City
Press: 17 March 2002). However, overall South Africa’s preventive diplomacy approach remained nearly consistently conciliatory. Mbeki has been known to declare, “No diplomacy is loud” (Gumede 2007: 227). Pretoria appeared confident that this approach
would prove most effective when dealing with the ZANU-‐PF government.
The reports drawn by other elections observer teams left the Mbeki Administration in a very unusual predicament. As a member of the Commonwealth and SADC, both of
whose observer teams faulted Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections process, it was almost expected of South Africa to concur with these conclusions. However, in a further attempt to tread carefully in its preventive diplomacy relations with Zimbabwe’s ruling party, SAOM’s 50-‐person observer mission reported that although the elections consisted of certain faults such as “an environment that not only caused legislative uncertainty but also threatened the integrity of the electoral process (South Africa DFA
2002a)” or that “campaigning was characterized by polarization, tension and incidents of violence and intimidation (South Africa DFA 2002a)”, it was the mission’s conclusion that the elections be considered legitimate (South Africa DFA 2002c). Although selecting the tool of moral suasion through the observer report, South Africa’s preventive
diplomacy was in stark contrast with the preventive efforts of other multi-‐track actors.
Despite Mbeki’s fierce objections, the Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe from the organization for one year, to be revisited one year later in 2003, a decision that even garnered Obasanjo’s approval. At this point in the conflict, for some analysts it was difficult to make sense of South Africa’s interpretation of preventive diplomacy.
However, after publicly announcing that ZANU-‐PF and the MDC were engaged in talks behind the scenes, there was a sign of hope that the South African government’s preventive diplomacy policy was indeed working (Gumede 2007: 230). In fact, Pretoria began brokering secret negotiations between the two disputing parties in Zimbabwe from 2002 with the aim of setting an agenda for formal negotiations as well as reaching a settlement on a new constitution (International Crisis Group 2007a: 12 and Gumede
2007: 235). The Mbeki Administration was committed to a quiet, less aggressive preventive diplomacy policy with the aim to use its unique political and economic leverage to persuade Mugabe to work with the MDC and return Zimbabwe to a peaceful
and democratic state. Unfortunately for South Africa, Mugabe was not taking the bait.
One year later, leading up to the 2003 CHOGM, a public statement by South African
Foreign Minister, Dlamini-‐Zuma enticed international media when she announced that
South Africa would “never” condemn its Zimbabwean counterpart, not “as long as this government is in power” (BBC News, 5 March 2003). The publicity around the statement did little to convince a growing disapproving public that South Africa’s foreign policy surrounding Zimbabwe was the most appropriate approach. This was not the first time that the Foreign Minister’s public statements served to undermine the process of the
Mbeki Administration. However, as Landsberg explains, even after such a statement is made, “Pretoria chose a strategy of quiet or gentle persuasion, engaging the Mugabe government behind the scenes through diplomatic means and mediation and seeking to move it onto a path of negotiated settlement with the opposition MDC (Landsberg
2010: 158).” According to Gumede (2007: 230), “the ANC would want to see ZANU-‐PF and the MDC sharing power, at least in the short term. The concept is not unlike the government of national unity that ruled South Africa in the immediate post-‐apartheid period, but Mbeki would want such a structure to exclude Mugabe and be led by someone new and moderate.” As noted previously in this chapter, South Africans owned their unique transition process and this concept would inform Pretoria’s vision for Zimbabwe’s own process of transition. The South African foreign policy of preventive diplomacy was slow to show progress and was conducted for the most part behind closed doors, but nonetheless it was a carefully calculated approach and the Mbeki
Administration was confident that their interpretation of preventive diplomacy would
be the policy most successful in finding a lasting solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.
CHOGM assembled again to discuss Zimbabwe’s re-‐admittance in March 2003, however the continuing deterioration of the state indicated that the ruling party had not met any of the Commonwealth’s conditions for re-‐admittance, such as the reinstatement of human rights and democracy. Independently of the Commonwealth Australia and New
Zealand had imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe by this time (Johnson 2009: 352). John
Howard proposed to the other troika members that a further extension of Zimbabwe’s suspension until the next year’s CHOGM be implemented (Johnson 2009: 353).
According to Johnson (2009, 353), Mbeki presumed that if he, as an active troika
member, did not attend the Commonwealth meeting, the organization could not move on Howard’s proposal. However, after receiving a presentation that outlined Mugabe’s human rights atrocities and the violence implicit in the land reform programme, the
Commonwealth agreed to suspend Zimbabwe for another year in Mbeki’s absence.
Mbeki’s preferred policy approach was thus defeated twice at a multi-‐lateral level, which resulted in a damaged South African international reputation and Mbeki losing his leverage to push forward his Nepad proposal, one of his African Renaissance-‐inspired plans for the continent. However, the South African government remained steadfast in its preventive diplomacy policy decision, refusing to make use of other more hard-‐ hitting preventive diplomacy tools as found in Lund’s (1996: 204) toolbox, such as
economic and diplomatic sanctions.
As discussed in Chapter Two, the key to a successful preventive diplomacy approach, according to Lund (1996: 79), is that no sole intervention tool dominates and it is rather the employment of a wide variety of preventive instruments consisting of rewards, penalties, and assistance that leads to success. At this point, however, the Mbeki
Administration clung to already tried and tested tactics in its attempts to avert further degeneration of Zimbabwe’s economic and political spheres. For example, Pretoria proposed further economic assistance in offering its counterpart with a substantial line of credit amounting to R6.6 billion to help reduce its foreign debt and thus make funds available for the purchase of essential supplies such as medicine, fuel and fertilizers if certain conditions were met (Landsberg 2010: 158). Mugabe refused to comply with the agreement. Similarly, South Africa used its non-‐permanent member seat on the UN
Security Council to block a vote to condemn the human rights violations in Zimbabwe on the premise that the Zimbabwean government had assured it would ease its most
draconian laws (Johnson 2009: 355).
The US launched the Iraq war in 2003. This aggressive military policy presented a greater threat to the plans of the Mbeki Administration and Mugabe’s grip on power. The war
denoted that if the countries of the “North” showed enough political will to enforce regime change in Zimbabwe, a western-‐led military intervention was possible (Johnson
2009: 355). With motivation to apprehend such a scenario and resolve the conflict in
Zimbabwe through South African-‐led preventive diplomacy, Mbeki tried once more to reverse the Commonwealth’s suspension of Zimbabwe. He publicly pledged to bring the two feuding political parties back to the negotiating table by his own June 2004 deadline
(Mangwende, 22 January 2004), however this day passed to no avail. Mbeki’s multi-‐ lateral efforts failed once more to convince his counterparts in the Commonwealth against suspension, and while CHOGM was in progress Mugabe took matters into his own hands and voluntarily removed his country from the Commonwealth.
Mbeki was re-‐elected for a second term of office in April 2004 and by 2005, South
Africa’s foreign policy of preventive diplomacy toward Zimbabwe had achieved little success. The mistake lay in the insistence on only engaging soft preventive tools and repeating those methods even after they proved ineffective. 2005 was another election year for Zimbabwe and both political and economic conditions reached an all-‐time low, pushing the parameters of the conflict stage of unstable peace and threatening a shift to a stage of crisis. According to Gumede (2007: 231), it was at this point that Mbeki finally altered his initial reluctance toward the MDC, as it was becoming clear that his investment in Mugabe was running dry, and thus persuaded Morgan Tsvangirai to run in the 2005 elections after the MDC in August 2004 had announced that it would abstain from the race. This was also the instance when Mbeki publicly acknowledged that ‘quiet diplomacy’ was no longer generating the projected results. In July 2004, Mbeki publicly stated that his policy had so far failed to resolve Zimbabwe’s political crisis, however, he would “press on with his [preventive] diplomatic efforts in Zimbabwe despite fierce criticism, because he still believed there was no alternative to dialogue (The Star: 2 July
2004).” The 2005 parliamentary elections thus had the potential of being a defining moment for a new democratic disposition for Zimbabwe and a final triumph for the many preventive diplomacy efforts on the part of the South African government.
Unfortunately, this much desired end to the conflict in Zimbabwe did not materialize and with a green light from the South African Observer Mission, ZANU-‐PF came out on top of yet another national election. This left the Mbeki Administration and its policy of preventive diplomacy back at square one.
Immediately following the elections a split occurred within the internal structures of the
MDC party, which was triggered by an argument over whether or not the MDC should participate in elections for the Senate, and Tsvangirai’s inability to convince the MDC’s
National Executive Committee on the issue. The dispute gave rise to a new MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube (later to be led by Aurthur Mutambara). The split weakened the
Without a strong opposition, Mugabe launched another campaign of terror, which is known as Operation Murambatsvina, loosely translated from the Shona language as
‘clean out the trash’. The process was motivated by a desire to decrease the number of urban poor and was based on “an assumption that those pushed out of the urban areas could ‘return’ to homes in the rural areas, but by 2001 half of them were urban-‐born and did not have a rural home to return to (Raftopoulos 2009: 221).” The
Murambatsvina programme, which was denounced worldwide, resulted in over 90,000 housing structures being demolished, which directly affected over 133,000 households and left over 500,000 people homeless (Tibaijuka 2005: 32). The effects of this policy of destruction combined with an historical backdrop of large payouts to the war veterans and a failed land reform process caused Zimbabwe’s economic and political conditions to spiral rapidly out of control. This pushed the conflict close to a stage of crisis, which according to Lund (1996: 41) is not the most ideal stage for preventive diplomacy to succeed. By 2006, Zimbabwe’s GDP per capita fell 47 per cent lower than it had been at independence (Raftopoulos 2009: 219). Formal-‐sector employment dropped from 1.4 million in 1998 to 998,000 in 2004 and an estimated 85 per cent of all Zimbabweans were living below the Poverty Datum Line by 2006 (Raftopoulos 2009: 219-‐220). The
crisis, as predicted, spilled into neighbouring countries in the region and South Africa was most affected not only by the Zimbabwean government’s failure to repay its massive debts, but also by way of the influx of economic migrants and political asylum seekers searching for refuge within South African borders.
The South African government’s attempts to prevent the Zimbabwe conflict from escalating from a stage of unstable peace to that of crisis had unmistakably failed. Until the SADC mandate of 2007, the South African government slowly disengaged itself from further preventive diplomacy attempts. Public statements made by South African foreign affairs official and the president himself tended to center around a new policy that supported Zimbabweans finding solutions to Zimbabwean problems. It appeared as if the Mbeki Administration had lost hope in its preventive diplomacy strategy.
In March 2007, in the streets of the Highfield suburb of Zimbabwe’s capital city, a prayer service was violently interrupted by the police. The MDC top leadership, including
Tsvangirai, leaders of civil society groups, and fifty other people who were in attendance were arrested and subsequently ruthlessly beaten and some tortured (Raftopoulos
2009: 227). The violence of March 2011 served as a serious warning signal that resonated across the country, the region, and internationally. The event sparked a reaction from the media and members of the international community who raised serious concerns of a possible escalation of the conflict from beyond a stage of crisis.
This shocking display of repression of the opposition and the incessant impunity enjoyed by the ruling ZANU-‐PF party can be seen as a final straw for the patience of the international donor community in dealing with political violence in Zimbabwe and provided the necessary incentive for SADC to make a more serious commitment to preventing a furthering of the crisis in its troublesome member country. Within weeks of the violent outbreak in the streets of Harare, an Extraordinary Summit of SADC convened in Tanzania on 29 March and mandated South African President Thabo Mbeki to facilitate an official dialogue between the disputing political parties of Zimbabwe
(Raftopoulos 2009: 227). Finally, the regional body took a proactive stance and initiated a regionally supported and monitored method of intervention in order to once and for all halt the escalation of violence and cultivate the required conditions for peaceful and credible elections that would ultimately lead Zimbabwe toward a period of transition.
Between the years of 2000 and 2007, the conflict in Zimbabwe, spearheaded by the ruling ZANU-‐PF party, steadily deteriorated from a point of unstable peace to crisis, leaving the country in March 2007 on an arguable brink of civil war. It was a conflict that necessitated the attention of its neighbours in the region, the continent, and the international community. If left to its own devices Zimbabwe may have experienced a more rapid descent to a failed state ranking. Having gained significant experience in the realm of conflict prevention, peace making, and conflict resolution through the 1990s, the post-‐apartheid South African government was best situated to play an instrumental
role in the prevention of conflict in Zimbabwe.
As has been highlighted in this chapter, South Africa emerged in the 1990s from an autocratic, apartheid state to a vibrant, young democracy that quickly became a strong leader on the African continent and an important player on the international stage.
During the Mandela presidency, the South African government carefully crafted a transition period for the country and within this transition process South Africa’s foreign policy was transformed. The new South African foreign policy was based on human rights and democratic principles, and the promotion of African interests in world affairs.
Most importantly for the purposes of this dissertation, South African foreign policy shifted during this time from a response-‐based strategy to a policy of preventive diplomacy in order to circumvent an escalation in conflicts within the SADC region and across the continent. The change in policy was motivated first by the new
democratically elected government’s desire to mold a new national identity and second, by the aim to present a reformed version of the country that would be accepted and
respected within the region and around the globe.
The Mbeki Administration furthered South Africa’s foreign policy transformation through its leader’s personal aspirations of establishing South Africa as the frontrunner of the African Renaissance and solidifying South Africa’s leadership role in multi-‐lateral organizations representing the SADC region, the African continent, and the rest of the developing world. As the South African government equipped itself with a new strategy in foreign policy, it managed to test its new policy of preventive diplomacy in mediating conflict situations in countries such as Burundi, the DRC, and Nigeria. However, no other country would try to test the limits of South Africa’s preventive diplomacy than that of
It was critical that this chapter begin by discussing South Africa’s foreign policy transformation and the motivations and aspirations driving the new approach to the young democracy’s international relations. Through the examination of the restructuring of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the President, the new emphasis placed on preventive diplomacy, and the inspiration of the African
Renaissance and the principle of solidarity, the first half of this chapter aimed to prepare for the more focused discussion of South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe under
the Mbeki Administration.
The second half of the chapter examined the various preventive diplomacy steps taken by South Africa in its foreign policy toward Zimbabwe between the years of 2000 and
2007. The chapter followed such interventions as Zimbabwe’s 2000 elections through to the disastrous consequences of ZANU-‐PF’s Operation Murambatsvina in 2005. By 2007, the conditions on the ground in Zimbabwe made it blatantly clear that South Africa’s attempts to prevent an escalation of the crisis and resolve the conflict in Zimbabwe
were failing. With the state-‐sponsored police brutality hurled upon opposition and civil society leaders at Highfield in March 2007 and gruesome images of MDC party president
Morgan Tsvangirai’s body badly beaten across the international media, it sparked the need for pertinent policy makers to alter their strategy in approaching the Zimbabwe crisis. Shortly after the Highfield incident, the SADC heads of state assembled and concluded that the best way forward in ending the political conflict in Zimbabwe was to engage sincere mediation efforts. SADC appointed South Africa and its President Thabo
Mbeki as the chief mediator in this process that would be strictly monitored by the regional body. The fifth chapter will pick up where this chapter has left off and will examine the role of preventive diplomacy in South Africa’s new, SADC-‐mandated foreign
policy between the years of 2007 and 2009.
A Necessary Shift: Examining the role of preventive diplomacy in South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe as SADC facilitator, 2007-‐2009
In order to comprehensively examine the role of preventive diplomacy in South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe a theoretical framework forming the basis of the study was first presented and explained. This was followed by a compulsory review of the historical background of the conflict in Zimbabwe and the historical development of
South Africa-‐Zimbabwe relations. The previous chapter began by analyzing the transformation and expansion of South Africa’s post-‐apartheid foreign policy, while highlighting the new policy objectives and the different motivations driving the transformed strategy. It then placed South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe within a preventive diplomacy context. At certain points of the fourth chapter, succinct comparisons were featured between South Africa’s softly-‐softly preventive diplomacy approach and the more hard-‐hitting prevention efforts of other actors such as the EU and the Commonwealth.
The South African preventive diplomacy approach between 2000 and 2007 did not produce the results the Mbeki Administration anticipated. Mbeki believed that through
South Africa’s perceived economic and political leverage South Africa was best positioned, of all the actors involved, to prevent an escalation of the conflict and return
Zimbabwe to a state in which democratic standards are upheld and human rights and the rule of law are respected. However, Mbeki further believed that in order for South
Africa’s unique leverage to remain effective, the South African government had to maintain access to the ruling party in Zimbabwe. Therefore, the South African approach
to its preventive diplomacy policy was quieter in nature as compared to the loud, public condemnation that has been demonstrated by the EU, the United States and the
Commonwealth. South Africa’s preventive diplomacy approach consisted of behind-‐the-‐ scenes mediation that first acknowledged the past solidarity shown to the ANC by the ruling ZANU-‐PF party during apartheid, and secondly that deliberately never publicly criticized the ZANU-‐PF leadership so as to preserve amicable relations necessary for the
continuation of a mediation process.
The aggressive approach to preventive diplomacy of primarily Western nations, which included targeted sanctions on members of the ZANU-‐PF leadership, and the preventive diplomacy approach taken by South Africa were both observed in the previous chapter.
However, by 2007 neither approach garnered the desired success and Zimbabwe’s intrastate conflict continued to rapidly deteriorate. This chapter will examine South
Africa’s renewed preventive diplomacy approach as mandated by SADC from March
2007 to September 2009, which focused primarily on dialogue between the disputing parties through mediation. The chapter will begin with an overview of the SADC regional response through a preventive diplomacy lens. It is important to discern the way in which SADC employed various instruments of preventive diplomacy in the years leading up to the 2007 mandate. The chapter will then explain why March 2007 necessitated a shift in policy from the region and will focus specifically on the preventive diplomacy efforts and achievements in the period between March 2007 and March 2008. An assessment of the role of SADC through Zimbabwe’s March 2008 presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections and the June 2008 run-‐off will also be highlighted. Finally, the chapter will conclude by discussing the culminating event of
SADC and South Africa’s preventive diplomacy efforts and explain why the signing of the
Global Political Agreement marked the point at which the approach to the conflict in
Zimbabwe shifted from preventive diplomacy to conflict management and conflict
5.2 A Regional Response: Examining the role of preventive diplomacy in the SADC intervention in Zimbabwe’s decade of decline
SADC has employed a preventive diplomacy policy toward the conflict in Zimbabwe that has mirrored South Africa’s approach through the first six years of the crisis. While SADC is a regional body consisting of 13 member states, South Africa is by far the largest and most influential member and therefore SADC, to a large extent, tends to follow South
Africa’s lead. According to Schoeman and Alden (2003: 12), SADC has reiterated South
Africa’s strategy of “good neighbourliness…where the diplomacy of solidarity has largely determined the region’s policy toward Zimbabwe.” They further state, “The SADC region has followed the classical African example vis-‐à-‐vis Zimbabwe of refusing to criticize
Mugabe openly, insisting that its problems were internal and should be addressed by
‘the people of Zimbabwe’ (Schoeman & Alden 2003: 12).” SADC’s traditional viewpoint was also challenged by the growing reality, through the rise of the MDC, that the next elections in Zimbabwe could result in the region’s first political defeat of a liberation movement (CMI Brief 2010: 2). However, as a regional body made up of 13 member states, SADC is bound to experience division and differing opinions on how to approach a situation such as the crisis in Zimbabwe. We will explore the implications that such a
division had on preventive diplomacy actions later in the chapter.
As mentioned in Chapter Four, SADC was involved as early as Zimbabwe’s 2000 parliamentary elections through its SADC Parliamentary Forum observation team. The act of initiating fact-‐finding missions, observation teams and on-‐site monitoring of human rights abuses or instances of violence fall under Lund’s (1996: 204) noncoercive diplomatic measures and are considered tools of preventive diplomacy. Election monitoring is also a preventive diplomacy tool representing a development and governance approach more generally and the promulgation and enforcement of human rights, democracy, and other standards, more specifically (Lund 1996: 205). SADC’s participation in Zimbabwe’s 2000 elections similarly fulfills Rupesinghe’s concept of
multi-‐track diplomacy, which expands from the traditional Track One, Track Two diplomacy (government-‐to-‐government interaction), and includes the efforts of regional and international organizations among various other actors (Rupesinghe 1997). While
Zimbabwe’s 1980 elections under the temporary rule of the United Kingdom featured international observers, the 2000 elections were the first in Zimbabwe’s independent history where election observers sent by foreign governments and agencies were present (Laakso 2002: 438). The political and economic tensions in the southern African country by this time had escalated to a point that caused concern for the SADC regional
As an organization, it is implicit that SADC underwent a similar deliberate process of policymaking and implementation as described by Lund (1996: 107-‐167). The escalating crisis in Zimbabwe was first identified by SADC as a conflict that could turn violent.
Secondly, the crisis was a decided priority that warranted a response from SADC.
Thirdly, SADC devised effective interventions and considered the timing as important for its preventive diplomacy action, evident by its establishment of an observing presence at the 2000 elections. Fourthly, SADC mobilized the necessary will and resources to form its SADC Parliamentary Forum observer team, which had the previous experience of monitoring both Namibia and Mozambique’s elections in 1999 (SADC Parliamentary
Forum 2005). Finally, although not specifically organized by the regional body, SADC was inherently part of a network of international actors involved in a system of preventive
The impact of SADC’s preventive diplomacy approach on the future of the conflict in this instance was not substantial. It managed to achieve comparable results to South Africa’s intervention, which we recall was determined a moderate success as the elections process in Zimbabwe in 2000 concluded in relative peace with no definite worsening of the conflict. The conclusions drawn by the delegation of the region’s parliamentarians were the least critical of all observer teams and contrasted with the public admonitions
of the EU (Laakso 2002: 457). According to the SADC Electoral Forum 2000 report on the elections, the organization resolved that the results reflected the will of the people of
Zimbabwe and although acknowledging the death of thirty citizens, the administration of the elections was transparent, credible and well managed (Laakso 2002: 457). SADC credited the presence of observers to the decrease in political intimidation and went so far as to declare that the atmosphere of the 2000 Zimbabwe elections a model example that could be replicated in all SADC countries during times of elections (Laakso 2002:
457). Nevertheless, SADC actively employed a policy of preventive diplomacy early on in
the Zimbabwe crisis.
SADC continued its preventive diplomacy policy toward Zimbabwe in the country’s
March 2002 Presidential elections. The conditions surrounding the 2002 Zimbabwe elections had worsened from the political intimidation characteristic of the vote in 2000.
The ZANU-‐PF government had since strengthened their grip on power and maintained strict control over the country’s state institutions. Repressive laws such as POSA and
AIPPA were instated to crush the growing political opposition of the MDC and political violence was on the rise. As discussed in the previous chapter, other multi-‐track actors responded to the deteriorating Zimbabwe situation with new preventive diplomacy instruments. The EU, for example, imposed targeted sanctions on the top ZANU-‐PF leadership and the Commonwealth convened to discuss Zimbabwe’s suspension from the group. According to Lund (1996: 85-‐86), one of the factors that can lead to an effective and successful preventive diplomacy intervention is a multifaceted approach, where third parties act in coordination with other relevant actors and make use of several varied instruments in their efforts. Therefore, it can be understood that international actors, such as the EU and the Commonwealth, began their intervention in
Zimbabwe with a soft approach using tools such as moral suasion and on-‐site monitoring. When this method failed to produce the preferred results international actors shifted their policy to include more hard-‐hitting instruments of preventive diplomacy, just as Lund suggests through his theoretical framework.
SADC, however, like South Africa, decided to maintain its softly-‐softly method to the situation in Zimbabwe. Once again, SADC commissioned its Parliamentary Forum observation team to monitor the 2002 elections. The deteriorating conditions, however, were difficult to ignore. Unlike South Africa, SADC’s report on the 2002 electoral process reflected a very different assessment than its conclusions drawn in 2000. This time, as cited in the previous chapter, SADC reported that Zimbabwe’s elections “could not be said to adequately comply with the norms and standards for elections in the SADC region…[and] did not adequately allow for a free expression of the will by the electors
(Hamill 2002: 35).” Although keeping with a soft and quieter approach than their international counterparts, SADC did demonstrate its implementation of new preventive diplomacy tools.
Through its participation in the 2002 elections, SADC employed a combination of on-‐site monitoring, election monitoring, international appeal and moral suasion, all of which are outlined in Lund’s (1996: 204) Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox. SADC’s public report on the elections is a tool that similarly falls under Lund’s (1996: 204) Coercive
Diplomatic Measures of moral sanctions, which is described as condemnations of violations of international law, or in this case regional norms and standards. SADC broadened their preventive diplomacy efforts further during a SADC Summit in Luanda,
Angola in October of the same year. During the Summit the SADC heads of state decided to remove Zimbabwe as the deputy chair of the Summit, and would instead grant
Tanzania the coveted position (Schoeman and Alden 2003: 13). Analysts applauded this resolution by SADC, which sent a clear message to Mugabe that he was not considered fit to head the organization unless he respects the peace, security and democratic values of the region (Schoeman & Alden 2003: 13). This preventive diplomacy action also falls under Lund’s (1999, 204) Coercive Diplomatic Measures as diplomatic sanctions, which are described as the withholding of diplomatic relations or membership in multilateral organizations. While not as aggressive as the shift in policy
of other actors such as the EU or the Commonwealth, SADC did make use of varied instruments in its preventive diplomacy approach toward Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe entered its parliamentary elections in March 2005 in an even further deteriorated political, economic and social environment than any other election to date.
SADC was prepared with its preventive diplomacy plan well ahead of the voting date. By
2005, the SADC Parliamentary Forum had observed 13 elections in 10 countries since
1999, including the 2000 and 2002 elections in Zimbabwe (SADC Parliamentary Forum
2005). In anticipation of an invitation from the Zimbabwean government, SADC efficiently assembled an observation team of 36 members of parliament and 26 technical and support staff from across the continent (SADC Parliamentary Forum 2005).
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Ministry of Foreign
Affairs sent invitations to 45 local and foreign observers only one month before the polling date (ZESN 2005: 4). According to point 7.10 of the SADC Principles and
Guidelines for Democratic Elections adopted in 2004, invitations to observer missions should be issued 90 days before the voting day in order to allow the time for adequate
preparation (SADC 2004).
In addition to this regional standard violation, the government of Zimbabwe did not issue an invitation to the SADC Parliamentary Forum. SADC, therefore, was unable to carry out its preventive diplomacy policy during these critical elections in its member state. In response to being denied access, the SADC Parliamentary Forum released a statement expressing its “deep regret” over the situation and stated that the Forum
“has NOT been invited in its own right as an autonomous institution of SADC, which is a fundamental departure from the established practice by SADC countries (SADC
Parliamentary Forum 2005).” It is evident that the message sent by SADC in 2002 resonated with the ZANU-‐PF leadership and therefore in making this bold statement
Mugabe delivered his own message to the regional body: if SADC resolves to challenge the policies of the government and overtly question the credibility of elections results,
then the body is no longer welcome to monitor elections in Zimbabwe. SADC’s role in preventive diplomacy is further illustrated through the passing of the electoral regulations in Mauritius in August 2004 that gave the MDC and democrats in general some faith in the elections process. SADC’s preventive diplomacy cannot be deemed a success at this point, especially considering the escalation of the conflict with the government-‐sponsored violent action of Operation Murambatsvina following the 2005 elections, which was discussed in Chapter Four. However, the selection of the coercive diplomatic measures of diplomatic and moral sanctions by SADC was undoubtedly effective in adding to the pressure on the government of Zimbabwe as well as revealing
SADC’s intolerance of violations of its standards and norms.
In 2005, the government of Zimbabwe blatantly vetted its election observers in order to maintain a semblance of credibility. This therefore required SADC to alter its preventive diplomacy strategy. At the August 2006 SADC Summit in Lesotho, SADC appointed a troika comprising the states of Tanzania (the then head of SADC’s Organ on Politics,
Defence and Security Cooperation), Lesotho, and Namibia with the aim of resolving the
Zimbabwe crisis (International Crisis Group 2007a: 14). The decision demonstrated
SADC’s versatility and willingness to use a variety of preventive diplomacy tools in its attempt to avert an escalation of the conflict. The decision also satisfies Lund’s (1996:
152) principle that “preventive diplomacy is not simply a moral campaign but a pragmatic enterprise.” The establishment of a troika with the exclusive objective to find a solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe is a recognized preventive diplomacy instrument and falls under Lund’s (1996: 204) noncoercive diplomatic measures as third-‐party
diplomatic consultations and third-‐party mediation. By early March 2007 SADC had yet to specify the details on how the troika would operate (International Crisis Group
2007a: 14), but the eruption of violence in Highfield suburb, located south west of the capital, on March 11 pushed SADC to solidify its preventive diplomacy strategy.
The events of March 2007 in Harare necessitated quick and decisive action from the region. It was clear that politically motivated violence was on the rise in Zimbabwe.
Earlier in the year in February, police raided the launch of the MDC-‐T presidential campaign in the capital city and left three people allegedly killed (International Crisis
Group 2007a: 3). In the same week a rally led by the MDC-‐M party was banned, as were all rallies and protests for the next three months (International Crisis Group 2007a: 3).
The violent crackdown in Highfield of the opposition and civil society’s peaceful gathering could not be ignored. Zimbabweans were now experiencing their seventh year of life in a severe political and economic crisis, and despite the region and South Africa’s attempts to reverse the devastating effects of the crisis through a foreign policy of
preventive diplomacy there was still no sign of relief or an end to the conflict.
The combination of a dire economic situation and the violent suppression of political dissent caused a mass influx of refugees in the southern African region. Some estimates indicate that as many as 3 million people fled the country, which is a quarter of
Zimbabwe’s population (Médecins Sans Frontières: 2009). The SADC regional body was not prepared to stand by and allow one of its member states to collapse, risking not only the security of its own citizens but also the security and the stability of the region. It therefore intervened at this pivotal moment in March 2007 through the appointment of
South Africa and President Thabo Mbeki as chief facilitator of a formalized mediation process. This intervention can be seen as an extension of South Africa’s preventive
diplomacy policy, however, placed within a regional mandate and context.
5.3 A Mandated Mbeki: The SADC-‐led Zimbabwe mediation process, March 2007 to
It may have taken nearly seven years, but in March 2007 SADC finally took an assertive and united stance toward the crisis in Zimbabwe. The decision not only transformed
SADC’s preventive diplomacy approach but it also enhanced the South African
government’s foreign policy. The mediation process that Mbeki had been quietly facilitating behind closed doors since 2002 was made official by the regional mandate.
Mbeki was thus given a second chance to prove his skills as a mediator of international conflicts and make a successful resolution to the intrastate conflict in Zimbabwe a significant part of his legacy. The more hardline preventive diplomacy approach taken by the West had failed to produce free and fair elections and a peaceful transition. At the same time and as discussed in the previous chapter, before the SADC directive, the
Mbeki Administration appeared to be losing confidence in its preventive diplomacy attempts and instead encouraged an internal resolution to Zimbabwe’s intrastate conflict. However, the March 2007 SADC mandate brought renewed hope to a waning
preventive diplomacy policy of mediation between the disputing parties in Zimbabwe.
SADC had long struggled with divisions among its member states regarding its stance on
Zimbabwe, which is why the March 2007 mandate should be acknowledged as a positive step forward for the regional body. One cause of disagreement among the SADC heads of state stems from the fact that several national governments in the region are in fact guilty of violating the SADC body’s democratic and human rights standards
(International Crisis Group: 2007b). It is therefore problematic to overtly criticize the
ZANU-‐PF government, when you are also deserving of the same criticism.
Another cause of division among the regional body stems from historical ties. Angola and Namibia are traditional allies of Zimbabwe and when holding leadership positions in
SADC structures, Mugabe was able to rely on their support. For example, while SADC effectively removed Zimbabwe from its position as deputy chair of the Summit in
October 2002 in Luanda, it was at the same conference that the Summit chair, Angolan
President Dos Santos, openly demonstrated pan-‐Africanist solidarity and confirmed on behalf of the organization his opposition to Western imposed sanctions (Schoeman &
Alden 2003: 13). The Luanda Summit revealed that a movement within SADC was emerging that was prepared to take a more hard-‐hitting stance against its troublesome
member state. Other member states, such as Angola and Namibia, opposed this approach and were reluctant to censure one of the region’s liberation movements.
Therefore, the 2002 SADC Summit’s concluding message was mixed. SADC was able to reprimand a member state within its internal structures but remained firmly against any external interference. There was a clear disagreement over the type of preventive diplomacy tools to use in SADC’s collective approach toward Zimbabwe. Later in the chapter we will observe that as the conflict progressed, the divisions within SADC became more apparent, namely from positions taken by the leadership of Tanzania,
Zambia and Botswana.
Considering the many challenges facing the regional body, such as internal divisions,
SADC’s latest united and decisive stance became the last viable option for a regionally led resolution to the conflict in Zimbabwe. The decision was received with diverse reactions. The resolution fell short of the actions advocated by the United States, which called on SADC to hold Mugabe accountable for his years of misrule (BBC News, 28
March 2007). Nevertheless, the necessary shift in policy was announced on March 29 in an Extraordinary SADC Summit in Dar-‐es-‐Salaam, Tanzania, which was assembled to discuss the political, economic and security situation of the region, with special focus on
Lesotho, the DRC, and Zimbabwe (SADC Communiqué March 2007).
SADC announced its appointment of Mbeki as chief facilitator responsible for brokering a political settlement between Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-‐PF party and the two MDC factions (SADC Communiqué March 2007). The primary objectives of the mediation process were threefold and consisted firstly of an agreement from the three parties that in 2008 harmonized presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections would be held; secondly, to reach an agreement on the specific tasks that upon completion would guarantee that the elections were credible and representative of the will of the
Zimbabwean people; and thirdly, the commitment by all parties to implement the necessary measures that would create a climate conducive to such credibility
(Raftopoulos, 19 March 2008). Mbeki faced a daunting task but he willingly accepted the position and did not stall in arranging the first meeting between Zimbabwe’s disputing
The SADC mandated mediation initiative is a practical example of Lund’s theory of preventive diplomacy. Following the March 11 violence, the SADC regional body decided that it wanted to implement a more deliberate, informed, and coherent preventive diplomacy approach toward Zimbabwe and in doing so addressed the required policymaking issues as outlined by Lund (1996: 107-‐108). SADC assessed the deteriorating situation of Zimbabwe and determined it was a conflict that warranted a response. The necessary will and resources were then mobilized through the summoning of an Extraordinary SADC Summit in March 2007. SADC then devised what it considered an effective intervention by appointing Mbeki as the SADC mediator. Finally, the regional body planned to organize an ongoing, coordinated system for its preventive diplomacy first by mandating Mbeki to report back on the progress of the dialogue to the SADC troika and secondly by encouraging “enhanced diplomatic contacts which will assist with the resolution of the situation in Zimbabwe (SADC Communiqué 2007)”. Each of these steps is critical to the policymaking and implementation process as defined by
Lund (1996: 108).
Lund (1996: 185) further defines this type of regional invention as the “second level of prevention”. The second level of prevention is implemented when the first level, or the local arena, fails to produce a solution to the dispute. He states, “Where disputants within a state are unable to handle their own disputes or national institutions are a source of the problem, responsibility for prevention must shift to the regional arena
(1996: 185).” This directly applies to the case of Zimbabwe, where disputing political parties were unable to resolve their internal power struggle and where the ruling party used its power to politicize and control state institutions so that they could no longer function independently. Lund (1996: 185) further states “[Regional multilateral
organizations] can and should play a more active role not only in strengthening regional interstate security but also in the peaceful resolution of ethnic and other internal political conflicts within member states.” SADC exercised a second level of prevention in its participation as observers in Zimbabwe’s 2000 elections; however, the regional body
played a more prominent role between 2007-‐2009.
As an example of a preventive diplomacy approach, the SADC mediation process must not be confused with crisis or conflict management. Lund (1996: 41-‐44) distinguishes between three distinct actions taken toward conflicts: peacetime relations, preventive diplomacy and crisis management or war diplomacy. According to Lund (1996: 43), during peacetime the chances of violence are low to remote and the objective of peacetime relations are to conduct normal, ongoing affairs of the state and maintain and strengthen stable relations and institutions. Preventive diplomacy is employed when the intensity of conflict is moderate and the chance of widespread violence is possible to probable (Lund 1996: 43). The goal of preventive diplomacy in this environment is to carry out policies that create processes to reduce tensions, resolve disputes, defuse conflicts and head off crises (Lund 1996: 43). However, crisis or conflict management is required to contain crises, end wars, and enforce cease-‐fires as a response to a high level of violence and conflict intensity (Lund 1996: 43). Therefore, due to the scope of the political crisis and the level of violence, the conflict in Zimbabwe in March 2007 can be considered a situation requiring a preventive diplomacy response.
The mediation, according to some analysts, was believed to have gotten off to a reasonably good start as Mbeki succeeded bringing the disputing parties together for
“the first face-‐to-‐face substantive dialogue in four years (International Crisis Group
2007b: 14)”. The MDC expectations for the dialogue outcome included fundamental democratic reforms that would lead to free and fair elections the following year, such as electoral reforms; independent, transparent management of elections; repeal of the
POSA and AIPPA laws; ensuring all citizens, including those in the diaspora, can vote;
restoration of the right of political parties to hold peaceful rallies; a new voters roll; and preventing political abuse by the military (International Crisis Group 2007b: 14). ZANU-‐
PF brought different demands to the table. According to the International Crisis Group
(2007b: 14), “In defiance of South African and MDC efforts to focus on constitutional reform and elections, ZANU-‐PF wants to concentrate on land issues and sanctions.” As
SADC mediator, Mbeki had the difficult task of addressing the divergent demands of the parties, while keeping all participants involved in the negotiations. He did, however, remain focused on the ultimate goal of creating the conditions necessary for free and
fair elections in 2008 (Mail & Guardian, 15 April 2007).
Over the course of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, the SADC mediation process suffered numerous challenges and setbacks that were caused by the perpetuation of
ZANU-‐PF’s higher authority over the two opposition parties (International Crisis Group
2007b: 15). This power imbalance classifies Zimbabwe’s intrastate conflict as asymmetric. We recall from Chapter Two that asymmetric conflicts occur in situations of unbalanced power between dissimilar parties, such as a majority and a minority. In asymmetric conflicts the existing structure assists the party in power to always win a dispute and the disadvantaged party to always lose. In order to resolve this type of conflict, the structure must be changed, but not in the favour of the party in power
(Miall, Ramsbotham, & Woodhouse 1999: 12). For example, just as Mbeki succeeded in establishing an agenda comprised of the demands from all sides to the conflict, ZANU-‐PF refused to attend the follow up talks scheduled for July 7, 2007, stating that the party preferred the current constitution that “served the nation well” (International Crisis
Group 2007b: 15). Mbeki was not able to change the structure of the conflict, which included the reform of state institutions and the adoption of a new constitution that confronted the structural issue of state executive powers. He bypassed these critical issues in order to resume the mediation process. The mediation continued but made
slow and minimal progress and continued to favour the more dominant party.
In addition to the failure of addressing the structural issues of the conflict, another risk to the success of the mediation process was the lack of a formal monitoring system on the part of SADC (Dzinesa and Zambara 2011: 64). For example, by the time the SADC
Summit convened in Lusaka, Zambia in August 2007, several critical issues regarding the constitution were left unresolved; and yet rather than being transparent about the real challenges, Mbeki presented a positive report that did not accurately reflect the current stage of the mediation (International Crisis Group 2007b: 15). Mbeki’s achievements were then lauded by the Summit. Point 13 of the August 2007 communiqué states that
The Summit was briefed that the negotiations between Zimbabwe
African National Union-‐Patriotic Front (ZANU-‐PF) and both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were progressing smoothly. Summit commended President Thabo Mbeki. Summit welcomed the progress and encouraged the parties to expedite the process of negotiations and conclude work as soon as possible so that the next elections are held in an atmosphere of peace allowing the people of Zimbabwe to elect the leaders of their choice in an
atmosphere of peace and tranquility (SADC Communiqué March 2007).
This lack of transparency and the lack of an effective monitoring system put the
credibility of the SADC mediation process in question.
At home in South Africa, Mbeki was losing the confidence of his own constituents. In
December 2007, Mbeki lost the ANC leadership to South Africa’s former deputy president and long time rival, Jacob Zuma, which may be considered a contributing factor in Mbeki’s diminishing influence as a mediator in the Zimbabwe conflict. Mbeki had achieved some success in the mediation by this point. His feats include a draft constitution signed by all parties, an agreement on legislative and electoral reforms, and the facilitation of a political climate that reduced the levels of pre-‐election violence
(Solidarity Peace Trust, 2010). However, the mediation reached an impasse over the date of the election, the target dates for the implementation of the reforms, and the process of instituting a new constitution (Solidarity Peace Trust, 2010). The details of electoral and legislative reforms maintained ZANU-‐PF’s power over the MDC. For
example, while Constitutional Amendment 18 may have allowed for harmonized elections in 2008, it also increased the size of parliament to include more constituencies in rural areas, which are renowned ZANU-‐PF strongholds (International Crisis Group
During the mediation stalemate, as the MDC pushed for a guarantee of the adoption of a new constitution before the elections, and after Thabo Mbeki faced a humiliating defeat at home, Mugabe unilaterally declared March 29, 2008 as the polling date
(International Crisis Group 2008a: 7). Characteristic of asymmetrical conflicts, this first round of the SADC mediation process concluded in favour of ZANU-‐PF and the country, therefore, entered a new election cycle without having secured a political environment conducive to a free and fair poll.
5.4 The Conflict Tipping Point: Analyzing the role of SADC in the March 2008
Presidential elections process
From the beginning of the mediation process, Mbeki had consistently and explicitly articulated that his main objective of the negotiations was to create conditions for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe in March 2008 (Mail & Guardian, 15 April 2007).
However, in January 2008, Mbeki once again had failed to produce the anticipated results through his role as the SADC mediator. Mbeki visited Harare and resumed the dialogue between the disputing parties on 17 January 2008 (South Africa DFA January
2008) but he was unable to facilitate the desired electoral and political conditions in time for March 29th. The talks were deadlocked over ZANU-‐PF’s complete disregard both the SADC initiative as well as the MDC’s call for the adoption of a new constitution when Mugabe announced his party’s preferred date for the elections. In order to remain relevant and maintain some integrity in the region and beyond, Mbeki conveniently
changed his goalposts.
In his State of the Nation address in early February 2008, Mbeki ironically quoted
Charles Dickens’ opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” (Mbeki, State of the Nation Address 2008). However, considering the circumstances of Mbeki’s fallen position in the ANC and his disappointing performance as SADC mediator, one could argue that the latter was most appropriate for the beginning of Mbeki’s 2008 year. Mbeki later applauds the Zimbabwean participating parties of the SADC negotiations for their “truly commendable achievements” and wishes the people of Zimbabwe success in their March 29 elections
(Mbeki, State of the Nation Address 2008). Just as he had with his report to SADC in
August 2007, Mbeki used his 2008 State of the Nation address to promote his mediation as a success. He states, “The parties involved in the dialogue have reached full agreement on all matters relating to the substantive matters the parties had to address.
These include issues… that have been in contention for many years. The relevant laws in this regard have already been approved by parliament, including the necessary constitutional amendments (Mbeki, State of the Nation Address 2008).” Through this glowing interpretation of events, Mbeki consciously and publicly modified his understanding of his objectives of the mediation. The goalposts changed from the initial emphasis on creating the necessary conditions for free and fair elections to simply facilitating a dialogue between the disputing parties, which he vaguely indicated had
succeeded in settling all substantive matters.
With its chief mediator in ostensible denial about the inherent problems challenging the process, the SADC mandated mediation subsequently drifted off track from achieving its original preventive diplomacy goals. Mugabe maintained his 2005 elections strategy and vetted elections observers he believed would provide him with preferential treatment, while excluding the Commonwealth and Western country observers (International Crisis
Group 2008a: 19). The lack of progress on implementing the agreed upon legislative and electoral reforms ensured the continued existence of the West’s targeted sanctions, which was another unmet objective of the SADC mandate. SADC’s policy of preventive
diplomacy had ultimately failed and all indications pointed to yet another disastrous election for Zimbabwe that would be violent, would not be considered credible and that would not accurately reflect the will of the Zimbabwean voters. However, despite all odds, the March 2008 elections took place in relative peace and proved to be the first in
Zimbabwe’s independent history in which the long-‐standing ZANU-‐PF party was defeated at the polls.
The preventive diplomacy efforts of the SADC mediation led by South Africa had succeeded in averting widespread political violence in the lead up to and on polling day.
However, the country’s future was threatened soon after the parallel counting processes of civil society groups projected an MDC victory both in the presidential and parliamentary polls (ZESN press statement, 31 March 2008). A majority of 50 per cent plus one was required by candidates to win the vote; otherwise an election re-‐run would be mandatory (The New York Times, 31 March 2008). The MDC prematurely announced its victory, claiming 50.3 per cent against Mugabe’s 43.8 per cent of the votes and therefore avoiding an election run-‐off (International Crisis Group 2008b: 3).
The Zimbabwe Electoral Council (ZEC), however, withheld the official results of the presidential election for five weeks, despite the applications for court orders against the
ZEC and the loud calls across the international community to release the election results
(Makumbe 2010: 128-‐130).
As has been highlighted in previous chapters, one of the most important factors for a successful preventive diplomacy approach is the timing of the intervention (Lund 1996).
SADC reacted timeously by meeting with the MDC and inviting Tsvangirai to the April
SADC Summit, revealing its recognition of the MDC as a credible player in Zimbabwe’s transitional process (Daily News, 30 March 2008). However, SADC missed a pivotal preventive diplomacy opportunity by failing to meet with Mugabe and ZANU-‐PF at this same time to persuade the party to negotiate for a transitional government of national unity. Similarly, Mbeki was very late to join the international community’s call for the
release of the election results (International Herald Tribune, 17 April 2008) and in April
2008, Mbeki infamously stated that Zimbabwe was in fact not in a state of crisis, which added fuel to the fire of Mbeki’s critics. According to Lund (1996: 107), in order to reap the full potential of preventive diplomacy it must be undertaken consistently and deliberately. By this point, the South African led SADC mediation process had failed to reap the full potential of its preventive diplomacy efforts.
While the country awaited the release of the results, ZANU-‐PF launched a violent campaign to punish opposition leadership and supporters. The majority of the violence took place in the lost ZANU-‐PF strongholds of the Mashonaland provinces and was carried out by the Joint Operations Command (JOC) of the national military (Raftopoulos
2009: 229). Mugabe termed this crackdown Operation Makavhoterapapi, referring to the ballot marking and translated from Shona as “Operation Where did you put your cross?” (Human Rights Watch, April 2008). By mid-‐May, “political activists, journalists, union leaders, polling agents, teachers, doctors and ordinary citizens [had] been arrested and beaten, and, the MDC says, some 43 opposition supporters [had] been murdered (International Crisis Group 2008b: 6)”. According to some analysts, the extremely violent measures was an unforeseen and unprecedented political decision on the part of ZANU-‐PF, as the ageing Mugabe had been seeking legitimacy and an end to the country’s international isolation through these elections (Africa Confidential, April
2008). The violent campaign consequently ruined any chance Mugabe had of
legitimizing his power.
On 2 May, the ZEC released the results announcing that the combined MDC factions had secured 109 seats in parliament against ZANU-‐PF’s 97 seats and in the Presidential race,
Tsvangirai had received 47.9 per cent over Mugabe’s 43.2 per cent (International Crisis
Group 2008c: 2). The results necessitated an election run-‐off. Using the preventive diplomacy fact-‐finding mission tool, the South African government assembled a group including retired generals to carry out an on-‐site assessment of the violence. The group
allegedly uncovered “shocking levels” of state-‐sponsored violence, although the final report was never made public (Business Day, 14 May 2008). Even more detrimental to the legitimacy of the SADC mediation, Mbeki declared that there was no crisis in
Zimbabwe (BBC News, 12 April 2008). Mbeki lost the confidence of the MDC and on
April 17, Tsvangirai called on Mbeki to step down as the SADC mediator (The Guardian,
17 April 2008). Once again, South Africa chose to only make use of the quieter tools of preventive diplomacy. The government may have initiated a fact-‐finding mission, but its failure to release the condemning report and publicly denounce the violence severely
compromised the effectiveness of South Africa and thus SADC’s preventive diplomacy policy.
5.5 The Last Straw: Analyzing the role of SADC in the June 2008 Presidential elections run-‐off
In the lead up to the scheduled June 27 presidential run-‐off, SADC was ridden with division. This division was exemplified at the April 2008 Extraordinary Summit when the
Chair, Zambian President Mwanawasa, invited Tsvangirai to the meeting even before the ZEC had released the election results. During the summit Mwanawasa, Tanzanian
President Kikwete, and President Khama of Botswana all called for the regional body to take a tougher stance on Zimbabwe, while Mbeki and Angolan President dos Santos resisted this appeal (International Crisis Group 2008b: 10). In the end, SADC addressed the participants of its mediation and requested that all parties accept the ZEC’s election results and participate in the run-‐off (South Africa DFA, 6 June 2008). In deciding which instruments of preventive diplomacy to use, the SADC majority won out over the three outspoken heads of state that were calling for a shift in policy and the quieter approach
was maintained conclusively.
The call for a more hardline approach by some members of SADC at the April 2008
Summit only grew. However, it was the decisive action of the AU that made a shift in
SADC’s preventive diplomacy approach toward Zimbabwe inevitable. The AU intervened
in early May by sending its newly elected Chair Jean Ping to meet with Mugabe and ZEC
Chair George Chiwashe and by announcing that the continental body would be sending a stronger observer mission to monitor Zimbabwe’s June run-‐off (International Crisis
Group 2008b: 10-‐11). Following suit, SADC expanded its mediation efforts by establishing a SADC troika made up of government ministers from South Africa,
Tanzania, and Swaziland (Voice of America, 8 May 2008). The creation of troika illustrated SADC’s gradual shift toward a more assertive approach in dealing with
Zimbabwe. It also exemplified the recognition by SADC that a complete reliance on
South Africa’s role as mediator was not effective. Therefore, SADC reassessed its preventive diplomacy policy and was capable of trying new noncoercive measures in
order to resolve Zimbabwe’s political impasse.
Despite the increased preventive efforts of the AU and SADC, the violent campaign against the opposition in Zimbabwe continued and according to Human Rights Watch
(June 2008), between March and June 27 a total of 150 people had been killed in state-‐ sponsored violence. In witnessing his supporters being murdered and tortured,
Tsvangirai exhausted all attempts to appeal to the region and push for the MDC’s conditions to be met through mediation. When his call was not answered, Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-‐off. As SADC mediator, Mbeki responded to the MDC’s decision to pull out of the presidential race. He encouraged the continued dialogue and stated “I would hope that the leadership would still be open to a process which would result in them coming to some agreement about what happens to their country (South Africa
DFA, 22 June 2008)”. However, the damage was done. The MDC withdrawal ultimately proved that the SADC mediation had failed for the second time and further “signified a universal lack of recognition for Mugabe’s resulting solo ‘victory’ (Raftopoulos 2009:
Without the contest of the MDC, the June 27 presidential election run-‐off could not in any way be considered credible by any observer, including South Africa and SADC. The
SADC Electoral Observer Mission released a statement following the run-‐off that condemned the politically motivated violence and the biased media coverage, and concluded, “The Mission is of the view that the prevailing environment impinged on the credibility of the electoral process. The elections did not represent the will of the people of Zimbabwe (SADC Election Observer Mission 29 June 2008, 2-‐6).” Unsurprisingly, this did not appear to trouble Mugabe, who swore himself in as President on 29 June (The
New York Times, 30 June 2008). This outright defiance of a concerted regional effort to lead Zimbabwe to a period of political transition was the last straw of an eight-‐year political conflict. The AU intervened more directly and at its 30 June Summit, the continental body requested that Mbeki continue his mediation between Zimbabwe’s principal political leaders under the SADC auspices, with the objective of establishing a unity government (AU Summit Communiqué, June 2008). An already isolated Zimbabwe was falling deeper into economic peril, and knowing that the country was now dependent on the humanitarian aid from the international community to avoid a complete collapse to a failed statehood, Mugabe had no choice but to return to the negotiating table and work towards an inclusive government with his political rivals.
5.6 Success At Last: Examining the culmination of SADC’s preventive diplomacy approach to Zimbabwe through the signing of the Global Political Agreement
Now mandated by both the African Union and by the SADC regional body, Mbeki resumed mediation between ZANU-‐PF and the MDC parties. It was during this third attempt of the SADC mediation process that Mbeki finally locked down a substantial and promising settlement that would lead to the formation of a government of national unity (GNU). The settlement materialized in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which all three principal political parties signed on 21 July 2008
(South Africa DFA, 21 July 2008). The MOU laid the ground rules and agenda for a deliberate and cooperative negotiation process with the end goal being the formation of an inclusive government.
Although the three parties all had divergent motivations for participating in such a process, the principals met together over the next two months with Mbeki as mediator.
The two-‐month mediation process was not without its flaws and its breaches of the
MOU, but on 15 September an eight-‐year conflict culminated with Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara signing a Global Political Agreement (GPA) (South Africa DFA, 11
September 2008). The GPA instated shared executive powers with Mugabe as President,
Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, and Mutambara as Deputy Prime Minister. South Africa’s
Department of Foreign Affairs congratulated the people of Zimbabwe for achieving this milestone and reiterated its policy by stating “The agreement has once more underlined our often stated view that only the people of Zimbabwe, acting with the support of the international community, can author their own destiny out of the current political and economic challenges facing their country (South Africa DFA, 11 September 2008).” The
GPA detailed Mbeki’s master plan forward for Zimbabwe and created the basic conditions necessary for a unity government to function and parliament to convene in order to begin to tackle the massive economic and humanitarian crisis.
After three attempts since March 2007 to mediate a political settlement in Zimbabwe,
SADC welcomed the signing of the GPA, which saw an end to the international isolation of its member state (International Security Studies 2010, 3). The process was solidified further in February 2009, when the inclusive government was officially sworn in as the new transitional government of Zimbabwe. The GPA represents a fundamental preventive diplomacy achievement. A power sharing arrangement is prominently featured in Lund’s Approach (1996: 204-‐205) Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox as a
Development and Governance. The GPA is a prime example of Lund’s (1996: 205)
National Governing Structure Formed to Promote Peaceful Conflict Resolution.
Therefore, considering the circumstances and considering Lund’s preventive diplomacy classification, it was in February 2009 with the inauguration of the GNU that the
approach to the Zimbabwe crisis switched from preventive diplomacy to conflict management and conflict resolution.
It is also under such a classification that the preventive diplomacy approach administered by SADC and South Africa can ultimately be considered a success.
However, what this dissertation will argue, upon reflection of the contents of the next chapter, is that the South African-‐led preventive diplomacy approach toward Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2009 can only be deemed a success as part of a larger and collective preventive diplomacy effort, which includes the contributions made by other multi-‐track actors.
The Zimbabwe intrastate conflict began in 2000 when the opposition, through a constitutional referendum, challenged the ZANU-‐PF party with its first political defeat in its twenty-‐year rule. With the resulting rise in political tensions as the country approached its 2000 elections, Zimbabwe attracted the attention of South Africa and the SADC region. It was determined by South Africa and SADC at that point that the conflict in Zimbabwe had the propensity to shift from a stage of unstable peace to a stage of crisis. Just as Lund highlights in his theoretical framework, both actors acknowledged the benefits of acting early and preventing an escalation of the conflict rather than merely reacting after it was too late and the crisis had advanced to irreparable levels. Both South Africa, in a Track One, Track Two approach, and SADC, in a multi-‐track, multilateral approach, employed a policy of preventive diplomacy to avert a furthering of the Zimbabwe crisis. The two actors joined forces in March 2007 through a
South African-‐led and SADC-‐mandated mediation process, thus continuing a preventive
diplomacy approach to the conflict.
The aim of this chapter was to examine the role of preventive diplomacy in South
Africa’s SADC-‐mandated foreign policy. In order to comprehensively assess SADC’s intervention between 2007 and 2009, the chapter first illustrated how SADC, as a regional body, employed preventive diplomacy toward Zimbabwe since the conflict began. The chapter traced SADC’s evolving preventive diplomacy approach. Since 2000,
SADC utilized a variety of noncoercive diplomatic measures, such as fact-‐finding missions, observation teams, and on-‐site monitoring. SADC also utilized the election-‐ monitoring tool, which falls under Lund’s preventive diplomacy development and governance approach. The regional body further intensified its preventive diplomacy toward Zimbabwe through the use of coercive diplomatic measures that included
diplomatic and moral sanctions.
The Zimbabwe crisis is a complex, asymmetric conflict and despite SADC’s versatility in its use of a variety of preventive diplomacy tools, the conditions on the ground in the
SADC member state continued to deteriorate. The conflict shifted toward a stage of crisis in March 2007 with the violence in the country’s capital city. The escalating conflict necessitated that SADC employ a new tactic to halt the worsening conditions. The chapter then assessed SADC’s collective mandate and implementation of the noncoercive diplomatic measure of third-‐party mediation between 2007 and 2009.
Mandated by SADC, Mbeki underwent a series of three difficult mediation processes between the disputing political parties of Zimbabwe. While the mediation was underway, the Zimbabwe conflict endured detrimental setbacks and violent episodes.
However, in the third mediation process, the eight-‐year conflict culminated with the
signing of the Global Political Agreement by Zimbabwe’s three principal political parties.
The signing of the GPA and the inauguration of the Government of National Unity demonstrated a critical shift in the conflict. The approach to the Zimbabwe crisis theoretically changed from preventive diplomacy to conflict management and conflict resolution. This important shift in the conflict is demonstrated in Lund’s theoretical
framework. As the preventive diplomacy tool of power sharing falls under the development and governance approach of national governing structures to promote peaceful conflict resolution, 11 February 2009 can be identified as the theoretical point at which the approach to the conflict in Zimbabwe changed from preventive diplomacy
to conflict management and conflict resolution.
In this chapter we have determined that the evaluation of South Africa and SADC’s preventive diplomacy as a success must only be considered a true accomplishment as
part of a collective approach that includes the preventive diplomacy action taken by multi-‐track actors. The next chapter will highlight these alternative approaches in order to present an all-‐encompassing and accurate examination of preventive diplomacy action implemented toward Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2009.
Different Approaches: Examining the role of preventive diplomacy in multi-‐ track approaches toward Zimbabwe, 2000-‐2009
A comprehensive examination of the role of preventive diplomacy in South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe from 2000 to 2009 has been developed in the first five chapters of this dissertation. Between the years 2000 and 2007, South Africa’s government-‐to-‐government engagement in Zimbabwe exemplifies Track One diplomacy. During this period, the South African government’s Track One involvement employed a preventive diplomacy approach in its attempts to halt an escalation of the conflict and resolve the crisis. In 2007, as discussed in Chapter Five, South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe was renewed through a SADC mandate that consisted of an intensive mediation process with the aim of brokering an agreement between the disputing political parties and creating the necessary conditions for a free, fair and credible election. As a regional body consisting of numerous member states, the SADC engagement in Zimbabwe embodies a multi-‐track diplomacy approach. The 2007 SADC directive was not the first time the regional body became engaged in the Zimbabwe conflict. Chapter Five highlighted SADC’s preventive diplomacy involvement in the crisis in Zimbabwe from the 2000 parliamentary elections through to the inauguration of the
Inclusive Government in 2009. Furthermore, both Chapters Four and Five featured brief comparisons of South Africa and SADC’s preventive diplomacy approach with the preventive diplomacy action of organizations such as the EU, the Commonwealth, and the AU, all of which represent multi-‐track diplomacy.
The responses to the Zimbabwe conflict cannot be described as encompassing a traditional Track One, Track Two paradigm, where Track One is demonstrated by the
South African government’s preventive diplomacy, and Track Two is represented by an ostensibly general contribution of all non-‐state actors. Rather, the Zimbabwe conflict involved a much larger response base and a host of actors have been actively engaged throughout the crisis, epitomizing multi-‐track diplomacy. This chapter will begin with a concise review of Rupesinghe’s theoretical concept of multi-‐track diplomacy that was first introduced in Chapter Two. The chapter will then highlight examples of the preventive multi-‐track diplomacy contributions of various actors such as the UN,
Zimbabwean civil society organizations (CSOs), South African CSOs, the Zimbabwean
Diaspora, the Church, and will also consider the diplomacy of economics.
The examination of various multi-‐track diplomacy responses by a number of relevant actors will serve to enhance the larger discussion of the role preventive diplomacy played throughout the Zimbabwe conflict. The observation of alternative multi-‐track diplomacy approaches will further strengthen the argument made in Chapter Five that the South African-‐led preventive diplomacy can only be considered a success as part of a larger and collective preventive diplomacy effort between 2000 and 2009. It will also demonstrate that the responses to the Zimbabwe conflict cannot be characterized simply as Track One, Track Two diplomacy. Thus, the momentous political agreement reached between ZANU-‐PF and the two MDC factions in September 2008 cannot solely be credited to the South African government and SADC. The signed GPA only exists because of the contributions made by a variety of actors, including regional organizations, international organizations, CSOs and NGOs, the Church, and the business community, which combined to complement the preventive diplomacy of South Africa and SADC. Just as Chapters Four and Five demonstrated the preventive diplomacy contributions by the EU, the Commonwealth and the United States through economic and diplomatic sanctions, this chapter will complete the story of the role of preventive
diplomacy approaches in the Zimbabwe conflict by examining the critical inputs of other actors through multi-‐track diplomacy.
6.2 Reviewing Rupesinghe’s Concept of Multi-‐track Diplomacy
The foundation of this study is built upon Lund’s (1996) preventive diplomacy theoretical framework. Although, as has been previously noted, Lund acknowledges the importance of a strong civil society and the contributions made by nongovernmental organizations for the practical implementation of his theory, Lund’s concentration remains primarily on Track One diplomacy. This dissertation has introduced the concept of multi-‐track diplomacy in order to create a more complete theoretical framework for the purposes of the Zimbabwe crisis case study.
Recalling the introduction of multi-‐track diplomacy in Chapter Two, the term was popularized by Rupesinghe (1997) and refers to the contributions of a variety of actors at different levels of a conflict that work together effectively to attain peace. Multi-‐track diplomacy includes the Track One diplomacy of government-‐to-‐government interaction but it expands on this traditional concept of preventive diplomacy to incorporate a variety of actors, such as international institutions, regional organizations, NGOs, civic organizations, religious organizations, the business community, and the media, among others. Therefore, considering the multitude of actors involved in the case study, the inclusive preventive diplomacy response to the Zimbabwe conflict between 2000 and
2009 is a prime example of multi-‐track diplomacy.
Rupesinghe’s concept of multi-‐track diplomacy is intrinsically linked to Lund’s theory of preventive diplomacy, however it fills an important gap in Lund’s theory through its consideration of the roles played by a varied number of other actors. Therefore, multi-‐ track diplomacy, just as preventive diplomacy, encompasses the actions employed by a variety of actors with the purpose of preventing the escalation of conflicts and settling
political disputes through the use of an extensive selection of instruments. The multi-‐ track diplomacy concept appreciates that the individual efforts of a variety of actors can complement each other and combine to form a larger framework of preventive action.
The essence of the concept is that it is the combined efforts that prove to be more effective in preventing conflicts from escalating, as opposed to relying on an individual contribution.
Like Lund’s preventive diplomacy theory, Rupesinghe (1997: 13-‐15) explains that actors engaging a multi-‐track diplomacy approach must also go through the same steps in prioritizing a conflict and determining an appropriate preventive action. More specifically, in implementing preventive diplomacy one must first understand the root causes of the conflict, identify all actors and identify the appropriate facilitators of the peace process (Rupesinghe 1997: 13-‐14). Secondly, the implementers of preventive diplomacy must ensure local ownership of the peace process, set a realistic timetable, and, unlike Track One diplomacy, involve a wide variety of actors in the peace process beyond politicians (Rupesinghe 1997: 14-‐15). Finally, the third stage of implementing preventive diplomacy involves the allocation of the necessary resources, sustaining a commitment, and includes a thorough evaluation of the process (Rupesinghe 1997: 15).
These steps of prioritization taken by the various actors involved in preventing the
Zimbabwe conflict later will be illustrated later in this chapter.
In Chapter Two of this dissertation, Rupesinghe’s six strands of multi-‐track diplomacy were outlined. In summary, the six strands include inter-‐governmental diplomacy, governmental diplomacy, second track diplomacy, ecumenical diplomacy, citizen diplomacy, and economic diplomacy (Rupesinghe 1997: 15-‐20). Previous chapters have discussed the inter-‐governmental diplomacy of SADC, the AU, the EU, and the
Commonwealth. This chapter will present another example and introduce select examples of the multi-‐track, inter-‐governmental diplomacy of the UN toward the conflict in Zimbabwe. The main focus of this dissertation has been the governmental
diplomacy of the South African government, and therefore governmental diplomacy need not be discussed further in this chapter. An example of second track diplomacy includes the behind-‐the-‐scenes mediation and dialogue between the disputing political parties of Zimbabwe led by Mbeki. This similarly will not be further discussed. However, ecumenical diplomacy has not yet been considered and this chapter will introduce examples of the preventive multi-‐track diplomacy of church groups in Zimbabwe. Citizen diplomacy has also not been featured in this dissertation. This chapter will examine the important preventive diplomacy role played by CSOs and NGOs both within Zimbabwe and in South Africa. This chapter will similarly assess examples of the preventive multi-‐ track diplomacy employed by the regional and international business community and
comment on how the economy can be used as leverage to prevent and resolve conflicts.
Finally, just as Lund presented his suggestions of instruments of preventive diplomacy through his Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox, so too does Rupesinghe offer a variety of tools and methods that can be used for a more effective preventive multi-‐track diplomacy (Rupesinghe 1997: 21-‐26). Rupesinghe’s tools and methods have previously been outlined, however, for the purposes of this chapter they again include: peace missions and monitors, special envoys, training workshops, capacity-‐building, learning from comparative experiences, economic assistance or political packages, human rights standard-‐setting, conflict resolution institution-‐building, police and military training, computer networking for early warning systems, and mobilizing the media for conflict resolution. These tools and methods are not bound to a specific actor and can be employed by any multi-‐track strand at different stages of conflict. The selection and use
of these tools and methods will be highlighted throughout this chapter when examining the unique efforts of a variety of actors in the case of the Zimbabwe conflict.
6.3 Examining the Preventive Multi-‐track Diplomacy of the United Nations in
Response to the Crisis in Zimbabwe
The preventive multi-‐track diplomacy of the UN in the Zimbabwe conflict is an example of inter-‐governmental diplomacy. The UN’s involvement in Zimbabwe is complex and multifaceted, as the international organization and its system are comprised of numerous specialized agencies, programmes and funds. For example, the UN Security
Council, the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), to name a few, have all been actively involved at different stages of the Zimbabwe conflict. In general, the organization is committed to
“maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights (United
Nations, un.org).” In order to fulfill its mandate, the UN employs methods of peacekeeping, peace building, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance, all of which can be found in Lund’s (1996: 203-‐205) Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox.
Throughout the conflict in Zimbabwe the UN and its various agencies have employed preventive diplomacy methods in order to avert an escalation of the crisis. It is important to note that the UN, as an inter-‐governmental organization, is made up of
193 member states and therefore, like SADC, is bound to experience division and differing opinions among its members on how to approach a situation such as the conflict in its member state Zimbabwe. Decisions to intervene in situations of international peace and security are finalized by a vote in the Security Council, which is comprised of five permanent members with veto power (the United Kingdom, the
United States, France, Russia and China) and ten rotating non-‐permanent members
(United Nations, un.org). In accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, all general member states agree and accept to carry out the decisions of the Security
Council, whereas the other organs of the UN can only make recommendations to governments (Charter of the United Nations, Chapter V, Article 25). As we will observe in this section, these fifteen member states on the Security Council have experienced heated disagreement regarding the Zimbabwe conflict. This section will provide select
examples of the use of preventive multi-‐track diplomacy by UN agencies in the
The United Nations has been involved in the crisis in Zimbabwe from the beginning of the conflict. In 2000, as discussed in Chapter Three, after losing the referendum on the constitution, the government of Zimbabwe responded through the launch of a violent, fast-‐tracked programme of land occupations. In response, the UN, through the auspices of the UNDP, planned a special envoy on-‐site monitoring mission to examine the worsening land crisis within the context of Zimbabwe’s upcoming parliamentary elections (IRIN, 5 June 2000). This type of intervention falls directly under Lund’s (1996:
204) preventive diplomacy noncoercive diplomatic measures. When the UN visit was publicly announced, the Zimbabwean government confirmed its intentions to seize over
800 commercial farms by force (IRIN, 5 June 2000). The UN Secretary-‐General, Kofi
Annan, cancelled the mission and indicated that the severe decision taken by the
Zimbabwe government “undermines the ability of the [UNDP] to build international support, including resources, for a legally-‐based solution to the land crisis, including compensation based on the principles of the 1998 land reform conference (IRIN, 5 June
2000).” The public condemnation of the Zimbabwe government action exemplifies another noncoercive diplomatic measure in the form of an international appeal.
Furthermore, Annan committed a continuation of the UN’s efforts to find a solution in
Zimbabwe through the UNDP and recognized the critical assistance of the South African government in its support of the UN’s initiatives (IRIN, 5 June 2000). As outlined in
Lund’s (1996: 108) policymaking and implementation guidelines, the UN fulfilled the task of organizing an ongoing, coordinated system for preventive diplomacy by linking its efforts to other international actors, such as South Africa.
In the same year, during the run-‐up to the 2000 parliamentary elections, the UN commissioned a team of seven representatives that were meant to travel to Zimbabwe and direct the observer missions of the Commonwealth, the EU and other organizations
(The Telegraph, 10 June 2000). In the decision to do so, the UN employed a preventive diplomacy method, as outlined in Lund’s (1996: 205) Development and Governance
Approaches under the Promulgation and Enforcement of Human Rights, Democratic, and Other Standards. However, with only two weeks before the polling dates,
Zimbabwe government officials requested that the UN team abandon their role as coordinator and instead act as a separate observer mission (The Telegraph, 10 June
2000). This last minute change of plan was undoubtedly a deliberate manipulation on the part of ZANU-‐PF government who only sought observer teams that would declare the elections legitimate and in favour of the ruling party. The UN team did not have enough time to assemble an official observer team and therefore, at the request of UN
Secretary-‐General, Kofi Annan, the seven representatives withdrew and returned home
(The Telegraph, 10 June 2000). Although the mission was unable to complete its intended task, the UN selected a preventive diplomacy approach in its response to the escalating political crisis in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, in publicly abandoning the mission, the UN used another preventive diplomacy technique of moral suasion, outlined in
Lund’s (1996: 204) Toolbox as a non-‐coercive diplomatic measure that sent a stern
message that the UN disproved of the ruling party’s manipulations.
By employing a Development and Governance Approach through policies to promote national economic and social development, as indicated by Lund (1996: 204), in 2002, the UN made use of a bilateral cooperative program in its preventive diplomacy toward
Zimbabwe. The UNDP, supported by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, launched a bilateral development program aimed to build Zimbabwe’s national capacity for dispute resolution (Ramcharan 2008: 53). The initiative, the Programme on Building
Skills for Constructive Negotiation and Conflict Transformation, aimed to “build the capacity of key national actors such as the government, parliamentarians, public officials, educators, and civil society members to peacefully settle internal tensions and disputes (Ramcharan 2008: 53)”. Although the UN did not actively facilitate dialogue between the disputing political parties in Zimbabwe, it selected an important preventive
diplomacy tool designed to empower the relevant actors within Zimbabwe’s conflict with the skills and expertise necessary for internal efforts of conflict prevention and
In 2005, the UNDP committed a one million US dollar aid package for Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector (The Herald, 3 February 2005) in order to assist the estimated three million people in need of food aid (BBC News, 1 November 2005). Responding to
Mugabe’s launch of Operation Murambatsvina later that year, the UN Secretary-‐General criticized the government of Zimbabwe for its violent eviction campaign and its refusal to allow victims access to humanitarian assistance (BBC News, 1 November 2005). The
UN determined, through its on-‐site monitoring programmes, that the ZANU-‐PF government is directly responsible for leaving approximately 700,000 Zimbabwean citizens displaced or destitute (BBC News, 1 November 2005). The UN’s intervention in
Zimbabwe in 2005 is an excellent example of preventive multi-‐track diplomacy. Firstly, through the aid package commitment, the UN used a noncoercive diplomatic measure in the form of economic assistance. Secondly, by publicly condemning the Zimbabwean government for its evictions campaign and its denial of Zimbabweans in need of humanitarian assistance, the UN employed not only the international appeal and moral suasion preventive diplomacy tool, but also made use of the international human rights standard setting tool, which falls under Lund’s (1996: 204-‐205) Promulgation and
Enforcement of Human Rights, Democratic, and Other Standards tool. Finally, by initiating on-‐site monitoring programmes to assess the conditions on the ground in
Zimbabwe, the UN exercised a noncoercive diplomatic measure in its preventive
Following the harmonized March 2008 elections in Zimbabwe, the ruling party launched a campaign of terror against its own citizens suspected of supporting the political opposition and then declared itself the victor of an illegitimate presidential run-‐off. The
UN Security Council responded by debating a draft resolution calling for sanctions on
Zimbabwe, including imposing a travel ban and the freezing of assets on Mugabe and twelve other individuals (UN News Centre, 11 July 2008). The adoption of such a resolution would exemplify the preventive diplomacy tool of coercive diplomatic measures in the form of diplomatic sanctions and would ultimately transform the UN’s policy to a more hard-‐hitting preventive diplomacy approach. Deep internal divisions challenged the inter-‐governmental body as Mbeki rallied the Security Council members against the resolution. The vote resulted in permanent members China and Russia vetoing the resolution and non-‐permanent members South Africa, Libya and Viet Nam
also rejecting the call for sanctions (UN News Centre, 11 July 2008).
Although the UN was unable to employ the diplomatic sanctions tool, it maintained its preventive diplomacy approach by instead relying on another coercive diplomatic measure of moral sanctions through the public condemnation of the Zimbabwean government’s violations of international law and human rights. In an official statement announcing its failure to impose sanctions against the Zimbabwe leadership, the UN
Security Council condemned the Zimbabwe government’s
campaign of violence against the political opposition ahead of the second round of the Presidential elections scheduled for 27 June 2008, which has resulted in the killing of scores of opposition activists and other
Zimbabweans and the beating and displacement of thousands of people, including many women and children (UN Security Council Statement, 11
Therefore, the UN, through its various agencies, maintained a policy of preventive
diplomacy throughout its engagement in the Zimbabwe conflict. As an organization consisting of numerous member states, the UN can be classified as an inter-‐ governmental actor, and thus its actions toward Zimbabwe are considered an example of inter-‐governmental diplomacy within Rupesinghe’s concept of multi-‐track diplomacy.
6.4 Examining the Preventive Multi-‐track Diplomacy of Zimbabwean Citizen Groups in
Response to the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Citizen diplomacy represents one strand of Rupesinghe’s multi-‐track diplomacy. Citizen-‐ based diplomacy refers to “the involvement of local people from different sectors of society in the process. It usually indicates grass-‐roots involvement but can also encompass ‘mid-‐level’ initiatives (Rupesinghe 1997: 18).” According to Rupesinghe
(1997: 18), citizen participation can occur at every conflict stage and although their participation is often limited or ignored by the disputing parties, citizen preventive diplomacy can be a very powerful contribution because it is the citizen population that bears the brunt of violence and conflict. As Rupesinghe’s definition of citizen diplomacy accommodates for the participation of a wide range of civilian individuals and groups, it can be determined that citizen diplomacy can be equated with the preventive diplomacy actions taken by civil society groups. Civil society is a similarly ambiguous and all-‐ encompassing term. Foley and Edwards (1996: 38) classify civil society as “a dense network of civil associations… Thus civil society, understood as the realm of private voluntary association, from neighbourhood committees to interest groups to philanthropic enterprises of all sorts, has come to be seen as an essential ingredient in both democratization and the health of established democracies.” It is with this understanding of citizen participation that this section and the following section will discuss citizen diplomacy in the Zimbabwe conflict context.
Rupesinghe further explains the strategic role of NGOs in the multi-‐track approach. By working alongside citizen groups, NGOs can contribute to early warning systems, assist in the understanding of the origins of the conflict, liaise with the various actors involved in the conflict, and can also assist in the resolution of conflict (Rupesinghe 1997: 26).
According to Rupesinghe (1997: 26-‐27), “Because of their small size, independence and flexibility, [NGOs] are in a position to react quickly to dangers and opportunities when larger organizations may have to follow bureaucratic procedures.” Like civil
participation, the contributions of NGOs toward the peace process can also occur at any stage of conflict. Lund (1996: 178-‐179) similarly acknowledges the unique role NGOs can play in preventive diplomacy but also recognizes the limitations NGOs face, as they often rely heavily on other actors to provide vital political and material support. This chapter will highlight select examples of the preventive diplomacy contributions by local
Zimbabwean citizen groups and NGOs aimed at halting an escalation of conflict and
resolving the political crisis in Zimbabwe.
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) of Zimbabwe and its 1999-‐2000 public campaign against the ZANU-‐PF government’s proposed new constitution epitomizes
Rupesinghe’s multi-‐track diplomacy strand of citizen diplomacy. The NCA was the largest coalition of citizen groups assembled to discuss policy issues in Zimbabwe
(Dorman 2003: 848). Consisting of individual Zimbabwean citizens, citizen organizations and NGOs, including trade unions, student and youth associations, women’s organizations, church groups, human rights organizations, business groups and political parties (Lumina 2009: 11), the contributions of the NCA can be characterized as citizen
In the face of the state’s violent repression of citizen organizations, the NCA was founded in 1997 with the purpose of realizing a new, democratic and people-‐driven constitution based on the vision of a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and united
Zimbabwe (Lumina 2009: 11). As discussed in Chapter Three, the NCA, alongside the
ZCTU, critiqued the existing Lancaster House constitution, sought constitutional reform and in doing so presented Mugabe and the ZANU-‐PF leadership with a serious political challenge. From its inception the NCA actively arranged meetings, seminars, debates and training workshops on constitutionalism educating at a nation-‐wide grassroots level
(Lumina 2009: 12). The approach taken by the NCA can be classified as preventive diplomacy, as its activities exemplify Lund’s (1996: 204) noncoercive diplomatic measure in the form of nonviolent strategies by oppressed groups. The preventive diplomacy of
the NCA prompted a response from the Zimbabwe government, which resulted in the launch of the Constitutional Commission (CC) in order to maintain control of the process
(Dorman 2003: 845).
The CC, comprised of ZANU-‐PF stalwarts, initiated a national consultation process and drafted a new constitution to be adopted by the public through a national referendum in February 2000. In examining the document, the NCA recognized that the final draft failed to reflect the views expressed in provincial and thematic reports and one member stated that, “people’s views were either distorted, ignored or rejected” (Dorman 2003:
853). Therefore, drawing on a preventive diplomacy approach on non-‐violent strategies, the NCA campaigned for a “No” vote. To the credit of its wide-‐ranging membership and its incredible reach at a grassroots level, the NCA succeeded in its campaign and the government-‐sponsored draft was rejected in the referendum, representing the first major political defeat experienced by Zimbabwe’s ruling party.
As a result of the referendum defeat in 2000 and considering the central role played by citizen organizations in the formation of the political opposition, the Zimbabwe government quickly eliminated the space available for government to civil society interaction. Zimbabwean civil society, for over a decade, has endured the threats and clout of ZANU-‐PF’s draconian laws such as POSA, AIPPA, the Private Voluntary
Organizations Act and the NGO Bill, all of which have restricted the freedoms of association and assembly and the freedoms of an independent press. Despite the government-‐led onslaught, Zimbabwe’s civil society has remained intact and has, throughout the political conflict, sustained its preventive diplomacy approach. In fact, according to Masunungure (2011: 127), Zimbabwe’s civil society organizations in the country’s decade of decline have been “boldly vocal in speaking truth to power by challenging the monolithic and hardening authoritarian order of the ancient regime.”
One example of such a persistent and effective civil society organization is described below.
The contributions made by human rights NGO, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR), throughout the conflict in Zimbabwe is prime example of preventive citizen diplomacy. The work of the ZLHR draws on a multitude of preventive diplomacy instruments as outlined in Lund’s (1996: 204-‐205) Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox. First, the ZLHR conducts on-‐site monitoring and documenting of human rights abuses and instances of violence, which are activities that fall under noncoercive diplomatic measures. Secondly, the ZLHR uses the on-‐site monitoring reports and documentation to employ the tool of moral sanctions (the public condemnation of violations of international law) through regular press statements and human rights publications.
Thirdly, the tool of international appeals is employed through ZLHR’s lobbying and advocacy activities at regional and international levels, such as presentations at SADC
Heads of State Summits or the UNHCR Conventions. Fourthly, ZLHR engages judicial mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes by representing human rights defenders in the local courts. Finally, when the ZLHR has exhausts local preventive diplomacy strategies it engages the international human rights standard setting tool at regional and international bodies such as the African Union’s Commission for Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), which ultimately falls under Lund’s classification of the promulgation and enforcement of human rights, democratic, and other standards
(Personal communication, Irene Petras, 3 April 2012).
Considering the context of parliamentary elections and the launch of the government’s
Operation Murambatsvina, the preventive diplomacy work of ZLHR came to the fore in
2005. Expanding on its noncoercive diplomatic measures of fact-‐finding missions and on-‐site monitoring, the ZLHR was able to employ judicial mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes by providing over 1150 families with free legal services (ZLHR
Annual Report 2005: 4). Such services provided by the ZLHR assist in the prevention of further violence as the victims of state-‐sponsored human rights violations are given an alternative option via a legal route, as opposed to violent responses against their
oppressors, in addressing their cases of trauma. Similarly, in 2005 the ZLHR was granted observer status with the African Union’s ACHPR, affiliate status with the International
Commission of Jurists, and was confirmed as Secretariat of the SADC Lawyers’
Association Human Rights Committee (ZLHR Annual Report 2005: 4). Through the contributions made by the ZLHR in each of these regional and international bodies, ZLHR actively engaged a preventive diplomacy approach. Using the tool of international appeals, ZLHR succeeded in assuring that the Zimbabwe conflict remained on the agenda of these regional organizations and ultimately contributed to keeping the
human rights situation in Zimbabwe on the international radar.
6.5 Examining the Preventive Multi-‐track Diplomacy of South African Citizen Groups in
Response to the Crisis in Zimbabwe
The dedication to the cause of conflict prevention in Zimbabwe is not limited to citizen organizations within the borders of the country in crisis. Just as the conflict in Zimbabwe attracted regional and international inter-‐governmental responses, it also drew concern from civil society groups of the region and around the world. Due to the significant leadership role the South African government played throughout the conflict as well as the large Zimbabwean population residing in South Africa, South African civil society organizations took a keen interest in the crisis in Zimbabwe. Naturally, South African civil society became actively involved in preventing further conflict in their neighbouring country and began to monitor its own government’s commitment to a peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe. This section will illustrate two important examples of preventive multi-‐track diplomacy carried out by South African-‐based citizen groups.
The paramount example of preventive multi-‐track diplomacy displayed by South African citizen groups occurred in April 2008 in the midst of ZANU-‐PF’s post March election campaign of violence against the political opposition in the constituencies that had been lost to the MDC. The March 2008 elections had been brokered by South Africa through
the SADC mandate and thus affected interest and investment from the region and internationally. Following the polling date and the unofficial announcement of an MDC win, the state-‐sponsored violence intensified with the world watching. On 14 April, the media reported that a Chinese vessel had anchored off the South African port of
Durban, awaiting permission to unload a large shipment of weapons intended for transport across South Africa and delivery to the Zimbabwean Defence Force (Fritz
It was not long before citizen diplomacy was engaged by South African civil society organizations. NGOs and religious groups responded through public protests over weapons proliferation at the Durban harbor and South African trade union, the South
African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) refused to discharge the containers of weapons and transfer them to Zimbabwe (Fritz 2009: 5). These South
African civil society groups relied on preventive diplomacy measures to avert, arguably, a potential civil war in Zimbabwe. Through the noncoercive measure of international appeals civil society groups caught the intention of regional and international media and through the bold preventive diplomacy military approach taken by SATAWU of deterrence measures and arms blockades, the shipment remained off the shores of
The South African government did not support the citizen diplomacy of South Africa’s civil society in this case, and thus the safety of ordinary Zimbabwean citizens was dependent at this point on South African citizens. Mr. Themba Maseko, the South
African government’s spokesperson, responded: “We are not in a position to act unilaterally and interfere in a trade deal between two countries. South Africa is not at all involved in the arrangement; it’s a matter between two countries (Fritz 2009: 5).” Mr.
Maskeo’s statement was in fact deceitful. After local and international investigations, it was revealed that, “South Africa’s National Conventional Arms Control Committee had issued a permit authorizing the transfer of weapons across South African territory to
land-‐locked Zimbabwe (Fritz 2009: 5).” South African civil society did not allow the government’s lack of transparency and responsibility to stop their efforts.
Turning to another preventive diplomacy instrument, the South African Litigation Centre
(SALC) brought legal action before the Durban High Court, claiming that the weapons could be used to maintain the illegitimate rule of the ZANU-‐PF administration and further oppress the citizens of Zimbabwe (Du Plessis 2008: 23-‐25). SALC applied a noncoercive judicial measure and brought the issue before the courts to adjudicate.
Furthermore, as the court case attracted media attention, SALC indirectly engaged the noncoercive measure of international appeal. The judicial application proved successful as the Durban High Court issued a court order prohibiting the Chinese freight company from delivering the consignment and prohibiting the Durban Port Captain from receiving
the shipment of goods from the vessel (Du Plessis 2008: 26).
Following the court order, the vessel immediately retreated from South African territorial waters (Du Plessis 2008, 26). This may have been a preventive diplomacy victory for South African civil society; however, some believed that the success was only half accomplished and they were not about to end their efforts to ensure the security of their neighbour citizens. Upon learning that the vessel was heading to Mozambique,
South African civil society organizations such as the Open Society Initiative for Southern
Africa (OSISA), SALC, the International Transport Workers Federation, and SATAWU first alerted the public, thus engaging the preventive diplomacy measure of international appeal; and secondly mobilized their Mozambican civil society counterparts (Fritz 2009,
6). Due to persistent preventive diplomacy efforts of South African civil society, the same vessel was prohibited entry into South African, Mozambican, Namibian and
Angolan coastlines, until it made its final retreat and returned to China. It required a month of hard and coordinated work, but South African civil society organizations persisted and came out victorious, demonstrating that through the application of several preventive diplomacy methods, a conflict can be averted.
When examining the citizen diplomacy of South African organizations it is imperative that the conflict prevention contributions of the South African-‐based Zimbabwean
Diaspora are also highlighted. The Zimbabwean Diaspora in South Africa is a vibrant community. Over the period of crisis in Zimbabwe, the Diaspora has developed several effective civil society organizations that have made an important contribution to the prevention of the political conflict in their home country. To name one example is the partnership between Pretoria-‐based Zimbabwean NGO, the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum
(ZEF) and SALC to present a groundbreaking Torture Docket to South Africa’s High Court.
The premise of the case centers on South Africa’s international legal obligations, as outlined in the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute, to investigate and prosecute top Zimbabwean government officials accused of crimes against humanity should they enter South Africa (Lee 2012). As a signatory to the Rome Statute and having passed legislation for its implementation, South Africa, ZEF argues, is responsible together with the international community to prosecute perpetrators of crimes against humanity (including torture), war crimes and genocide regardless of where the crimes have been committed (Personal communication, Gabriel Shumba, 2 April 2012). The case serves as an excellent example of the citizen diplomacy of organizations in the
Zimbabwean Diaspora because over the course of the five years of preparation for the case, ZEF has employed the promulgation and enforcement of human rights, democratic, and other standards preventive diplomacy tools through international human rights standard setting and human rights suits, as outlined in Lund’s (2006: 205)
Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox.
Since 2003, ZEF has documented human rights violations occurring in Zimbabwe through interviews and the preventive diplomacy tool of fact-‐finding missions involving members of the Zimbabwean Diaspora in South Africa. The documentation is secured for future litigation in Zimbabwe, when the judicial system is deemed independent of
the state, and in the region, as exemplified by the case in point. The documentation is also used for lobbying and advocacy purposes in the region and internationally (Personal communication, Gabriel Shumba, 2 April 2012). The documentation collected by ZEF, and other contributing Zimbabwean human rights civil society organizations, of incidents of torture during a March 2007 raid of the MDC headquarters in Harare, has made it possible for ZEF and SALC to present this Torture Docket to the South African
High Court. In May 2012 the unprecedented High Court ruling stated that due to South
Africa’s ratification of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court, the National
Prosecuting Authority was obligated to investigate allegations of torture as required by the (Business Day, 13 July 2012). The multi-‐track diplomacy efforts of ZEF can be considered a preventive diplomacy success, as the torture docket case ruling sends a powerful message to the Zimbabwe government that crimes against humanity
perpetrated in Zimbabwe will not be tolerated and will be punished in the region, and therefore serves to mitigate against future similar crimes in Zimbabwe.
6.6 Examining the Preventive Multi-‐track Diplomacy of the Church in Response to the
Crisis in Zimbabwe
Around the world, church movements have played a pivotal role in conflict prevention, and Zimbabwe is no exception. Rupesinghe designates ecumenical diplomacy as one strand of his multi-‐track diplomacy concept. He notes that religious organizations are an integral part of building peace and promoting dialogue in communities in conflict
(Rupesinghe 1997: 17). Rupesinghe (1997: 17) recognizes the worth of the Church’s international network and further states that, “the existence of a global network and a hierarchical structure which reaches all levels of society, enables the work of local church and religious leaders to complement the peace process not only at grassroots level, but also on a national and international scale.” Religious groups and leaders are also in a unique position because they often serve as a society’s moral compass and have the trust of the masses. There are many examples of ecumenical diplomacy
throughout the Zimbabwe conflict that demonstrate the local, national and international reach of religious individuals and groups. This section will illustrate
Rupesinghe’s concept of ecumenical diplomacy through the preventive diplomacy efforts of the three main Christian groupings in Zimbabwe, and through the influence of
South Africa’s former Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu.
Zimbabwe is a predominantly Christian country and therefore despite the desires of church leaders to remain apolitical, religious groups have and will continue to have an important role to play in the political, social and economic realms of Zimbabwean society. The moral background of the church is reflected in the approach of religious groups to the Zimbabwe conflict and, “many churches, especially those operating from a prophetic perspective, have been guided by values of universal solidarity, the common good, respect for life, and dignity of the human person – and these values have informed their response to ZANU-‐PF and their hopes for Zimbabwe’s future (Kaulemu
2010: 51)”. Especially engaged in ecumenical diplomacy are the three major Christian groupings in Zimbabwe, which include the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference
(ZCBC), the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), and the Zimbabwe Evangelical
Fellowship (ZEF). Together these religious groups have used preventive diplomacy methods to avert a worsening of the conflict in their country.
As early as 2001, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the ZCBC hosted an ecumenical dialogue where church leaders openly condemned the violence being used to solve political disputes (Muchena 2004: 262). In 2006, the ZCBC, the ZCC and the ZEF expanded their involvement and conducted third-‐party mediation between the leaders of the two opposing political parties, encouraging them “to shun divisive attitudes and to promote a shared national agenda (Chitando 2011: 44)”. The church initiative did not receive the wide support of the major civil society groups in the country and therefore the religious entities were compelled to select a new preventive
diplomacy method that would effect positive change (International Crisis Group 2007a:
The three ecumenical groups cooperatively organized a consultation process among their parishes. As a result, the ZCBC, the ZCC and the ZEF published a document entitled,
The Zimbabwe We Want: Towards a National Vision, A Discussion Document, which was presented to Mugabe in October 2006 (International Crisis Group 2007a: 12). According to Chitando (2011: 44), the publication “undertook a penetrating and honest assessment of the achievements and failures of independent Zimbabwe. It did not spare the church from criticism and invited Zimbabweans to work towards developing a shared national vision. The production of the ‘Zimbabwe We Want’ document gave
Zimbabwean Christians the opportunity to reflect on the relationship between their faith and their civic duties.” Others have criticized the initiative as a “sanitized description of the crisis” (International Crisis Group 2007a: 12). However, the joint effort of the three major church groupings, involving the preventive diplomacy tools of fact-‐ finding missions and informal commissions of inquiry through church structures, demonstrates a preventive diplomacy approach through ecumenical diplomacy. In this case, the churches did not stand by and watch their Zimbabwe’s political conflict lead to a deterioration of their country. Instead, they came together and tried, through
preventive diplomacy means, to make an impact on the peace process.
Simultaneously, religious groups and individual leaders outside of the country employed ecumenical diplomacy in their response to the crisis. Throughout the Zimbabwe conflict,
Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has been critical of the state-‐ sponsored human rights violations committed in Zimbabwe as well as of his own government’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe. Tutu is celebrated for his role in the anti-‐apartheid movement and for his advocacy on human rights. He is the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and he headed South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation
Commission. These credentials have awarded him the influence he enjoys today and
therefore, his pleas for international intervention in Zimbabwe have been heard all over the world.
In March 2007, Tutu responded to the state-‐sponsored violence in Zimbabwe’s capital and said, “After the horrible things done to hapless people in Harare, has come the recent crackdown on members of the opposition. What more has to happen before we who are leaders, religious and political, of our mother Africa are moved to cry out
‘Enough is enough’? (USA Today, 16 March 2007).” Similarly, following Zimbabwe’s June
2008 presidential run-‐off, the BBC interviewed Tutu, who urged the African Union to speak in a united voice by declaring Mugabe’s presidency as illegitimate (BBC News, 29
June 2008). He further emphasizes the need for a preventive diplomacy approach by stating that the “crisis has to be resolved sooner rather than later…A very good argument can be made for having an international force [under the auspices of the
United Nations] to restore peace (BBC News, 29 June 2008).” Tutu therefore, as an influential religious figure, relies on the preventive diplomacy tools of moral sanctions, international appeals, and international human rights standard setting in his ecumenical
diplomacy attempts to prevent an escalation of conflict in Zimbabwe.
6.7 Examining the Economic Diplomacy Approach to the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Finally, within his theoretical concept of multi-‐track diplomacy, Rupesinghe includes the strand of economic diplomacy. The basis of economic diplomacy is the offer or the withholding of financial aid by donor or neighbouring countries and corporations in order to induce the cooperation of the parties in conflict. According to Lund’s Preventive
Diplomacy Toolbox, economic diplomacy is classified as a development and governance approach. This includes economic assistance through economic development aid, private investment, economic trade, economic integration, and economic reforms and standards (Lund 1996: 204). Rupesinghe (1997: 20-‐21) notes that economic diplomacy can be applied through various channels. At a global level economic diplomacy would be
deployed by organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World
Bank. Intergovernmental organizations such as the European Union or SADC can utilize the preventive diplomacy tool of economic diplomacy. International corporations and large multi-‐national companies often engage economic diplomacy via corporate social responsibility programmes (Rupesinghe 1997: 20-‐21). An effective use of economic diplomacy would be to consider conflict prevention and conflict resolution as part of the
conditions for the provision of aid (Rupesinghe 1997: 20).
In the case of the conflict in Zimbabwe we see a stark contrast in economic diplomacy.
Intergovernmental organizations such as the EU and the Commonwealth have interpreted economic diplomacy through the imposition of sanctions on the ZANU-‐PF leadership. However, countries such as South Africa have used economic diplomacy to advocate for the lifting of sanctions, the cancellation of debt, and by providing a continued supply of electricity and oil with the aim that these economic incentives would persuade the Zimbabwe ruling party to cooperate in dialogue and mediation with their opposing counterparts.
One example of economic diplomacy in the Zimbabwe case study is the relationship between the IMF and the government of Zimbabwe at the beginning of the crisis. In
September 2001, in the midst of the Zimbabwe government’s land invasions, the IMF reviewed Zimbabwe’s overdue obligations to the international organization and declared the southern African country “ineligible to use the general resources of the
IMF, and removed Zimbabwe from the list of countries eligible to borrow resources under the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (IMF, 25 September 2001).” At this point the Executive Board of the IMF instead offered its technical assistance to Zimbabwean authorities in the adoption and implementation of a comprehensive economic recovery programme (IMF, 25 September 2001). However, when the government of Zimbabwe failed to meet the IMF’s conditions, which allegedly included the removal of war veterans from commercial farms (Schoeman & Alden 2003: 9), the IMF adopted a
declaration of noncooperation for Zimbabwe and suspended the provision of technical assistance (IMF, 14 June 2002). The implementation of such economic sanctions illustrates that the IMF employed a preventive diplomacy approach, as according to
Lund (1996: 204), economic sanctions classify as a preventive diplomacy nonmilitary
approach in the form of coercive diplomatic measures.
The preventive diplomacy approach to the Zimbabwe conflict is not limited to the traditional interpretation of the Track One diplomacy model. Through a comprehensive review of Rupesinghe’s multi-‐track diplomacy concept, it has become clear that a multitude of actors have employed preventive diplomacy approaches throughout the crisis in Zimbabwe. The Track One, Track Two paradigm considers the important relationship of firstly the South African government and Zimbabwe’s disputing political parties, and secondly the relationship between all other non-‐state actors, such as SADC, and the opposing parties. By introducing Rupesinghe’s multi-‐track diplomacy, this chapter examines the extension of preventive diplomacy to include a more specific assessment of the involvement of other actors such as intergovernmental organizations,
Zimbabwean citizen groups and NGOs, South African civil society and the role of the
Zimbabwean Diaspora, religious organizations, and economic and financial-‐based
Through the exploration of Rupesinghe’s multi-‐track diplomacy strand of intergovernmental diplomacy, we assessed the role of the UN in conflict prevention in
Zimbabwe. The United Nations, through its various agencies, has contributed to a preventive diplomacy approach by employing tools such as international appeals, moral suasion, bilateral cooperative programmes, economic assistance, international human rights standard setting, and in 2008, debated the use of diplomatic sanctions. Moreover, civil society groups in Zimbabwe and in the region have used additional preventive
diplomacy tools in a citizen diplomacy approach to the conflict. The National
Constitutional Assembly made use of non-‐violent strategies by opposed groups in rallying the country around constitutional issues. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, being a legal-‐based NGO, employed judicial mechanisms for the peaceful
settlement of disputes.
Similarly, South African civil society has been actively involved in conflict prevention in
Zimbabwe. The most notable case of citizen diplomacy is the coordinated preventive diplomacy efforts of South African organizations such as SALC, South African trade unions, and South African religious groups in the successful blockade of weapons intended for the Zimbabwe National Defence Force during the most violent period of the conflict. The Zimbabwe Diaspora in South Africa likewise contributes to a preventive diplomacy approach, where organizations such as the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum use their fact-‐finding missions and international human rights standard setting to remind South
Africa of its legal obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Furthermore, the chapter reviewed the ecumenical diplomacy of religious groups and individuals such as the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Zimbabwe Evangelical Forum and the powerful influence of religious leaders like South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The extensive reach of the church places ecumenical groups in an important position to educate the population and promote peace and reconciliation both at a grassroots level and through the dialogue of the disputing parties. Finally, the role of economic diplomacy in the preventive diplomacy approach was considered through the example of the IMF’s relationship with the government of Zimbabwe in the early years of the conflict.
Together, these various and intrinsically linked strands that form Rupesinghe’s concept of multi-‐track diplomacy play a significant role in the larger preventive diplomacy approach. The examples reviewed in this chapter illustrate that the South African
government and SADC are not alone in their efforts toward conflict prevention in
Zimbabwe. Rather the role of preventive diplomacy in the Zimbabwe conflict includes a multitude of actors, whose efforts combine to complement the Track One diplomacy of the South African government and the multi-‐track diplomacy of SADC. Without the significant contributions made by each of the multi-‐track actors discussed in this dissertation, the conflict in Zimbabwe may have continued to deteriorate and the
implementation of a Global Political Agreement might never have materialized.
The aim of this study has been to determine the role of preventive diplomacy in South
Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe between the years of 2000 and 2009. This has been accomplished over the course of six chapters that have, respectively, introduced the research theme, presented the theoretical framework that informs the study, provided an overview of the historical background of the study, examined the preventive diplomacy approach taken by the South African government toward
Zimbabwe between the years of 2000 and 2007, assessed the renewed preventive diplomacy foreign policy of South Africa as mandated by the regional body SADC between the years 2007 to 2009, and finally, presented a comparison of the role of preventive diplomacy employed by South Africa and SADC through the concept of multi-‐ track diplomacy and the involvement of other actors in the Zimbabwe conflict. A further objective of this study has been to closely integrate the theoretical foundation of the dissertation within the empirical example of preventive responses to the conflict in
Zimbabwe. This objective was ascertained through the consistent incorporation of the theoretical concepts in the practical examination of the Track One and multi-‐track
preventive diplomacy approaches to the conflict in Zimbabwe by various actors.
From a theoretical perspective, the dissertation has addressed the key issues of defining conflict, identifying the various stages in a conflict’s lifecycle, establishing the link between conflict prevention and early warning systems, reviewing the evolution of the term and practice of preventive diplomacy, examining Lund’s preventive diplomacy conceptual framework and its implementation, and expanding on Lund’s model through the incorporation of Rupesinghe’s concept of multi-‐track diplomacy into Lund’s
framework. Additionally, from an empirical viewpoint, the dissertation has addressed pertinent issues such as the historical factors contributing to the deterioration of the
Zimbabwe state, the development of South Africa-‐Zimbabwe foreign relations over time, the reconstruction of South Africa’s post-‐apartheid foreign policy and its distinct motivations, South Africa’s preventive diplomacy approach toward Zimbabwe during the first seven years of the conflict, South Africa’s preventive diplomacy policy renewed through a SADC mandate, and the different practical applications of preventive diplomacy by various multi-‐track actors.
The objective of this chapter is to first review the key findings of the study. The review will begin with a final reflection of the theoretical concepts of preventive diplomacy and multi-‐track diplomacy that have been merged to create the theoretical framework supporting this study. The review will then briefly appraise the integration of the theoretical framework within the empirical research of the study. Secondly, this chapter will emphasize the originality of the research and will determine what particularly sets this study apart from other research in this field. Thirdly, the specific parameters of the study will be explained in order to justify why the time period of the years 2000 to 2009 was particularly chosen for the purpose of this study. The chapter will then examine recent developments of the Zimbabwe conflict and South Africa-‐Zimbabwe foreign relations in order to determine whether the analysis of this study continues to apply to the current situation at the time of writing. Finally, the chapter will conclude by proposing areas of possible research to expand on this study, both in the theoretical realm of preventive diplomacy and multi-‐track diplomacy, and in the empirical study of
South Africa-‐Zimbabwe foreign relations and the intrastate conflict in Zimbabwe.
7.2 A Review of the Key Findings
To begin, a study involving the key conflict prevention theoretical concepts of preventive diplomacy and multi-‐track diplomacy first necessitates a discussion regarding
the concept of conflict in more general terms. The study determines that conflict is a complex, dynamic process with as many sub-‐types as there are conflict analysts. Relying on Mitchell’s (1981: 15) definition, the study characterizes conflict as any situation in which two or more social entities perceive that they possess mutually incompatible goals. Once initiated a conflict can draw in different participants with varying perspectives and goals causing it to shift in unpredictable directions. Therefore, when applying a theoretical framework to any given conflict it is important that analysts select a model that is sufficiently flexible to accommodate for an extensive range of conflicts and the complexity of any conflict. Appreciating this, the next task was to select an appropriate theoretical framework that would accommodate for the intrastate conflict
After assessing the emergence of the preventive diplomacy concept from the 1960s,
Lund’s (1996) conceptual framework of preventive diplomacy was thus elected to inform the empirical evidence of the study and serve as the theoretical foundation of this dissertation. Lund’s framework epitomizes the most practical and comprehensive model presented to date, first, because of his inherent inclusion of various types of diplomatic efforts such as political, economic, and military among others that can be implemented by a wide variety of actors. This framework is most applicable secondly, due to Lund’s appreciation of the participation of both Track One actors, or government-‐to-‐government, and Track Two actors, or non-‐state entities generally, in the preventive diplomacy approach. However, in consideration of the multitude of actors that have and continue to apply preventive diplomacy approaches to the
Zimbabwe conflict, it was recognized that the limited examples of Track Two diplomacy provided by Lund are too vague for the purpose of this case study and future preventive diplomacy research. Therefore, Rupesinghe’s concept of multi-‐track diplomacy, which departs from the Track Two classification and details six specific preventive diplomacy
tracks, has been integrated to form a more complete theoretical framework.
Finally, Lund’s framework best accommodates for the complexity of conflicts and is most applicable to a wide variety of types of conflicts because of his presentation of the policies and instruments for preventing violent conflicts, or otherwise known as Lund’s
Preventive Diplomacy Toolbox. In applying the selected theoretical framework to the
Zimbabwe conflict case study, this dissertation relies heavily on Lund’s preventive diplomacy toolbox. The preventive diplomacy policies and mechanisms used in the approaches of the South African government, SADC, the UN, and the highlighted contributions of other multi-‐track actors can all be found as examples in Lund’s toolbox.
According to Lund, the policies and instruments available in a preventive diplomacy approach are extensive and can be categorized within three main approaches: military approaches, nonmilitary approaches, and development and governance approaches.
The examples demonstrated by the empirical evidence in this case study touch on each of these important approaches; therefore accentuating the applicability of Lund’s theoretical framework for this particular study.
For the purposes of drawing final conclusions, the most critical theoretical findings based on the framework chosen for this dissertation are the factors that determine a successful and peaceful preventive diplomacy approach. As outlined by Lund (1996: 85-‐
86), the factors are five-‐fold and include: the timing of third-‐party intervention; a multifaceted approach, where third parties act in coordination with other relevant actors and make use of several varied instruments in their efforts; the support of the preventive process from major players, such as international and regional powers and neighbouring states; the level of moderation shown by the disputing leadership in their views, actions, and policies; and finally, the level of state autonomy among the disputants that can make use of procedures and institutions through which disputes can be negotiated and agreements enforced. These factors will be considered in the next section as the integration of the theoretical framework within the empirical research of the study is assessed and the preventive diplomacy approach of South Africa is measured a success or failure.
In interpreting the empirical research, it is important to highlight that first, the
Zimbabwe conflict beginning in the year 2000 did not surface without warning and there is a very complex historical development to consider, as discussed in Chapter Three, which steered the country in the direction of its decade of decline. Secondly, the South
African government’s approach to the Zimbabwe conflict under the leadership of Mbeki must be viewed within the context of the development of a new foreign policy in a post-‐ apartheid era. During this period, it was important to South African policymakers that a dramatic departure from the previous period was made and thus foreign policy was guided by the principles of human rights and democracy, preemptive and preventive action, and the promotion of African interests in world affairs. Finally, the South African government preventive diplomacy approach to the conflict in Zimbabwe was affected by the unique influences of South Africa’s leading policymakers, namely former President
Mbeki. As demonstrated in Chapter Four, these influences include the principle of solidarity, national economic interests, the vision of a South African-‐led African
Renaissance, the principle of universality, and the aim of asserting leadership roles in
strategic multi-‐lateral organizations. Together the historical and the foreign policy development factors form the empirical context of the dissertation.
Through the integration of the selected theoretical framework within the practical example of South Africa’s preventive diplomacy approach to the Zimbabwe conflict, several final conclusions can be drawn. First, upon recognizing the emergence of a political conflict in the year 2000, the South African government initiated an early intervention. According to the theoretical framework, the timing of third party intervention is one of the most important factors of success and therefore the South
African preventive diplomacy approach at this point satisfies one particular line of evaluation. Secondly, between the years 2000 and 2007 South Africa employed a variety of preventive diplomacy tools in its preventive diplomacy approach toward Zimbabwe.
The South African government’s foreign policy response consisted mainly of
noncoercive diplomatic measures such as fact-‐finding missions, observation teams, economic assistance, political incentives, conciliation, moral suasion, and third party
mediation, in keeping with Lund’s preventive diplomacy toolbox.
Theoretically, according to Lund’s factors of preventive diplomacy success, South Africa succeeded in its early intervention in the Zimbabwe conflict. South Africa also succeeded in employing a multifaceted approach through the use of several varied preventive diplomacy tools and through acting in coordination with other relevant actors, such as the Commonwealth and monitoring elections alongside other national governments and international bodies. However, although it can be concluded that between the years of 2000 and 2007, South Africa certainly employed a preventive diplomacy approach, which satisfied certain success factors as outlined by Lund, it can also be argued that between 2000 and 2007, South Africa’s preventive diplomacy approach toward the conflict in Zimbabwe ultimately failed. As discussed in Chapter
Four, the devastating and violent effects of ZANU-‐PF’s Operation Murambatsvina in
2005 and the rise in state-‐sponsored violence against opposition supporters in March
2007 indicate a failure of South Africa’s preventive diplomacy. Additionally, South
Africa’s failure to employ more hard-‐hitting preventive diplomacy tools in its approach also impeded on its success. South Africa’s one preventive diplomacy saving grace is that by 2007 Mbeki had maintained access to the disputing parties, which is necessary for third party mediation. Therefore, South Africa’s preventive diplomacy efforts from
2000 to 2007 formed a base from which a renewed preventive diplomacy approach could be launched by SADC in March 2007.
A second conclusion can be drawn in that South Africa’s foreign policy of preventive diplomacy toward the conflict in Zimbabwe was indeed renewed in March 2007 through the SADC mandate. Although having already pursued a preventive diplomacy approach toward the conflict in Zimbabwe since 2000, SADC responded timeously and decisively in March 2007 and intervened with a new and more assertive preventive diplomacy
tool: third party mediation with a regional backing. Some may argue that the level of violence pushing the Zimbabwe conflict to a stage of crisis in 2005 and again in March
2007 would automatically discount a preventive diplomacy approach and instead any further intervention would be theoretically characterized as crisis management.
However, this dissertation asserts that the SADC mandate initiated in March 2007 exemplifies an extension of the regional body’s as well as the South African preventive diplomacy approach. Recalling this dissertation’s working definition of preventive diplomacy as outlined by Lund (1996: 37), preventive diplomacy is the “action taken in vulnerable places and times to avoid the threat or the use of armed force…by states…to settle the political disputes that can arise from the destabilizing effects of economic, social, political, and international change”. Therefore, according to this definition, the
South Africa-‐led SADC process of mediation between the disputing political parties of
Zimbabwe is a valid example of preventive diplomacy. Furthermore, the noncoercive diplomatic instrument of third party mediation is prominently placed within Lund’s preventive diplomacy toolbox, and thus additionally supports the argument for a South
Africa-‐led SADC preventive diplomacy approach toward Zimbabwe between 2007 and
Moreover, this section concludes that beginning with the signing of the Global Political
Agreement by Zimbabwe’s disputing political party leadership in September 2008 and culminating in the inauguration of the inclusive government in February 2009, this power sharing settlement brokered by SADC signifies the moment in which the preventive diplomacy approach switched to conflict resolution and conflict management. This is determined after the examination of Lund’s classification of power sharing agreements. According to Lund (1996: 205), a power sharing agreement is categorized in the preventive diplomacy development and governance approach as a national governing structure to promote peaceful conflict resolution. Although a South
Africa-‐led SADC team continues (at the time of writing) to monitor the implementation of the GPA by the inclusive government, the achievement of the GPA and a peaceful
political transition via free and fair elections is ultimately the responsibility of the inclusive government. Therefore, the South Africa and SADC approach through the monitoring of the inclusive government represents a conflict management and conflict resolution approach.
Finally, this dissertation has highlighted the limitations of Track One diplomacy and has emphasized the importance of incorporating the preventive diplomacy contributions of other actors through multi-‐track diplomacy into the larger evaluation of preventive diplomacy approaches toward the Zimbabwe conflict, or any conflict under examination. South Africa’s preventive diplomacy approach to the Zimbabwe conflict between 2000 and 2007 may not have achieved the expected results intended by the
Mbeki Administration, however the South African government was not working alone in their efforts to prevent an escalation of the conflict and find a resolution agreed upon by the disputing parties. Arriving at a signed GPA in Zimbabwe took the preventive
diplomacy efforts of a host of different actors.
Through the incorporation of Rupesinghe’s concept of multi-‐track diplomacy into Lund’s preventive diplomacy theoretical framework, this dissertation was able to present a more complete examination of the preventive diplomacy approach toward the conflict in Zimbabwe. Not only did we examine the inter-‐governmental diplomacy of SADC, the intergovernmental diplomacy of the United Nations was also explored. The dissertation likewise explored the citizen diplomacy of civilian-‐based groups and NGOs both in
Zimbabwe and in the region, taking into account the Zimbabwe Diaspora. Furthermore, the ecumenical diplomacy through church groups and religious leaders and the economic diplomacy of organizations such as the IMF were highlighted. Through the example of the Chinese boat case, we witnessed how effective a coordination of civil society groups can be when applying a preventive diplomacy approach to a conflict situation. The integration of preventive diplomacy and multi-‐track diplomacy concepts, forming a more complete theoretical framework that can be used to compare the
efforts of many and thus presenting a more comprehensive analysis of preventive diplomacy approaches to any conflict, has been the fundamental finding of this dissertation.
7.3 Originality of the Research
This study is groundbreaking on several accounts. First and foremost, what makes this study innovative is the integration of two Lund’s preventive diplomacy theoretical framework with Rupesinghe’s concept of multi-‐track diplomacy. On its own, Lund’s framework focuses predominantly on Track One diplomacy and the high profile inter-‐ governmental diplomacy practiced by the United Nations, while only giving mention to the significance of multi-‐track diplomacy approaches. Considering Rupesinghe’s concept of multi-‐track diplomacy in isolation, while providing a necessary expansion of Lund’s theory, the model lacks the entirety of a theoretical framework that would have included a detailed description of the stages of conflict at which preventive diplomacy could be applied by multi-‐track actors. Furthermore, a complete theoretical framework should include a more comprehensive list of instruments that are applied by the practitioners of the model. However, Rupesinghe’s list of proposed instruments of multi-‐track diplomacy is deficient in comparison with Lund’s inclusive preventive diplomacy toolbox. Therefore, through the integration of Lund’s preventive diplomacy theory and Rupesinghe’s concept of multi-‐track diplomacy, this study has succeeded in creating an all-‐encompassing theoretical foundation that can accommodate for an even
wider range of complex conflict situations.
Secondly, no other study has linked or applied Lund’s preventive diplomacy theoretical framework to the intrastate conflict in Zimbabwe. There are several studies that associate South Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe to theoretical terms such as constructive engagement, or to more common terminology such as ‘quiet diplomacy’
(See Davies 2008 and Graham 2008). However, Lund’s specific conceptual framework
has not directly been applied to current South Africa-‐Zimbabwe relations. While applying his preventive diplomacy theoretical framework to four other African case studies in his examination of democratization transition conflicts in sub-‐Saharan Africa,
Lund himself has not connected his concept with the Zimbabwe case study. Therefore, this dissertation is unique as it is the first in the field to examine the responses to the
Zimbabwe intrastate conflict through the theoretical lens of preventive diplomacy, as
outlined by Lund and Rupesinghe.
Thirdly, although there have been many studies on South African foreign policy toward
Zimbabwe, no other study has presented such a comprehensive comparison of preventive diplomacy approaches to the Zimbabwe conflict. This study has carefully examined the role of preventive diplomacy in South Africa’s foreign policy toward
Zimbabwe while at the same time assessing the role of preventive diplomacy in the approaches of inter-‐governmental organizations, civilian organizations and NGOs, religious groups and church leaders, and financially-‐based institutions. It is this unique consideration of an extensive variety of preventive diplomacy approaches that
contributes a more complete analysis to the field of conflict prevention studies and causes this research to transcend the rest.
7.4 Explaining the Selected Parameters of the Research
The time parameters of the study are restricted to the years between 2000 and 2009.
This time period was specifically selected because it was during this era that Zimbabwe experienced a renowned political and economic decline. It was also during this time that then South African President Mbeki became the world leader expected, and later mandated, to deal with the intrastate conflict in South Africa’s neighbour to the north.
During Mbeki’s second year in his presidency, the year 2000, Zimbabwe thus became a
primary foreign policy focus for the South African government.
The main objective of the study is to determine the role of preventive diplomacy in the
South African government’s foreign policy response to the recent intrastate conflict in
Zimbabwe. It is also widely accepted that the Zimbabwe intrastate conflict, or so-‐called
‘crisis in Zimbabwe’, began in the year 2000 after the referendum on the constitution, which demonstrated the first real political defeat of the ZANU-‐PF political rule. Finally, it was in the year 2009 that the inclusive government was officially instated, following the signing of the GPA in September of the previous year. The study has concluded that it was with the inauguration of the inclusive government that the South Africa-‐led SADC
approach to Zimbabwe switched from preventive diplomacy to conflict resolution and conflict management, and it was therefore necessary to select the strict parameters of examining the preventive diplomacy approach of South Africa’s foreign policy toward
Zimbabwe between the years of 2000 and 2009.
7.5 Incorporating Recent Developments
Since the inauguration of the inclusive government in February 2009, progress on the implementation of the GPA, at the time of writing, has been exceptionally slow and the implementation process itself has presented a serious challenge to both the signatories and the monitoring system. Zimbabwe found itself, in early 2009, in the midst of a severe economic and humanitarian crisis. Unemployment had reached an all-‐time low of ninety-‐four per cent, more than half of the diminished population relied on international food aid, the country’s education system was in dire straits and a cholera epidemic was on the rise (Jongwe 2009). Such conditions on the ground caused the provisional political administration to embark on a serious crisis management intervention.
It is not the purpose of this dissertation to analyze the Global Political Agreement and its implementation; however, the SADC brokered settlement featured several inherent faults. Firstly, the agreement may have featured a rough timeline guiding the implementation, however, the internal monitoring system, the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (JOMIC), was made up completely of four partisan members from each of the three parties. A detailed analysis of the GPA stipulations is not necessary to determine that the failure to incorporate unbiased, apolitical monitors would present a problem for accountability. Furthermore, on paper SADC and the AU were named as the guarantors of the implementation of the GPA, however, in reality it was the participating political parties alone that were expected to engage a periodic review mechanism on an annual basis to assess the progress of implementation. The decision to exclude an external monitoring system contributed directly to the inert
implementation of the terms of agreement to date.
Secondly, the inclusive government settlement bestowed the control of nearly all senior ministries to the former ruling party, ZANU-‐PF. For example, the MDC parties currently govern the ministries of Finance, Health, Education, and Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs, to name a few. These particular ministries represent the sectors of society that have either completely collapsed over the past decade under ZANU-‐PF rule and involve the funding and capacity beyond that of the inclusive government, or, with regards to the Constitution, represents a highly contentious and arduous process that continues to experience delays and, at the time of writing, is threatened to be circumvented so that elections can take place under the old structure. Whereas, the
ZANU-‐PF party maintains control of the central arms of government, including the ministries of Defence, Foreign Affairs, State Security, and Justice. Once again, there is no need for an expert interpretation of this arrangement to realize that the balance of power is most obviously tipped in the great favour of the former ruling party. These two examples are featured simply to demonstrate the great trials facing the implementation process.
However flawed, the GPA is in place and its implementation serves as the only current practical transitional solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe. As Mbeki was replaced as
SADC’s chief mediator in 2009, there were hopes that the new South African President
Jacob Zuma would live up to his apparent “tougher stance” toward Zimbabwe that he displayed through his election campaign. Since his appointment, Zuma has been willing to be more vocal on the conflict in Zimbabwe and continues to stress the importance of the implementation of the GPA and SADC’s role led by South Africa in assessing its progress. At a recent SADC Summit in Luanda, Angola in June 2012, Zuma, who chaired the Summit, stated, “The implementation of the various aspects of the GPA is the key towards the holding of elections (SAPA, 2 June 2012)”. At the same summit, responding to ZANU-‐PF’s open call for elections in 2012, the SADC Troika on Defence, Politics and
Security insisted that critical reforms, as outlined by the GPA, be implemented first before an election will be permitted to take place (SAPA, 2 June 2012). This indicates a fairly convincing commitment on the part of the regional body to ensure that its settlement was not brokered in vain.
Ultimately, however, Zuma and his South African-‐led SADC Zimbabwe mediation team have maintained the same approach that was employed by Mbeki twelve years prior.
Zuma and his team continue to mediate behind closed doors, stand by Mbeki’s settlement for the disputing parties, and operate through the SADC regional body. Some analysts have attributed this decision to Zuma’s primary focus on South Africa’s domestic front. However, as ascribed by Whelan (2009), domestic and foreign policy cannot be separated, and therefore the same national interests that inspired Mbeki’s preventive diplomacy approach over the past decade remain the same interests that
guide Zuma today.
Through the incorporation of recent developments, it is clear that the collective preventive diplomacy approach, at the time of writing, has not achieved a lasting solution to the political conflict in Zimbabwe. The GPA acts as a provisional resolution on the road to credible elections under a new constitution and supported by strengthened and independent governmental institutions, which is exactly what it was created to achieve. What is also clear is that the collective preventive diplomacy approach
produced an agreement that has succeeded in drastically reducing the counts of politically-‐motivated violence, has seen the stabilization of Zimbabwe’s dollarized economy, and has enabled the inclusive government to begin to rectify the economic and social crisis. The preventive diplomacy approach continues to be supported and protected by SADC and is gradually producing the results necessary for the easing of international economic and diplomatic sanctions. Therefore, the analysis reached through this dissertation continues to hold to the time of writing.
7.6 The Way Forward – Proposing areas of possible further research
This dissertation has developed a unique theoretical framework that accommodates for the evaluation of preventive diplomacy approaches by a multitude of actors in any given conflict situation. It has thus far been applied to the Zimbabwe political conflict between the years of 2000 and 2009. Future areas of research could build on this model through the application of the framework to other conflict case studies. This would determine whether the theoretical framework comprised of the combined concepts of Lund’s preventive diplomacy and Rupesinghe’s multi-‐track diplomacy is applicable and relevant for the assessment of a multitude of conflict situations.
Future applications of this model to a variety of conflicts would also contribute to the evaluation of the preventive diplomacy approach itself. The practical application of preventive diplomacy is continuously evolving and its effectiveness constantly monitored. For example, in 2011, the UN Security Council (United National Security
Council President Statement, 22 September 2011) revisited its previous resolutions regarding preventive diplomacy, prevention of armed conflict, and mediation and the peaceful settlement of disputes after receiving a report from the Secretary-‐General that introduced new recommendations. While maintaining its original commitment to uphold preventive diplomacy as a primary objective and pledging to improve its internal structures in order to enhance the effectiveness of its preventive diplomacy, the UN
Security Council, in this statement, specifically emphasized the important role of women in conflict prevention and vowed to call for the increase and equal participation of women in preventive diplomacy efforts (United National Security Council President
Statement, 22 September 2011). It is therefore important not only for practitioners of
preventive diplomacy to continually revise and improve its preventive diplomacy approach, but it is also imperative that the academic community continuously review and build on the preventive diplomacy theoretical base, therefore assisting practitioners devise new and innovative approaches for enhanced effectiveness.
As long as conflicts continue to ebb and flow, luring some participants while expelling others as they intensify and diminish across their destructive playing ground of assorted stages, humankind will continue to renew its commitment to understand, control and prevent the escalation of violent conflict. Conflict prevention, as we have observed throughout this study, remains the preferred approach to averting violent uprisings and resolving disputes. Whether on an internal level of intrastate conflict or on the grander scale of cross border power struggles, the cost of conflict prevention far outweighs the
cost of non-‐involvement and delayed intervention.
Academics have developed detailed theoretical frameworks that examine the causes of conflict, determine the point at which conflicts tend to escalate, propose timeous and effective intervention instruments, suggest how to mobilize will and resources and advocate for the coordination of approaches in a coherent system. Practitioners have developed policies and have tried and tested various approaches in a countless number of conflict situations. In isolation the effectiveness of these two processes is limited.
However, with regular cooperation between the theoretical and the practical a well-‐ informed and efficient approach to preventive diplomacy can be developed and perfected.
What this case study has proven is that when applying a preventive diplomacy approach to a conflict situation practitioners must launch their intervention timeously, make use of as many conflict prevention instruments available, and closely coordinate their efforts with other actors involved in the prevention of the identified conflict. Could the
South African government have engaged different tools that would have been more effective in resolving the political conflict in Zimbabwe? Perhaps. Would the SADC mandate have been more effective if applied earlier on in the conflict? Perhaps.
However, when amassing all the various preventive diplomacy approaches by governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, the church and financial institutions, among others, a settlement was ultimately reached by the political opponents in Zimbabwe. The outcome is certainly not ideal, however, the settlement did contribute to a reduction of violence, the stabilization of a collapsed economy and forged a path toward a new constitution, free and fair elections, and a peaceful political transition. And, in the case of the conflict in Zimbabwe, the integration of theory and practice was integral to the evaluation of this preventive diplomacy approach.
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