April 8, 2008

HARRISONBURG—In his weekly “Strategic Interests” column for the World Defense Review, anticipated this week because of breaking developments, Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, looks at five possible scenarios in the wake of the March 29 presidential, House of Assembly, Senate, and local council elections in Zimbabwe and the ongoing stand-off between incumbent President Robert Mugabe and the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Examining the pros and cons of each possible outcome, Dr. Pham observes, “ whatever happens, it will be rough going, at least for a while,” before concluding that:

If there is any comfort in the current situation, it is that time is ultimately not on 84-year-old Mugabe’s side. Sooner or later, he will be gone from the scene. While Zimbabwe may have to careen a bit before that long-expected day arrives, its friends abroad must plan ahead for that time, preparing to move quickly to stabilize the situation with an aid package that includes both emergency funds to make a real immediate difference in the lives of ordinary people through the provision of food, medication, fuel, and other basics of life and longer-term assistance to resettle refugees and rebuild a shattered economy that was once one of the bright spots in Africa and—with some good governance, a bit of start-up help, and absent its octogenarian despot—could be so again.

To read the full text of the article, “Zimbabwe Zigzags onto another Rough Patch,” click here.