Purpose – In light of the continuing political violence in Zimbabwe since 1980, the major aim of this article is to evaluate the benefits of mediation in resolving politically motivated conflicts in Zimbabwe and Africa at large. Since the 1980s, Zimbabwe has found itself in a web of political violence with little mediation efforts devised to stop the suffering. The paper believes that mediation can have far reaching outcomes in bringing stability to countries burdened by politically motivated violence. The African Union and regional organisations have the capacity to resolve various conflicts burdening the continent, provided realistic mechanisms are put in place to avoid the recurrence of conflicts and/or wars in Africa. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses a combination of both primary and secondary sources to substantiate the argument advanced herein. Archival material from the National Archives of Zimbabwe helps to exemplify the political antagonisms which existed after independence, thereby giving a fuller picture of events leading to Gukurahundi. Additionally, secondary material is beneficial in highlighting the political conflicts affecting Zimbabwe after independence. Newspapers play an important part in revealing the challenges of South African mediation in Zimbabwe. In addition, newspapers elucidate the urgent need for SADC to establish a conflict resolution organ for the successful settlement of disputes in the region. Findings – The paper reveals how the realisation by the southern African region on the deteriorating political and economic situation in Zimbabwe led to the appointment of Thabo Mbeki in 2007 to restore peace and stability in the country. More so, the paper analyses the challenges of South African mediation in Zimbabwe. In that context, the article suggests pragmatic strategies and tactics which should be put in place for mediation to yield effective results in Zimbabwe and the continent at large. Originality/value – The paper provides deep insights into the merits of the strategy of mediation in an attempt to curb political violence in African countries. Policy makers will find the paper useful as the continent looks forward to promote sustainable development.
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 12, 2013
Keywords: Mediation; Political violence; Negotiation; SADC; Republic of South Africa; Zimbabwe; Africa; Violence; Negotiating