Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from Clive Sabel

Comments on the crisis in Zimbabwe


  The Zimbabwe Regime is not improving. It is corrupt, despicable and the antithesis of everything for which the Commonwealth stands.

  Existing measures are largely symbolic and there appears to be no coherent strategy internationally to exert meaningful pressure for reform.

  There appears to be little chance that mediation via the Republic of South Africa or SADEC will succeed.

  The Commonwealth, by virtue of its decision to give Nigeria and South Africa 12 months mediation opportunity before re-addressing the issue collectively, appears to have left itself little room for manoeuvre in the interim.


  1.  The Commonwealth secretariat to offer public progress reports at say, four month intervals pending comprehensive ministerial review.

  2.  Failing tangible, credible progress by January 2003, a Commonwealth team with wide membership not dominated by one regional grouping should be mandated to visit Zimbabwe for an extended period and allowed unfettered access, eventually leading to an All-Party Conference. This to be co-chaired by leading Commonwealth statesmen or former statesmen. Venue, possibly outside Zimbabwe.

  3.  Failing agreement to this end by the Zimbabwe Government, Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Commonwealth with concomitant.

    —  cessation of Commonwealth-wide investment in and sporting and cultural links with Zimbabwe;

    —  pressure on SADEC Members, especially South Africa, by ensuring that tangible support for NEPAD is withheld and our posture made public;

    —  unrelenting pressure through EU, North America and Commonwealth analogous to former modus operandi against apartheid South Africa

    —  By the same token, humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe to continue provided that the NGOs and other agencies are free to dispense it without the option of diversion to Zimbabwe Government's own agenda.

Clive Sabel

May 2002

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