Is Zimbabwe a failed state: Political scientist explains

Charles Mabhena

At face value, Zimbabwe looks much like a failed state, as stated by some analysts, with all the necessary ingredients of being one present.

A failed state may be defined as a nation that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government is weak and no longer function properly, declined standard of living for its citizens, and a sign of governmental collapse.

Though this seems to be the junction where the nation is currently perched, according to a renowned political and social scientist Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya Zimbabwe is yet to fall into this bracket, but has a potential of becoming so.

He says a failed state has no central authority and no government; “Zimbabwe has not yet precipitated into a Failed State, though it has some ingredients economically, but, certainly it is not a failed state,” he says.

Some of the facets of a failed state that he pointed out include the fact that failed states are ruled by militias and vigilante groups. He says though ZANU PF the ruling government of the day, is in the tendency of using violence and has control over the coercive apparatus it is not a failed state.

Ruhanya adds that failed states can’t run or perform basic functions such as education, security or governance, usually due to fractious violence or extreme poverty.

His comments come at the time a number of economic experts are calling it a failed state or the one that is drifting towards that status at an alarming rate.

PDP leader Tendai Biti who was finance minister during the GNU period is on record calling Zimbabwe a failed state, with a lot others also supporting his view.

They say Zimbabwe has become one of the most corrupt countries on earth today a (facet of a failed state) with senior public officials deeping their hands in state resources without repercussions.

Of note is the missing US$15 billion from diamonds with no one getting arrested for it, and Jonathan Moyo’s misuse of state funds amounting to over US$400 000 who they say is currently tweeting his way out every day.

The other issue coming up is that of Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s US$4000 worth mansion which he is allegedly building.

Former Director of United Nations Population Division Joseph Chamie writing sometime in 2016 said failed states are characterised by being overwhelmed by numerous problems with very few solutions in sight.

He said what is common with failed states is that they are unable to provide fundamental societal requirements and basic services like education, health, housing, social welfare, employment to their citizens. He said such states are also associated with human rights abuse and corruption.