There is consensus in the recent (2011-13) literature on Zimbabwe that although the country has stabilised considerably since the last elections in 2008, the risk of internal conflict during the period surrounding the 2013 elections is high. The principal factors underpinning the potential for conflict are:
- The bitter divisions among the main political parties, the apparent desire to seek power at any cost, and the established practice of using violence as a political tactic.
- The aftermath of the ‘Fast Track’ land reform initiative, which has left controversies over allocation of land.
- Unresolved issues about justice for abuses carried out in the elections of 2008.
- The diamond trade and the triangular relationship between control of diamonds, the security forces, and the Zanu-PF.
- The destabilising influence of the arms trade and particularly China’s role in supporting the current regime.
Experts contacted in the course of preparing this report commented that there has been little research published recently on Zimbabwe. The most recent commentary on the 2013 elections has not yet appeared in peer-reviewed journals or other research publications and is not included in this report.