Items of Interest: August 19

A state of emergency in eastern Chad, dissent within the Mozambique National Resistance militia, and additional bans by the Zimbabwe Republic Police on opposition demonstrations are actions from August 19 that may emerge to become significant factors impacting geomarket developments in Africa.

Chad: The government will approve a three-month state of emergency declared by President Déby for the country’s eastern and northern provinces. 

Significance: The Chadian president declared the state of emergency following a visit to the eastern city of Abéché which came in the context of persistent inter-communal tensions and disputes between indigenous farmers and pastoralists. The state of emergency provides for greater controls over population movements and, in Déby’s words, resolve for security forces to intervene to end violent clashes. Containing inter-communal dissent in eastern Chad is a national security imperative for any regime in N’Djamena, given how this region of the country has historically been the fount of national rebellions, including Déby’s own in 1990 and, more recently, the attempted coup of February 3-6 that French military forces intervened to stop.  

Mozambique: The self-proclaimed military junta of the Mozambique National Resistance declared the peace and reconciliation agreement between its civilian leadership and the Mozambique government to be null and void.

Significance: Militia members of the Mozambique opposition party are gathering in the central Gorongosa highlands to elect a new party leader and try to replace Ossufo Momade, who was elected in 2018 to succeed long-time patron Afonso Dhlakama. Dissent within the Mozambique National Resistance party undermines national political stability and diverts policy attention intended to facilitate opposition political interests, notably in the decentralization of governance and in the incorporation of opposition security forces into national command structures.  

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Republic Police enforced a ban on opposition protests in the secondary city of Bulawayo following a Bulawayo High Court prohibition order against the Movement for Democratic Change.

Significance: The ban against a Movement for Democratic Change protest in Bulawayo follows the ruling against a demonstration the opposition party intended to hold August 16 in the capital Harare. Related, leaders from the Southern African Development Community during their August 17-18 summit in Tanzania called for Western sanctions on Zimbabwean officials to be lifted and for October 25 to be a day of solidarity with the Zimbabwean government. No matter how soon the Zimbabwean government passes the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill, intended to provide greater democratic space to the country’s political opposition, the curtailment of democratic freedoms and absence of constructive engagement between the Zimbabwean government and the opposition party provides little confidence there will be grounds for sanctions on Zimbabwean officials to be lifted. 

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