• A country in crisis

    Zimbabwe has been a key focus of concern for The Elders since the group was formed in 2007. Once one of Africa’s strongest economies, Zimbabwe has suffered sustained political and economic crises over the last two decades and its leaders are failing in their responsibilities to the country’s people.

    Despite attempts in recent years to rebuild relations with the international community and financial institutions, debt arrears remain largely unpaid, access to new lines of credit remote and prospects of reform receding rapidly. This situation is aggravated by an unstable political context characterised by unprecedented confusion and tension about who will succeed 93 year old president, Robert Mugabe, who is ZANU-PF candidate for the 2018 polls.

  • Our position

    The Elders seek to support the leaders and people of Zimbabwe to work towards a peaceful, prosperous and stable future that fulfils the democratic aspirations of its citizens. They believe this requires:

    • Democratic conditions, including free, fair and credible elections
    • Respect for fundamental human rights, including an open media and freedoms of association, assembly and speech
    • An accountable government that responds to the needs of all people in Zimbabwe and provides essential services
    • An end to corruption, patronage and the manipulation of state resources
    • Economic opportunities, allowing people in Zimbabwe to fulfil their potential
    • Assistance from the international community to address immediate humanitarian needs and support economic recovery and development
  • Our work

    The Elders played a catalytic role in increasing humanitarian assistance to support the restoration of basic services in Zimbabwe in 2008 and 2009.

    In November 2008, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and Graça Machel attempted to visit Harare to draw attention to Zimbabwe’s deteriorating humanitarian crisis. Prevented at the last minute from entering the country, the Elders stayed in Johannesburg where they met representatives of Zimbabwean civil society, business and politics, as well as refugees, donors and UN agencies.

    Kofi Annan speaking at an Elders' press conference on Zimbabwe

    Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter speak at the Elders' press conference on Zimbabwe in Johannesburg,
    24 November 2008

    The attention drawn to the situation encouraged political leaders to resolve their differences – to conclude negotiations on the formation of an inclusive government and focus on addressing the basic needs of the population. The visit also persuaded leaders in southern Africa to take a more assertive approach to tackling the political and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. Read The Elders' report.

    Ahead of the 36th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit in August 2016, Kofi Annan, Archbishop Tutu and Graҫa Machel wrote to its leaders calling on them to "support a successful and inclusive transition in Zimbabwe."