On September 17th, the Wilson Center's Africa Program and IDASA hosted an event entitled "Negotiating Democracy in Africa, a Zimbabwe Case Study". Panelists included Tendai Biti and Karen Alexender.
As a Senator for the main Zimbabwe opposition party the MDC, Coltart provided a first-hand account of the current situation in Zimbabwe looking at the role of the opposition, the elections and the subsequent negotiations that are taking place. Alexander followed this with a presentation on the recent Kenya and Zimbabwe experiences in which the negotiated settlement of a disputed election subverts the democratic process and what the response of democratic institutions and the international community should be to these situations.
David Coltart, MDC Senator, has been a human rights lawyer in Zimbabwe since his return to the country in 1983. He was first elected to represent the Bulawayo South House of Assembly constituency in June 2000, and was re-elected in March 2005. In March 2008 he was elected as a Senator to represent the Khumalo Senatorial constituency in Bulawayo
Karen Alexander is the Unit Manager of the States in Transition Observatory in the Political Governance Programme at Idasa (Pretoria, South Africa). Her areas of specialization include democratization, history and memory, and conflict management with a focus on Zimbabwe, Rwanda and the DRC.
The panel was moderated by Paul Graham, Executive Director of IDASA and editor of the publication "Democracy in the time of Mbeki". He chairs the International Steering Committee of the NGO process of the Community of Democracies and serves on the World Movement for Democracy Steering Committee.