Two weeks after an election that was intended to settle, once and for all, who should govern Zimbabwe, the country remains mired in an impasse.
Opposition leaders warn of a popular backlash, if Mr. Mugabe is seen to be changing election results that they say gave the opposition a clear majority to rule. Ruling party activists talk privately of digging in and warn of a major crackdown on dissent. And opposition hopes that regional leaders would pressure Mugabe to step down after 28 years in power faded as Zimbabwe's neighbors decided Sunday to continue to endorse "quiet diplomacy," led by South African President Thabo Mbeki, a longtime opponent of taking strong action against Mugabe.
The coming days will gauge whether Zimbabwe heads toward crisis or compromise.
"I think that what SADC has done is conveniently refuse to pressure the Mugabe government to abide by its own principles," says Ozias Tungawara, director of the Africa studies program at the Open Society Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa.
"The way forward now is that SADC must put pressure on ZANU-PF to conduct polls, if there is a runoff, in a transparent manner. And if there are recounts, they must be done with an outside presence of electoral observers," Mr. Tungawara adds.
'No crisis' in Zimbabwe?
The emergency summit in Zambia showed little willingness by regional leaders to intervene strongly in the Zimbabwe impasse, but it showed what may be growing divisions over Mugabe's tactics among regional leaders.