Britain's plan for a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe
By The Rt Hon William Hague, MP Shadow Foreign Secretary
Last Updated: 2:39am GMT 12/12/2007
Gordon Brown was right not to attend this weekend's EU/Africa summit which is providing a publicity coup for a tyrant.
# Merkel attacks Mugabe at Lisbon summit
It is a scandal that while Zimbabwe's economy is obliterated, its citizens made destitute, its children malnourished and one in four people have fled the country, the man who has run Zimbabwe into the ground is being feted in Lisbon.
By inviting President Mugabe, the EU chose to whitewash this reality. Britain takes a different view.
There were moments this year when it seemed that the country might have reached a tipping point which would sweep away the current regime, or that Mugabe might be ousted by his own disgruntled party.
He clings on, but his hold cannot last forever and the current situation is unsustainable.
We cannot predict when the change will happen, or who will emerge as the new face of Zimbabwe, but it is likely to come with little warning.
Too often the debate on Zimbabwe is consumed by the here and now. But there will be a day after Mugabe.
So while keeping up pressure on the regime, through targeted EU sanctions and tough diplomacy, our strategy must comprehend the possibility of a dramatic change.
We and other nations have a duty to prepare for that moment, to ensure that we can assist in the country's difficult transition from authoritarian rule and economic and social collapse.
Waiting until the day after the fall of the dictator could be too late.
Zimbabwe will need the same support as a country emerging from war. It exhibits many of the scars and characteristics of a post-conflict state: massive population displacement, depleted infrastructure, the breakdown of basic services, social trauma, a lack of justice, and a shattered economy.
Incredibly, several other African countries which experienced full scale civil wars have emerged with stronger economies than Zimbabwe, ravaged instead by two decades of misrule.
Mugabe's departure will create a "golden hour"; a short window of time when expectations are high and the political situation fluid. In Iraq, as we have learnt to our cost, this moment was squandered.
We have hard-won experience in rebuilding broken societies in Bosnia, Sierra Leone and East Timor. These lessons will need to be applied, to help Zimbabwe to recovery.
The international community should develop a clear package of assistance, to be given as soon as a caretaker administration in Zimbabwe makes clear that it will implement democratic reforms, and permit free and fair elections.
Such a government should be offered help to move from a culture of violence to one of the rule of law. We should support reform of the security sector, including the restructuring of the National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, disbanding of paramilitary groups, and training for officials in civilian policing and human rights.
We should also be ready to set up a "Contact Group," backed by the weight and resources of the UN, to engage closely with regional partners like South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and Malawi.
Such a body was successful in overseeing Bosnia's recovery, and could pool international efforts on Zimbabwe, manage the inflow of assistance, advance the political process, and pave the way for normalising Zimbabwe's relations abroad.
Urgent steps will also be needed to promote Zimbabwe's economic recovery, from ensuring protection, food and shelter for internally displaced people, to restoring basic infrastructure and institution-building.
We should also be prepared to help those who have left Zimbabwe to return and reintegrate.
In the event of a major deterioration in security we ought also to be ready for an international observer mission, or over the horizon humanitarian force under the auspices of the African Union and backed by the major powers.
There is no time to waste in developing a response to the unavoidable in Harare. Nor is there any reason to be shy about preparing for the it.
Our active preparation for the day after Mugabe should signal to the Zimbabwe's people that they are not forgotten, and that the world stands ready to help once Robert Mugabe is gone.
The international community must be ready. It is time for the preparations to commence.
A Four-Step Recovery Plan for Zimbabwe
By Marian L. Tupy Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Filed under: World Watch, Economic Policy
Post-Mugabe recovery should start with sound economic policy.
Reports from Zimbabwe suggest that Robert Mugabe’s dictatorial reign may be nearing its end: Mugabe may soon be forced out, paving the way for a new government consisting of elements of his own ZANU-PF and the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change, led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
If and when this happens, the new government will have to pick up the pieces of a shattered Zimbabwean economy. Zimbabwe currently ranks last of 130 countries in the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World report. To get the economy on the right track to growth, the new government might consider the following steps:
1. Stabilize the currency situation
With runaway inflation approaching 2,000 percent, Zimbabwe is sure to face some difficulty getting ordinary Zimbabweans to trust the currency, much less the financial markets. But Zimbabwe will not have time to lose and currency stabilization is a vital step toward stabilizing the economy as a whole. Pegging the Zimbabwean dollar to a foreign currency might not send a strong enough signal to reassure the markets, because abandoning the peg in the future is relatively easy. The government should therefore adopt the South African Rand or the Euro as its national currency—since South Africa and the European Union are Zimbabwe’s main trading partners—and the possession, use, and exchange of other currencies should be freely permitted. Since most Zimbabweans have already seen their savings eaten away by inflation, and have either turned to foreign currency or been reduced to barter, the switch should be relatively easy to accomplish.
2. Liberalize trade
Zimbabwe’s weighted average tariff rate is almost 19 percent, with additional non-tariff barriers including import and export bans. Customs officials are corrupt and inefficient. However, Zimbabwe also lacks strong domestic industries seeking protection from overseas competition—an unintended consequence of Mugabe’s mismanagement of the economy. The government should exploit that weakness and immediately abolish all tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.
Doing so would mean ignoring the advice of Oxfam and Zimbabwe-based Seatini, both of which oppose unilateral trade liberalization and favor protecting infant industries. Historical evidence suggests that domestic protectionism tends to encourage inefficiency and increase the cost of consumer goods and services, rather than encouraging cub industries to become globally competitive.
3. Reform taxes
The government should abolish the existing plethora of taxes and eliminate all subsidies, thus sending a powerful signal that Zimbabwe is committed to establishing a friendly and non-discriminatory business environment. To raise enough revenue to pay for the state's most basic functions—primarily maintenance of law and order—the government should instead introduce a low-rate and broad-based consumption tax. Consumption taxes are relatively neutral with respect to altering behavioral patterns and spending habits, leading to minimal misallocation of resources. Along with the economy, the provision of public services has totally collapsed in Zimbabwe; the government cannot be expected to reintroduce those public services in the short run. Thus, radical tax reform is all the more achievable—and a radical tax overhaul could substantially increase future revenue without increasing the tax rate.
4. Secure property rights
Securing private property is a fundamental requirement for economic growth. Unfortunately, over the past seven years Mugabe has severely undermined Zimbabweans’ property rights. Pre-Mugabe Zimbabwe had a long history of protecting private-property rights, so returning to the status quo ante should be possible. Zimbabwe is likely to rely on agriculture as the main source of revenue and employment for the foreseeable future. Land reform will thus have to be revisited. Mugabe’s expropriation of white farms was an unmitigated catastrophe; the collapse of agricultural production clearly demonstrates the need to end the state-sponsored subsistence farming experiment and reconstitute large-scale commercial farming. Such a shift cannot be achieved without restoring at least some of the land to white farmers and compensating them for expropriation, perhaps with bonds that would mature in 15 or 20 years. Nicaragua undertook a similar and moderately successful compensation scheme after the end of the Sandinista rule. The rest of Zimbabwe’s government-owned agricultural land ought to be auctioned off, with small-scale farmers who already occupy the land among the potential buyers.
Of course, these four steps will be just the beginning for Zimbabwe. Additional reforms must include liberalization of the labor market and of business regulation. With unemployment approaching 80 percent, Zimbabwe will need to create new jobs, and quickly. For the private sector to recover, obstacles to entrepreneurship must be reduced: currently it takes 96 days to start a business in Zimbabwe (as opposed to 24 hours in Hong Kong, and a world average of 48 days). To maximize foreign investment, exchange-rate restrictions and capital controls should be eliminated. And just as most Iraqi debt acquired by Saddam Hussein was forgiven after the 2003 U.S. invasion, the new Zimbabwean government should request that public debt acquired by Mugabe’s regime be forgiven on “odious debt” grounds. But just as the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, a new Zimbabwe would do well to begin by repudiating Mugabe-era economics—and taking the above four steps to get rid of any lingering traces of Mugabe’s failed policies.
Marian L. Tupy is a Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.
Spring 2006, Volume 1
AFTER MUGABE: APPLYING POST-CONFLICT RECOVERY LESSONS TO ZIMBABWE
Todd Moss and Stewart Patrick*
Zimbabwe is a country in deep economic and political crisis, but also one whose situation could change quickly. Waiting until the day after the fall of Robert Mugabe could be too late, so the international community should start preliminary planning now for responses to a transition in Zimbabwe. Given the war-like trauma experienced by the country and acute conditions today, any donor strategy cannot be limited to traditional development practice but must be informed by recent post-conflict experiences. This paper lays out a framework for an international effort and identifies priority actions to support a political transition and economic recovery. It also suggests some immediate steps that the US and other donors can take, including the formation of a Commission for Assistance to a Free Zimbabwe. Beginning the planning process now is not only prudent, but such a public effort could also be catalytic: letting the Zimbabwean people know they have not been forgotten and that the world stands ready to help once Robert Mugabe is gone could perhaps help to bring about that day a little sooner.
It is not too early to start planning for a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. The southern African country is in a perilous state of decline and could face a major transition at any time. The government, led since independence in 1980 by President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), appears impervious to international pressure to reform or even moderate political repression and disastrous economic policies. Zimbabwe is now an international pariah, having quit the Commonwealth, nearly been expelled from the International Monetary Fund, and listed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as an ‘outpost of tyranny’ alongside the likes of Burma and North Korea. It is also clear that the situation inside the country is both extremely fragile and ultimately unsustainable: tensions are high, there are serious divisions within the ruling party and the military, and the economy is dangerously close to outright collapse. Importantly, this precarious state of affairs is being held together mainly by Mugabe himself. Although resilient and politically cunning, he is nonetheless 82 years old.
Once Mugabe is gone, the reality of his misrule will be immediately faced by a new government. Several post-Mugabe scenarios are possible, including a transition to a handpicked successor, the rise of a reformist faction within ZANU-PF, a broad government of national unity, a military coup, or even a descent into chaos. It is of course impossible to predict the outcome. What is likely is that the change will come without much warning and that a speedy and substantial international response will be necessary. Without presuming any particular configuration, this paper assumes that the next government is reform-minded enough that it seeks a genuine normalization of external relations and that the new leadership is sufficiently distanced from Mugabe and his cronies that the international community is willing to respond in kind.
However the transition unfolds, the United States and the international community should avoid getting caught flat-footed. As in post-conflict situations, Mugabe’s departure will create a brief “golden hour,” a fluid situation in which expectations are high and multiple possibilities quickly emerge. The international community can exploit this window of opportunity through targeted interventions to help set Zimbabwe on the right path to sustainable peace and recovery. Once this window closes, the odds of making a difference will become much longer.
Based on these assumptions, this paper argues that (1) the international community should start preliminary planning now for possible responses to a transition in Zimbabwe because (as with Cuba) waiting until the day after the fall of the dictator could be too late, and (2) given the acute conditions in Zimbabwe today, this response cannot be limited to traditional development practice but must be informed by recent post-conflict experiences. While Zimbabwe presents unique challenges of its own, the lessons learned from war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Bosnia, East Timor, El Salvador, Liberia, and Mozambique can be instructive in thinking about how to respond to a post-Mugabe era.
2. Why Treat Zimbabwe as a Post-Conflict Situation?
Zimbabwe has not been at war since 1979, so it may seem strange to treat its upcoming transition as a post-conflict one. Even the recent upsurge of political violence since 2000 has been fairly low-level and never approached a full blown civil war. But the country nonetheless exhibits many extreme characteristics of a society in violent conflict.
• The scale of economic collapse. Zimbabwe’s economy has shrunk by a third since 1999, a far worse decline than was seen during full-scale civil wars in other African countries (Figure 1). This compares to an average GDP decline in civil wars of “only” 15%.1 Indeed, the purchasing power of the average Zimbabwean has fallen so far in the past seven years that it has returned to 1953 levels2 (Figure 2). About 35% of the population lived below the poverty line in 1996, but this share grew to an estimated 80% by 2003.3 Inflation, which is under control in nearly every African country (the regional average is in the single digits), reached 782% in Zimbabwe in February 2006.4
• Political violence and social trauma. Zimbabwean society has undergone intense stress stemming from organized violence and intimidation by the state. The security forces, intelligence services, and an array of government-backed militias have terrorized civilians, committed gross human rights violations, and been deployed to infiltrate and disrupt the opposition.5 In some cases, tactics from the guerilla war—including re-education camps, propaganda bombardment, and all-night pungwes—have been revived.6 Hundreds of thousands of citizens have been forcibly relocated. These conditions have produced high levels of suspicion, low levels of trust, and a steep deterioration of social capital.
Figure 1: The Economic Impact of War
Sources: World Bank, IMF
Figure 2: Zimbabwean income, 1950-2005
Source: Clemens and Moss (2005) 7
• Breakdown of basic services. Although the party structure of ZANU-PF remains intact, state social services—which had once been among the best in Africa—no longer effectively function. This erosion of state services has contributed to a deterioration in already low human development indicators, dropping Zimbabwe in the UN rankings from the 64th percentile in 1990 to the 82nd percentile by 2003.8 The number of health professionals fleeing the country has escalated while resources for the health sector have collapsed.9
• Erosion of economic foundations. Agriculture, the mainstay of the pre-crisis economy, is a shell of its former self. Commercial production of maize, the national staple, has dropped 86% between 2000 and 2005.10 The volume of tobacco exports, once the country’s leading foreign exchange earner, is down by more than 60% since 2000.11 Industry, and to a lesser degree mining, have also suffered tremendously. Indicative of the scale and tragedy of the decline, Zimbabwe had once been a food exporter, but it is now food insecure with more than one-third the population reliant on imported food aid.12 This is mostly the result of chaotic land seizures and the departure of at least 80% of the country’s commercial farmers (not drought or donor withdrawal, as the government claims).13 Violence on the farms has also led to widespread destruction of infrastructure. Just a few years ago Zimbabwe had Africa’s most extensive system of dams and irrigation; today that is nearly all gone.
• De-formalization of the economy. As in war situations, most people in Zimbabwe now operate in the informal sector. The decimation of a once-considerable middle class has forced even more people to turn to the black market to survive. As in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the industries that have endured best are mostly enclave projects like platinum mining that are physically isolated from the wider economy. Much of the remaining formal economy has been effectively captured by Mugabe’s cronies, ZANU-PF leaders, and the military elite.
• Mass flight of people and capital. Officially, there were 3.4 million Zimbabweans, or nearly 30% of the population, living outside the country in 2002.14 The true number today is surely higher, with more people leaving every day. In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people, the result of the dislocation of some 800,000 farm workers and their families since 2000 and of the May-June 2005 Operation Murambatsvina, which forced another 700,000 people from their homes.15 No precise figures on capital flight are available, but the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar—losing 99.94% of its value against the US dollar in the past five years16 — reflects the extent of the financial bleeding.
There are of course differences between other countries’ wars and Zimbabwe’s collapse. No large scale demobilization is required, for instance. But there will be an urgent need for reintegration of thousands of youths indoctrinated into the ‘green bombers’ and other government-sponsored militias implicated in intimidation and human rights violations against civilians. Perhaps most importantly, unlike many other African post-conflict situations, Zimbabwe does have recent experience with mostly functional and capable government (and arguably democracy). It also has an ample stock of highly capable people, even if most are now abroad. Thus the foundations for rapid institutional recovery are available, a much easier prospect than trying to build from scratch, as was the case in Cambodia or Mozambique, for example.
3. Framework for International Support of Zimbabwe’s Recovery
The extreme conditions nevertheless suggest that the revitalization of Zimbabwe’s society and economy will require many elements typically associated with a strategy for post-conflict reconstruction. The main impetus for recovery will of course have to come from within Zimbabwe itself. Any revival will depend on domestic groups willing to reconcile and organize to rebuild and, fortuitously, the country has a wealth of capable people (many of which are abroad) who can contribute to a rebound.
Zimbabwe is also fortunate to have South Africa, a large and relatively wealthy neighbor with a strong interest in fostering a rebound. South Africa and other regional players such as the African Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and Nigeria should, however, be urged by the international community to more vigorously pursue diplomatic engagement. Just as importantly, the major international donors—the World Bank, the IMF, UN agencies, the British and American governments, and other key players—will need to play an active role in shepherding and supporting the locally-owned recovery strategy.
Recent post-conflict experiences in poor countries provide important lessons about the priority tasks for promoting peace, stability and economic reconstruction in failed states, and about the principles that should guide donor engagement in those countries.17 The broad priority tasks especially relevant for Zimbabwe are:
* Establishing security and the rule of law;
* Fostering political reconciliation and legitimate institutions of government;
* Rebuilding the institutional capacities of the state;18
* Encouraging a comprehensive and inclusive economic recovery, including
timely normalization of relations with the international community and rapid
support comprised of aid, debt relief, and private finance.19
3.1 Crucial Political Support
Since Zimbabwe’s troubles are at root political, getting the politics right is a necessary precondition for recovery. The key interventions where the international community can support Zimbabwean efforts to improve governance include:
1. Be ready to provide assistance to smooth the political transition. The post-Mugabe political configuration is impossible to predict, but there is a reasonable chance that some kind of transitional or caretaker government may become desirable. The international community must be prepared to help provide the political neutrality required for such an arrangement, including the facilitation of either a government of national unity or temporary third-party management (perhaps headed by a non-partisan Zimbabwean). Over the past decade and a half, the international community has frequently created ad hoc arrangements to support countries emerging from conflict or crisis, with a select group of countries serving in effect as shepherds of the political transition. After Mugabe departs the scene, the leading international donors might need to create a “Contact Group,” as was successfully employed in Bosnia, or a regional framework similar to the “6 plus 2” formula for Afghanistan, to help nurture the internal political process and focus international attention. This arrangement would be tasked to normalize relations with the international community, manage the inflow of assistance, and lay the groundwork for credible elections and possibly a new constitution-writing effort. If security deteriorates, there might also be scope for an international observer-mission, perhaps led by South Africa but under the auspices of SADC or the African Union (AU) and backed by the major powers
2. Help to reform the security sector. Politicization and corruption of the police, military, intelligence services, and judiciary have undermined what were once professional and highly regarded institutions. International donors must be prepared to move quickly to persuade and assist the successor government in moving from a culture of violence and impunity to one of the rule of law. They should support a thorough reform of the security sector, including restructuring the “power” institutions (especially the Zimbabwe National Army, the Central Intelligence Organization, and the Zimbabwe Republic Police), vetting officials for past abuses, training officials in civilian policing and criminal justice, mainstreaming human rights, and disbanding paramilitaries.20 In the immediate term, the abrupt demise of the Mugabe regime could paradoxically increase human insecurity by removing an unpalatable but effective system of repression. This possibility means that the international community, probably led by South Africa, should make contingency plans for temporary military intervention to ensure physical safety and public order if necessary.
3. Promote justice and reconciliation. A critical dimension in recovering from crisis is coming to terms with the past and seeking accountability for past crimes and abuses. Presumably, any such effort would not only cover recent violence, but also the gukurahundi killings of some 20,000 people in Matabeleland in the early 1980s21 and perhaps atrocities committed by both sides during the liberation war. The people of Zimbabwe will need to decide for themselves between pursuing a truth and reconciliation commission, as has been adopted in countries from El Salvador to South Africa, or a more punitive approach like a war crimes tribunal.22 Whichever option they choose, the donor community should provide legal and technical assistance.
3.2 Necessary economic support
Parallel with political reform steps will be necessary to revive the economy. To promote economic recovery, the international community should focus on the following areas, derived from lessons learned in other ‘post-conflict’ situations:
1. Meet essential humanitarian needs. With a large share of Zimbabwe’s population currently relying on emergency assistance, many people will continue to depend on relief during the political transition. The focus of humanitarian action must be on ensuring protection, food and shelter for internally displaces people, while seeking durable solutions that provide livelihoods and permit their orderly return and reintegration into communities. Although donors once spoke of a linear “relief to development continuum,” they have discovered that in practice relief, reconstruction and development proceed simultaneously in different parts of a post-crisis country.23 One challenge for international donors will be to continue meeting immediate food requirements without undercutting the revival of local agricultural markets.24 Donors must also continue to support efforts to address the HIV/AIDS crisis, which is slowly showing improvements through declining infection rates.25
2. Facilitate an orderly return of migrants from the diaspora. Perhaps a third of Zimbabweans currently live abroad. If post-conflict situations like Afghanistan are any guide, regime change in Zimbabwe may lead many of those living in neighboring countries to vote with their feet and return in large numbers, overwhelming any rudimentary public services that remain. Donors, especially the UN refugee agency UNHCR, USAID, and the South African government, can start thinking ahead for plans to help smoothly reintegrate exiles and refugees in the region. Although many of those abroad will have means to manage their own return, particular attention should be paid to the poorest unskilled workers who may be prematurely and haphazardly forced back by neighboring authorities without the means to resettle and rebuild. At the same time, many of the high-skill Zimbabweans are now in Europe, North America, and South Africa and may want to contribute to a recovery by either returning or investing. The donor community should ensure that its own immigration and asylum laws are not creating barriers or disincentives to potential returnees or Diaspora investors.26
3. Help formulate and implement a multidimensional economic recovery strategy. Although a number of external donors maintain “watching briefs” to permit modest engagement with Zimbabwe, baseline data on socioeconomic conditions in the country are rudimentary. Prior to developing a comprehensive response plan, the transitional authorities and representatives of the World Bank, the IMF, UN agencies, and select bilateral donors should undertake a joint assessment of Zimbabwe’s priority needs, including evaluations of the infrastructure deficit and other areas that might be privately financed. On the basis of this assessment, international donors ? probably under the auspices of the World Bank ? should assist the Zimbabwean transitional authorities in developing a comprehensive National Reconstruction and Development Framework, setting out the priorities and sequence for the first five years. Any economic strategy for recovery will need to stabilize the macro-economy, try to restore basic public services, and generate jobs. Reviving the agricultural sector (see below) and the country’s HIV/AIDS control program will also be priority areas. Private investment in banking, mining, industry, and telecommunications is likely to return on its own once the business environment can be improved (especially if private property rights are restored and foreign exchange constraints are lifted), but public-private cooperation could catalyze much-needed infrastructure investment.
4. Provide coordinated assistance. The international community must help the transitional government to establish a strong national coordinating body to manage inflows and projects from multiple sources. The donors should then:
• Pledge early. A World Bank-chaired consultative group meeting could quickly mobilize official financial pledges with multi-year commitments. Particularly during the first years of the post-Mugabe era, international donors will need to provide a large proportion of the funds to meet Zimbabwe’s reconstruction needs. Whereas traditional donor practice for most developing countries is to set levels of support based on performance, post-conflict countries are exceptional cases that merit “early and sustained engagement” upfront to encourage a recovering country down the right path.27 This logic also applies in the case of Zimbabwe, where the British, American, and South African governments will be strongly disposed to provide resources after Mugabe is gone.
• Create a Trust Fund. While Zimbabwe’s upfront financing needs will be considerable, its immediate absorptive capacity will be fairly modest. Recent findings from the post-conflict literature suggests that external assistance following crisis should taper in gradually, peaking about four years after the beginning of the transition, when in fact the reverse is the more general donor pattern (due to incentives in donor capitals).28 In order to facilitate aid coordination, to ensure that recovery is driven by host rather than donor priorities, and that absorption constraints are mitigated, the international community should work with the transitional government to create a Zimbabwe Reconstruction Trust Fund (ZRTF). Two precedents for this are the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund and the Holst Fund for the Palestinian Territories in the 1990s.29
• Quickly normalize Bretton Woods relations. Any successor government will immediately find a number of obstacles in the way of rejoining the international financial community, so steps will have to be taken to facilitate their re-entry. The IMF will have to re-open its office in Harare and prepare for an interim stand-by arrangement. The World Bank may need to reclassify Zimbabwe as ‘IDA only’ to qualify the country for greater assistance, grants, and possible debt relief. The government will also have to deal with an inherited external debt of some $5 billion. Clearing arrears will be the first step, but the arrears accrued within the past few years account for nearly half the current debt stock, suggesting that some special dispensation may need to be found with the multilateral institutions and the Paris Club of creditors. The US and EU may need to review their sanctions legislation to ensure that it does not create a legal problem or disincentive for re-engagement or private investment.30 Zimbabwe should also be considered for preferential trade access, such as the African Growth of Opportunity Act (AGOA) in the US or the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative for the EU.
• Convene an investment conference. The donors can play a facilitator role in marshalling both public and private investment in infrastructure and raising awareness among potential investors. There are numerous investors, particularly in South Africa, awaiting a turnaround in Zimbabwe, and the donor community can spur inflows by helping to identify projects, assisting the national authorities in making policies that will encourage private investment, and, in some cases, using public funds or guarantees to catalyze certain kinds of investments.
5. Promote a new approach to land use. Land has been a central political and economic issue for Zimbabwe for several generations. However haphazard and destructive the manner in which it unfolded, land redistribution in Zimbabwe has occurred. The goal for any transitional government will now be to find a way forward to improve land use by reinvigorating the agricultural sector in a manner that provides increased employment and productivity. Priority needs will likely include a comprehensive system of land titling and the rebuilding of the farm extension and credit system. The donor community can play an important role in assisting with the stock-taking of land use and ownership, formulation of a new agricultural strategy, and consideration (and financing) of options for further distribution. External agencies can also provide independent oversight to some kind of transparent arbitration process that is almost certainly going to be necessary as disputes over land ownership and compensation arise.
4. Steps for the United States: A Commission for Assistance to a Free Zimbabwe?
There has been growing donor interest in ways to better engage “fragile” or weak states.31 At the same time, the international community is still struggling with how to engage with “difficult” performers, which lack the will and/or capacity to deliver effective governance.32 Zimbabwe has been one of the hardest such cases, with many of the major players deferring to South Africa. In addition, all too often the US and the international community have been reactive rather than proactive toward countries emerging from conflict or transition from political crisis. Given the possibility of a quick change in Harare and the substantial agenda outlined above, planning for an international response to Zimbabwe should begin now.
The challenge for US policy is to arrive at a comprehensive but flexible strategy that can integrate all relevant agencies and instruments of influence to support a peaceful transition from authoritarian rule and sustainable reconstruction. Within the United States government, the locus of contingency planning for a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe could be the newly established Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) within the State Department, which was created in August 2004 with the explicit mandate to plan and assist the recovery of failed states and countries emerging from civil strife. S/CRS has already taken the lead in planning for a response to Sudan and has held roundtables on Haiti, Nepal, Cuba, and the Great Lakes region of central Africa. There might also be bipartisan congressional interest in creating a Zimbabwe version of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, which provided both a planning and a propaganda function.33
Liaising with other partners can also start now. The UK government has a similar post-conflict reconstruction unit that can play a parallel role to S/CRS. Great Britain, as the former colonial power, has a strong historical interest in helping the country turn around and can play an important role. The World Bank, while unable to participate in actual contingency planning for diplomatic reasons, should continue to maintain its analytical and low-income country under stress (LICUS) work on the country. This will be critical to enable the Bank and other donors to spring into action once the transition occurs. Nevertheless, information sharing and beginning the multilateral discussions and contingency planning now can help to ensure a more nimble and effective international response to support a post-Mugabe transition in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is a country on the edge. It may technically be at peace, but it is suffering war-like trauma to its polity and economy. In the not-distant future, the international community will likely confront the challenge of assisting the country’s difficult transition from a bleak period of economic collapse and authoritarian rule. Fortunately, the world has learned lessons from post-conflict interventions in other countries, many of which it can apply to Zimbabwe ? once a new leadership is in place. No donor should provide assistance to the government at the present time since a recovery is impossible with the current leadership. But there is no time to waste in developing a multilateral framework to respond to the transition that is unavoidably coming to Harare.
There is also no reason to keep this contingency planning effort secret. Diplomatic etiquette notwithstanding, there would be considerable benefit to making this an open and consultative exercise. Letting Zimbabwe’s people know that they have not been forgotten and that the world stands ready to help once Robert Mugabe is gone could even help to bring about that day a little sooner.
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Kriger, Norma. “ZANU(PF) strategies in general elections, 1980–2000: Discourse and coercion.” African Affairs 1 (2005) 04: 414.
Michailof, Serge, Markus Kostner, and Xavier Devictor. Post-Conflict Recovery in Africa: An Agenda for the Africa Region. Africa Region Working Paper Series No. 30. Washington DC: World Bank, 2002.
Ottaway, Marina. “Rebuilding State Institutions in Collapsed States” In State Failure and Reconstruction. Edited by Jennifer Milliken. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2003.
Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. Investing in Prevention: An International Strategy to Manage Risks of Instability and Improve Crisis Response. London: PMSU, February 2005.
Richardson, Craig. “The Loss of Property Rights and the Collapse in Zimbabwe”, Cato Journal, Fall 2005, 25: 3.
Rotberg, Robert. When States Fail: Causes and Consequences, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003.
Rubin, Barnett. “Peace-building as State-Building,” Survival Winter 2005, 47: 4.
Snyder, Jack and Leslie Vinjamuri. “Trials and Errors: Principle and Pragmatism in Strategies of International Justice”. International Security, Winter 2003 28: 3.
Tibaijuka, Anna Kajumulo. Report of the Fact-Finding Mission to Zimbabwe to assess the Scope and Impact of Operation Murambatsvina by the UN Special Envoy on Human Settlements Issues in Zimbabwe. July. United Nations, 2005.
UNDP. Human Development Report 2005. Geneva: United Nations, 2005.
US Agency for International Development. Fragile States Strategy. Washington DC, February 2005.
US Department of State. Report to the President: Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. Washington DC, May 6 2004.
World Bank. World Bank Group Work in Low-Income Countries under Stress: A Task Force Report. Washington DC, September 2002.
World Bank. World Development Indicators 2005. Washington DC, 2005.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. Politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe 2000-2001. Harare, August 2001.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. Torture By State Agents In Zimbabwe: January 2001 to August 2002. Harare, March 2003.
* Todd Moss (email@example.com) and Stewart Patrick (firstname.lastname@example.org) are Research Fellows at the Center for Global Development, an independent research institute in Washington DC. The authors thank Robert Rotberg, Milan Vaishnav, Greg Michaelidis, and Kaysie Brown for comments on an earlier draft. The views expressed and any errors are strictly those of the authors.
1 Paul Collier et al., Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy (Washington DC: World Bank, 2003)
2 Michael Clemens and Todd Moss, “Costs and Causes of Zimbabwe’s Crisis,” (Center for Global Development, July 2005)
3 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2005 and IMF, “Zimbabwe: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix,” (Harare, October 2005)
4 “Zim leads the world in inflation stakes,” Financial Gazette, (Harare, March 22, 2006)
5 See multiple reports by the Amani Trust and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, including “Politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe 2000-2001,” (August 2001) and “Torture By State Agents In Zimbabwe: January 2001 to August 2002,” (March 2003)
6 Norma Kriger, “ZANU(PF) strategies in general elections, 1980–2000: Discourse and coercion,” African Affairs, Vol. 104, No. 414 (2005) and Kriger’s Zimbabwe’s Guerilla War: Peasant Voices (Cambridge University Press, 1992). A ‘pungwe’ is a Shona word for an all-night meeting of songs and political education (and sometimes intimidation), used by guerillas during the liberation war to build support among the local population for ZANU.
7 EIU is the Economist Intelligence Unit, PPP stands for purchasing power parity, which is an exchange rate that adjusts for the cost of local goods.
8 UN, Human Development Report 2005. Zimbabwe’s index score on the UN’s Human Development Index fell from 0.637 to 0.505 in 2003, dropping them from 87th out of 136 countries in 1990 to 145th out of 177 in 2003.
9 Michael Clemens, “Do No Harm: Is the Emigration of Health Professionals Bad for Africa?” (Center for Global Development, Forthcoming 2006)
10 Based on estimates from Robertson Economic Information Services, Harare.
11 IMF, p. 103 (Washington DC, 1995)
12 UN World Food Program projects 4.4 million people will need food assistance; see “Projected 2006 Needs”, WFP.
13 Clemens and Moss, 2005; Craig Richardson, “The Loss of Property Rights and the Collapse in Zimbabwe,” Cato Journal, Vol. 25, No. 3 (Fall 2005).
14 IMF, p. 7 (Washington DC, 1995)
15 Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, “Report of the Fact-Finding Mission to Zimbabwe to assess the Scope and Impact of Operation Murambatsvina by the UN Special Envoy on Human Settlements Issues in Zimbabwe,” (United Nations, July 2005)
16 The rate has dropped from Z$55:US$1 in 2000 to over Z$160,000 on the parallel market by early March 2006.
17 Among a large literature, see Robert I. Rotberg (ed.), When States Fail: Causes and Consequences, (Princeton University Press, 2003); Shepard Forman and Stewart Patrick (eds.), Good Intentions: Pledges of Aid for Postconflict Recovery, Center on International Cooperation (2000); and “Play to Win: The Commission on Post-Conflict Reconstruction” (CSIS and Association of the US Army, January 2003)
18 Ashraf Ghani, Clare Lockhart and Michael Carnahan, “Closing the Sovereignty Gap: An Approach to State-Building,” Working Paper 253 (Overseas Development Institute, September 2005). Simon Chesterman, Michael Ignatieff, and Ramesh Thakur, Making States Work: State Failure and the Crisis of Governance (United Nations University Press, 2005); Francis Fukuyama, State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century (Cornell University Press, 2004); Marina Ottaway, “Rebuilding State Institutions in Collapsed States,” in Jennifer Milliken (ed.), State Failure and Reconstruction (Blackwell Publishers, 2003); Barnett Rubin, “Peace-building as State-Building,” Survival Vol. 47, No. 4 (Winter 2005-2006).
19 See, for example, Jean Clément (ed.), Postconflict Economics In Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (IMF, 2005); Serge Michailof, Markus Kostner, and Xavier Devictor, “Post-Conflict Recovery in Africa: An Agenda for the Africa Region,” Africa Region Working Paper Series No. 30 (World Bank, 2002).
20 Nicole Ball, “Reforming Security Sector Governance,” Conflict, Security & Development, Vol. 4, No. 3 (December 2004)
21 Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Legal Resources Foundation, “Breaking the Silence. Building True Peace: A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands, 1980 to 1988,”(1997)
22 Jack Snyder and Leslie Vinjamuri, “Trials and Errors: Principle and Pragmatism in Strategies of International Justice, International Security, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Winter 2003)
23 Adele Harmer and Joanna Macrae (eds.), “Beyond the Continuum: The Changing Role of Aid Policies in Protracted Crises,” HPG Research Report 18 (Overseas Development Institute, July 2004)
24 Christopher Barrett and Daniel Maxwell, Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting Its Role, Routledge, 2005.
25 Simon Gregson et al. “HIV Decline Associated with Behavior Change in Eastern Zimbabwe,” Science, Vol. 311, No. 5761 (February 2006)
26 Zimbabweans living abroad may risk losing their residency or asylum status by returning. In the United States, for instance, Senator Joseph Biden has proposed a “return of talent” program to provide visa waivers for diaspora populations who wish to return for brief periods to lend their skills to assist political and economic transitions.
27 Michailof et al. (2002)
28 Collier (2003). Unlike most post-conflict countries, there is unlikely to be a need for interim donor support of recurrent expenditure, since revenue generation rates are fairly high; total revenue was some 34% of GDP in 2004. Zimbabwe’s fiscal problem is primarily on the expenditure side.
29 On the Holst Fund, see Rex Brynen, “The Palestinian Territories,” in Good Intentions, pp. 237-8. More generally, see Rex Brynen, A Very Political Economy: Peacebuilding and Foreign Aid in Palestine (US Institute of Peace, 2000)
30 Travel and financial sanctions by the EU and US should not pose an immediate problem, since they are only targeted at individuals, but they may need to be revisited and the lists altered if they present a barrier.
31 Commission on Weak States and National Security, On the Brink: Weak States and National Security (Center for Global Development, 2004); United States Agency for International Development, Fragile States Strategy (USAID, February 2005); United Kingdom Department for International Development, Why We Need to Work More Effectively in Fragile States (DFID, January 2005); United Kingdom Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, Investing in Prevention: An International Strategy to Manage Risks of Instability and Improve Crisis Response (PMSU, February 2005)
32 The World Bank’s Low Income Countries under Stress (LICUS) unit, for example, tries to find limited engagement points in countries where normal Bank operations are deemed impossible. See World Bank, World Bank Group Work in Low-Income Countries under Stress: A Task Force Report (September 2002); See also the OECD/DAC’s Working Group on Development Effectiveness in Fragile States.
33 US Department of State, Report to the President: Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba (Washington DC, May 6, 2004)
ZIMBABWE: After Mugabe - analysts say donor aid must flow
JOHANNESBURG, 26 May 2006 (IRIN) - Despite its often prophesised collapse, Zimbabwe is still standing - but experts have warned that planning for economic recovery by the international community is now critical.
Presenting a paper on the economic, political and security situation in Zimbabwe, Tony Hawkins, professor at the Graduate School of Management of the University of Zimbabwe, commented: "Eight years into economic decline that has cut GDP [gross domestic product] by 40 percent and halved income per head, Zimbabwe is still standing - highlighting the yawning chasm that separates economic decline and political change in Africa."
A recent report, 'After Mugabe: Applying post-conflict recovery lessons to Zimbabwe', published in the Harvard University Africa Policy Journal (APJ), underscores the need for the international community to "start preliminary planning now for responses to a transition in Zimbabwe", given the "war-like trauma experienced by the country and acute conditions today".
The report warns that "the southern African country is in a perilous state of decline and could face a transition at any time. Waiting until the day after the fall of [president] Robert Mugabe could be too late". President Mugabe's current term in office ends in 2008.
Presenting a wide range of steadily deterioration economic indicators - plummeting GDP growth, employment and real wages, and skyrocketing inflation - Hawkins stressed that "whatever the economic indicator, the numbers are uniformly dismal".
Until 2002, Zimbabwe was the second largest economy after South Africa in the 14-member Southern African Development Community; now only Malawi and tiny Swaziland and Lesotho are worse off.
The government has insisted the fault lies with western governments, determined to punish Zimbabwe's violent land reform programme with "sanctions". It has launched a series of recovery plans, but without an agreement with the International Monetary Fund and confidence from investors, none have managed to halt the slide.
"In political democracies, prolonged economic decline almost always sparks political change, through the ballot box or more radical confrontation on the streets," Hawkins remarked. But Mugabe has won every election from independence, although since 2000 the ballot results have been disputed.
Political change in Zimbabwe remained elusive, said Hawkins, "there is no 'tipping point'". The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, "deeply split and demoralised", has promised a campaign of protest but according to Hawkins, there is "no willingness to lead, let alone follow, a campaign of protest" which would be challenged by the security forces.
Economies eventually "pass the point of no return" and can only get back on their feet with "massive outside assistance", but inevitably, "the donor community comes to the country's rescue, often in 'too little, too late' mode," Hawkins said.
The APJ report thought change in Zimbabwe would come without much warning, given the "extremely fragile and ultimately unstable" situation held together by "Mugabe himself - [and] he is, nonetheless, 82 years old".
In a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe "a speedy and substantial international response will be necessary". Assuming the next government was "reform-minded enough" and donors were "willing to respond", the international community would have a "window of opportunity" to make a difference.
It suggested that the response not be limited to traditional development practices "but must be informed by recent post-conflict experience", establishing security and the rule of law, fostering political reconciliation, "legitimate" institutions of government, and encouraging economic recovery through the normalisation of relations with the international community.
Although Zimbabwe has not suffered civil war, "the country nonetheless exhibits many extreme characteristics of a society in violent conflict", such as the breakdown of basic services and the mass flight of people and capital.
The report maintained that "no donor should provide assistance to the government at the present time, since recovery is impossible with the current leadership. But there is not time to waste in developing a multilateral framework to respond to the transition that is unavoidably coming to Harare".
Zimbabwe was fortunate to have South Africa, a large and relatively wealthy neighbour with a strong interest in fostering a rebound. Reportedly already sheltering an estimated two million Zimbabwean immigrants, South Africa's concern was that further deterioration in Zimbabwe would trigger a larger exodus.
In an interview with the Financial Times on Wednesday, South African President Thabo Mbeki said, "Zimbabweans have agreed to receive [UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan]. We all await the outcome of the intervention with regard to Zimbabwe. You need to normalise the relations between Zimbabwe and the rest of the world, so his [Annan's] interaction with the Zimbabwean government would be intended for those outcomes, including indicating what sort of assistance the UN would give."
The Zimbabwean authorities were quick to say the invitation had been revoked, reportedly fearing Annan's visit might be used to press Mugabe to step down.
"This is one of the things that the United Nations wants to get across: that assistance is being provided in an impartial way, without any association with a political position one way or the other. Our concern is to ensure that the most vulnerable, those whose livelihoods are most at risk for whatever reason, are being catered for," Chris Kaye, Regional Representative of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told IRIN.
The international community does have planning for Zimbabwe in place, drawn up in consultation with the Zimbabwe government, local NGO's and a number of UN agencies, to cover contingencies from epidemic outbreaks to a crack in the Kariba dam, but not including measures to rescue Zimbabwe from its present economic plight.
"The plans are not really that different from those in neighbouring countries. What is important is that we are prepared to deal with the consequences, whatever they may be, regardless of what the cause has been," Kaye said.
Transition in Zimbabwe would not be easy, said Hawkins. "Social and economic damage is not just long-term but permanent. It will take at least a dozen years to regain the living standards of the 1990s, and the price to be paid by future generations for the follies of their forefathers will be a heavy one."
After Mugabe, Zimbabwe Will Need Help
By Todd Moss and Stewart Patrick
Global Beat Syndicate
WASHINGTON—After a quarter century of his iron rule, it is hard to imagine life in Zimbabwe without Robert Mugabe. But that day is coming soon, and when it does, the international community will need to respond quickly. Even though Zimbabwe is not at war, international donors should be thinking about Zimbabwe's recovery as if it were.
The southern African country is on the verge of collapse, held together by Mugabe himself, and his regime's days are numbered. Although resilient and cunning, he is also 81-years old. Political tensions are high, the military is nervous, and the government is dead broke.
Led by Mugabe since its independence in 1980, Zimbabwe is now an international pariah. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lists it with places like Burma and North Korea as an “outpost of tyranny.” It has quit the Commonwealth and is on the brink of expulsion from the International Monetary Fund. Mugabe's rantings, including a recent tirade comparing George Bush and Tony Blair to Hitler and Mussolini, only further his isolation.
Once he is gone, a new government will face the tragic consequences of his misrule. Zimbabwe has suffered so much that it now shows extreme characteristics typical of a society emerging from violent conflict. State security forces and militias have terrorized civilians, committed gross human rights violations, and disrupted political opposition. The economy has shrunk by at least one-third since 2000—a meltdown worse than full-scale civil wars in Congo, Sierra Leone, or Ivory Coast. A few years ago Zimbabwe exported food. Today, up to half the population needs donations to survive. Unsurprisingly, one in three Zimbabweans have voted with their feet and fled the country.
Although it is impossible to predict what the political transition will bring, the United States and its allies must not get caught flat-footed. Mugabe's departure will create a “golden hour,” a brief window of opportunity to help set the country on the right path to sustainable peace and economic recovery. Setting up a plan, starting on the day after Mugabe's fall could be too late; the time to start contingency planning is now.
If the next government in Zimbabwe is sufficiently distanced from Mugabe and his cronies, the international community should launch a coordinated response that is both ample and agile. The main impetus for recovery will, of course, have to come from within Zimbabwe itself. But the major international donors—the World Bank, the IMF, UN agencies, and the British, American, and South African governments—will need to support the locally-owned recovery plans.
Given how far Zimbabwe has fallen, any recovery strategy should draw lessons from post-conflict reconstruction in places like Bosnia, East Timor, and Afghanistan. Because Zimbabwe's troubles are, at the core, political, getting the politics right is a necessary precondition. The international community can help smooth any transition by providing a “contact group” or helping establish a caretaker government. The donors can promote security and the rule of law by supporting reform of the police, military, intelligence services, and the courts. There may also be a need for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission or a war crimes tribunal, both of which could use external backing.
The economy will also have to be rebuilt. The immediate priority will be to provide food to the hungry, shelter to thousands displaced by their own government, and short-term assistance for those returning to start over. Donors can set up a Zimbabwe Reconstruction Trust Fund to coordinate external aid and assist the transitional government in drawing up sensible recovery plans. Pledging early and for a five-year recuperation period would also build momentum and raise the chances for success. Finding ways to raise farm productivity and generate employment will also be essential for both economic and political healing.
To get started, the Bush administration should direct the State Department to start considering options now. A Zimbabwe version of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba might also be useful. We should also begin working with allies, sharing information and strategy to ensure a more nimble and effective response.
There is no reason to keep these efforts secret. Diplomatic etiquette aside, there are benefits to making this an open and consultative exercise. Letting Zimbabwe's people know that they have not been forgotten and that the world stands ready to help once Robert Mugabe is gone could even help to bring about that day a bit sooner.
ABOUT THE WRITERS
Todd Moss and Stewart Patrick are research fellows at the independent Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. Patrick assisted Afghan reconstruction on the State Department’s policy planning staff from 2002-5. This article is based on “The Day After Comrade Bob: Applying Post-Conflict Recovery Lessons to Zimbabwe,” available on www.cgdev.org.
© 2005 The Center for War, Peace and the News Media. All Rights Reserved. The Global Beat Syndicate, a service of The Center for War, Peace, and the News Media, provides editors with commentary and perspective articles on critical global issues from contributors around the world. For more information, check out http://www.bu.edu/globalbeat/syndicate/.