Politics and Economics in Zimbabwe – War by other means?

This Paper is partly based on a presentation made at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington earlier this year.

THE BRENTHURST FOUNDATION
FINDING A WAY OUT OF THE CRISIS

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Published in May 2011 by:
The Brenthurst Foundation
www.thebrenthurstfoundation.org

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Nearly three years on from the signing of The Global Political Agreement (GPA), this Discussion Paper considers the options available to the key actors in Zimbabwe, internal and external, to rescue the current political impasse and avoid a repeat of the bloodshed and economic devastation of the 2000s.

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The Paper argues that the ‘traditional’ strategy followed by SADC and the AU, as embodied in the GPA, is no longer viable. Instead the Paper proposes a way forward that does not rely solely on external intervention nor places undue expectation on the MDC, whose performance in the Government of National Unity has fallen well short on a number of levels.

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9 May 2011, was the deadline for foreign-owned mining companies in Zimbabwe to submit plans to the government on how they plan to complete the indigenisation process, which specifies that majority-ownership of these firms must be surrendered to Zimbabweans.

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The potential consequences for foreign investment and business confidence in Zimbabwe are enormous. Worryingly, the differences between the opposition MDC and President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party over indigenisation, as well as other key policy areas, appear to have narrowed.

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Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town last week, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai voiced his support for indigenisation.

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‘Indigenisation is not about appropriation or nationalisation … it’s about setting fair value,’ he said. ‘Across the political divide’, Tsvangirai added, ‘we agree on the principle of citizenship empowerment… we have been consistent in the area of indigenisation.’

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This Paper calls for a renewed commitment by the opposition in Zimbabwe to reject the policies of patronage and plunder that have become entrenched under President Mugabe and instead build a credible and democratic alternative to ZANU-PF.  Even then, putting Zimbabwe onto a sustainable recovery path will also require more international pressure for reform and stronger regional leadership by South Africa.

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Read the full The Brenthurst Foundation discussion paper here