Beyond Mugabe: Preparing for Zimbabwe’s Transition

Aug. 11, 2011, 10 p.m.

Beyond Mugabe: Preparing for Zimbabwe’s Transition was published by CSIS.  It looks at the current political situation in Zimbabwe and the various issues related to the transition of power after Robert Mugabe is no longer president.  There are major concerns that the transition will not be orderly.  The purpose of this paper is to look for solutions that will enable Zimbabwe to have an orderly transition to a democratic government.  One suggestion is for the US to work closely with South Africa and SADC to apply pressure for the transition to following the Road Map agreed to in April 2011.  The Road Map calls for the following: updated voter’s roll, an independent election commission, impartial election monitors, a new national constitution, and legal amendments ending restrictions on free speech and the freedom to assemble.  The US may need to lighten the current sactions in place in order to obtain measurable benchmarks.

One of the dangers to a smooth transition is the demise of Mugabe, who's health is poor and has prostate cancer, where those in line to succeed would not find it in their interest to give up power.  There are many different factions in Zimbabwe who have a vested interest in stopping a democratic transition.  The paper provides multiple different scenarios and potential outcomes along with suggestions for each scenario.  The author ends by providing policy options and recommendations.

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