The Day After Comrade Bob: Applying Post-Conflict Reconstruction Lessons to Zimbabwe
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.
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