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The Future of Zimbabwe: Prospects for Democracy and Economic Recovery

Recorded on January 25, 2008

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

The decline of Zimbabwe over the past decade is tragic.  When President Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980, Zimbabwe was rightly regarded as one of the bright lights in Africa.  President Mugabe inherited well-developed manufacturing and mining sectors, a competitive agricultural sector, a thriving tourist industry, and sound infrastructure.  Zimbabwe was also blessed with rich mineral resources and unique natural resources that led to a thriving tourist industry.  Beginning in the late 1990s, however, Mugabe began facing serious challenges to his authority.  In response to the growing opposition, he initiated a ruthless, seven-year campaign to maintain political power.  During that time, Mugabe has targeted his opponents for abuse, legal harassment, and economic punishment, and used his authority to reward allies.  Property rights and the rule of law have been severely weakened. Ruinous economic policies have led to hyper inflation and widespread poverty.

With elections scheduled for March 2008, what are the prospects for a free and fair poll?  What are the prospects for policy changes that would arrest the economic decline?  What are the prospects for long-term democracy and economic growth in Zimbabwe?  Please join us as The Honorable David Coltart, Shadow Justice Minister and Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe, weighs these questions.