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.