This is an open invitation to the formation of a Commission for Assistance to a Free Zimbabwe(CAFZ)

The Political  and Economic Crisis in Zimbabwe is huge.Change seems to be on the horizon yet so far away .

Those who are familiar with the situation in Zimbabwe will know that when change eventually comes to Harare it will be fast and furious.Waiting for the day after the fall of Mugabe  could be too late.I am sure it is wise for us to draw a parallel with the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.So today I would like to invite you all fellow Zimbabweans and members of the international community who sympathise with the long suffering people of Zimbabwe to put our heads together to form the Commission for Assistance to a Free Zimbabwe.For more deliberations you can contact me at [email protected] or direct on 07753506719.

There are particular areas that CAFZ should put more emphasis on.

Laid out below is a framework for groups and international organisations to work on.It identifies priority actions to support a political transition and economic recovery.It also suggest immediate steps the donor community led by the U.K can take.

The reality of Mugabes misrule will be immediately faced by the new government that comes in after Mugabe and his henchmen are gone.Assuming that the new government will be distant from Mugabe,we seek to prepare to help this government to normalise internal and external relations.When the transition unfolds,CAFZ should not be caught flat footed.Like in most dictatorship situations,Mugabe’s departure is going to create a golden hour,a volatile situation in which expectations are high and multiple possibilities emerge.It is at this time that CAFZ and the international community should help set Zimbabwe on the right path to sustainable economic recovery,political stability and in turn peace.

1.  Zimbabwe’s problems are politically rooted.Getting the politics right is a necessary pre-condition for recovery.Political violence and the social trauma caused by the CIO,Gukurahundi and the paramilitaries(Green Bombers)should be addressed sooner than later.The CIO and the Green Bombers created high levels of suspicion and mistrust whilst Gukurahundi has fostered tribalism.The political transition is difficult to predict at the moment  but there is a reasonable chance that some kind of caretaker government may be desirable.The international community should be prepared to provide the political neutrality required for such  an arrangement.There will be a need to establish security  and the rule of law.Political reconciliation has to be fostered.Power institutions like the Zimbabwe National Army,Police and Central Intelligence Organisation will have to be reformed and restructured,vetting officers for past abuses and training officers for civilian policing and criminal justice,mainstreaming human rights and disbanding paramilitaries.(GB)If need be ,a truth and reconciliation type process should take place so that human rights abuses and  atrocities committed can be dealt with once and for all.Beneficiaries of corruption should also be investigated and assets acquired  should be recovered.This will to some extend create human insecurity, so the international community should be ready to intervene militarily  to ensure physical safety and public order.

2.Parallel with political reform,the economy needs a complete overhaul.Zimbabwe has since set a new record of inflation reaching over 2000% at the end of 2006.The economy shrunk drastically and 80% of the population is living below the poverty datum line.Humanitarian aid should be high on the agenda in the short and long term taking steps to avoid the dependency syndrome.

3.Over a third of Zimbabweans are living in the diaspora.There is need to facilitate an orderly repatriation of  those in the diaspora.Most of the capable Zimbabweans living abroad should be encouraged to go back home.Zimbabweans generally have very strong family ties and they would definitely want to go home.This is depicted by their desire to acquire properties  in Zimbabwe.Most Zimbabweans living abroad have experienced some form of democracy so their views will be moderate.Lets not underestimate the influence these people will have in the new Zimbabwe.They have also acquired skills,knowledge and experience which when channelled properly can help to change the labour laws,working attitudes and patterns.Some of these people are potential investors.Take for instance if a million retainees from Europe and the USA take home a £1000 each,that’s  a billion pounds liquid capital injection into an economy that desperately needs foreign currency.The donor community should ensure that its immigration and asylum laws are not creating barriers and disincentives to potential retainees or diaspora investors.Zimbabweans in the diaspora can play a bigger role in the rebuilding of their country,they should be encouraged to work.I hope political correctness is not going to overshadow these important factors and let this opportunity pass.

4.The economy has to be formalized as quickly as possible.There is a need to help formulate and implement a multidimensional economic recovery strategy..Prior to developing a comprehensive response plan the transitional authorities and representatives of the World Bank,IMF,UN agencies and select bilateral donors like Britain should undertake a joint assessment of Zimbabwe’s priority needs.This includes infrastructure deficit evaluations.This would help the transitional government to develop a comprehensive National Recostruction and Development Framework,setting out priorities and sequence for  a period say of five years.There is need to stabilize the macro economy,restore basic public services and generate jobs.Control of HIV/AIDS  is also essential.

5.The land has always been a big issue in the history of Zimbabwe.Land stock has to be done based on a wider consultation of all parties involved.

6.Private investment in banking,mining industry  and telecommunications will likely return on their own once the right business environment is restored.

7.Debts inherited from the Mugabe era should be treated separately and Zimbabwe should be considered for preferential trade access.

Zimbabwe is undergoing a bleak period of economic collapse and brutal authoritarian rule.Once Mugabe and bad company goes there is light at the end of the tunnel.If managed properly Zimbabwe will come out of this mess and regain its pride and integrity.There is no time to waste in developing a multilateral framework to respond to the transition that is unavoidably coming to Harare.

Gift Kasiyandima can be contacted by email and phone,details provided above.If you phone and does not get an immediate response please text me a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.Thanks for taking your time to read.

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