DFID's Assistance to Zimbabwe - International Development Committee Contents

Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers 1-20)


26 JANUARY 2010

  Q1  Chairman: Thank you very much for coming in. As I think you will know, the Committee is actually visiting Zimbabwe next week and we are obviously anxious to get your expertise and your views to help us focus our questions. Can I say that we have a particularly busy week as we are going away next week, so we are a little bit tight for time. We do want to hear from you, but perhaps if you could be reasonably crisp with your answers; not all of you have to comment on every question, but do tell us what you think we need to know. If we can start with the general political situation, which is clearly complicated. The Government of National Unity has been in existence for coming on for a year. Obviously there has been dollarization of the economy which seems to have led to some recovery, and there is some indication that there are things in the shops; that schools are functioning, and so on. However, from your perspective what do you believe is the current political and economic situation; and how firmly is the Global Political Agreement embedded? It has had a pretty rocky road; so if you could give us a take on that? I should have asked you, for the record, to introduce yourselves, so if you could do that first?

Mr Steinberg: I am Donald Steinberg and I am Deputy President for Policy of the International Crisis Group.

  Dr Kibble: Steve Kibble, representing the Zimbabwe Europe Network.

  Professor Brett: Teddy Brett from the London School of Economics.

  Mr Steinberg: Mr Chairman, when Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC decided to join the Unity Government last January I think a lot of people said that he was setting himself up for a fall; that he was simply the latest victim of Robert Mugabe's attempt to divide and conquer and that the Government of National Unity was doomed from the word go. In the year since that Government was formed we have seen enough evidence to justify the views of sceptics but enough evidence as well to justify the faith that Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and others had in that process. We have indeed seen a solidification of the economic situation—very little new growth but stability, a currency that is stable, goods returning to market places. We are seeing a Government of National Unity that performs after a fashion; we have seen the creation of a plan for national reconstruction that has worked to at least convince international donors that something serious is going on here. At the same time we have seen a continuation of farm seizures—about 150 during the course of the last year; we have seen a continuation of intimidation; we have seen hard line elements within ZANU-PF in particular stifle the working of this Government. So the question is: are you seeing a process that is moving towards a successful conclusion or are we about to see the process fall apart? I think that there are three formal challenges that we have to see met and three informal challenges. Just very quickly, on the formal side we have to see completion of the Global Political Agreement. There are a number of key steps that have to proceed. We have seen some good movement, both in terms of formation of the Government and formation of committees on human rights, on the media, on electoral processes, but the record is still very mixed. We have not seen the National Security Council, for example, take over the security dimension from the heinous Joint Operations Command; we have not seen the appointment of MDC governors; we have not seen a resolution of the issues regarding the Chairman of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, or the Attorney General. So that is a real question. The second formal challenge is to complete the constitution. There is a process underway right now; it is stalling for the time being but I think there are some relatively good signs out there that people understand that this is not a process that can be run exclusively by the Executive and by the legislature. It is a people-orientated process—or at least it should be. There are other signs that the Kariba Draft, which is the anti-democratic executive power structure draft that was agreed to before, is being put aside and that would be a positive element. On the elections, I think there is an emerging view that 2011 would be too soon to hold elections and we as the International Crisis Group would support that view. We believe that holding premature elections, allowing politics to reassert themselves at this point would be a somewhat dangerous process. I think the MDC is coming to that view as well, both as they try to show the people of Zimbabwe that they are reasonable stewards of the public domain, and also they are very concerned about how the military would react to the election of the MDC at that point, which I think is a forgone conclusion. On the ZANU-PF side, they are not anxious to hold elections right now. A recent poll showed that they have about 10% of the vote; they have geriatric leadership; they are not viewed as a change agent; and they are not particularly excited about going to the polls at this point. Chairman, those are the three formal challenges. The three informal challenges are: on the first hand there is a need for political maturity in this process; both parties have to recognise that even as they are competitors in the political arena they are partners both in the Unity Government and in building the future of Zimbabwe, and on that front we are going to have to see some radical changes within ZANU-PF. It is very difficult as long as Robert Mugabe is at the helm, but there are movements beneath him—especially Vice President Joice Mujuru's movement. And at the same time the MDC recognises that they have to prove themselves to the people of Zimbabwe as reasonable stewards, not corrupt, able to run a government. The second challenge is the security side. There are a dozen or so generals who have veto power over this transition process. It is a very dangerous phenomenon; it is the reason why MDC is not anxious to see a transform and transfer of power right now. I think that Zimbabweans are coming to the conclusion that some sort of soft landing is necessary to move these generals on during this transition process. The final challenge that we are looking at is the challenge of rebuilding the economy. Even as we look at the very significant changes that have occurred over the last year we still see 90% unemployment; we still see an agricultural sector that this year is probably likely to produce 40% to 50% of average crops. We still see a manufacturing sector that cannot get electricity and basic raw materials, and we still see an international community that is sceptical about the process; that is not going to come in with major amounts of investment or aid unless some positive developments occur. So, again, a very mixed picture at this point.

  Q2  Chairman: Perhaps you could pick up different points.

  Dr Kibble: Yes. I think one of the interesting things is that the dollarization of the economy means that ZANU-PF networks are unable to be served by inflationary money printing like they were in the past, which is a step forward if you like. My major concern is the fact that the militarisation of the state that occurred over the last 10 years has really not significantly been challenged—something at which Donald hinted there. To be honest, I do not think that the nature of the state has changed at all; it is still a kleptocratic state with a certain amount of what you might call social democratic interventions in the economy. To that extent I am probably slightly more pessimistic than Donald, but do see that the continued existence of the Government of National Unity-inclusive Government is actually a plus. But the major decisions have still to be confronted, in my opinion.

  Professor Brett: I think that was a very useful summary of the situation. I am just as pessimistic as Steve. It seems to me that the nature of the situation at the moment is that it is an intrinsically unstable situation—it is an interim situation because basically ZANU's objective is to recapture power, and in the memo I sent to you if you look at the fifth party conference that has just taken place they are absolutely intransigent; they are totally opposed to the GPA; they are going to resist every possible concession they have to make because basically they simply do not accept the legitimacy of the MDC or the democratic process. Any call for political maturity in a context of a situation governed by gangsters and crooks who have stolen half the assets of the country—each of these army officers has his political power and has used his political power to amass huge estates and so on—the notion that somehow they are going to be willing to give this up voluntarily as a result of the democratic process is simply unjustifiable. So I think this is an argument for the postponement possibly of that electoral process because the whole process of the political conflict right now is on the fact that at the next election the MDC will, if it is a free and fair election, come to power; and that will threaten the whole structure of economic power that has been built up through this process and through the fact that the state has been allocating resources to ZANU cronies and these ZANU cronies are threatened with losing their assets, for example if there is a land reform process that the MDC introduces, because all this land that has been used by these military officers is lying unused and it is one of the reasons why Zimbabwe is dependent on food aid now. So I think the critical problem is that one has to see this as an interim situation and one has to recognise that within the next two or three years there is going to be a really major crisis that has to be confronted. My own expertise started in Uganda. In Uganda in 1987 the new Government that took over could take over and not confront this problem because it won a civil war; because it destroyed the power of the existing military apparatus. This is not the case in Zimbabwe and that is the central political problem—that you have a military-economic complex of business people who have their resources out of the power of the state that actually will confront losing those resources if they lose genuine political power, and that seems to me to be the medium-term crisis that we have to confront when we think about dealing with that situation.

  Q3  Hugh Bayley: A question for Donald Steinberg. You have said that there is a risk that donors will doom the Government of National Unity. The problem is this: we are damned if we do and we are damned if we do not. If we provide aid we may strengthen ZANU-PF's hand and delay the process of reform; if we stand back we may expose the reformists' weakness or inability to deliver. So what should donors do in the situation we are in now, after a year of Unity Government?

  Mr Steinberg: The second threat that you identified I think is a more real threat than the first. People in Zimbabwe know that the only thing that has changed over the last year is the entry of the MDC into Government and therefore to the extent that there are positive things that are emerging the MDC gets most of the credit for that. We are now facing a situation where that first round of euphoria is about to disappear. We are, for example, seeing the possibility in February of massive civil service strikes, from teachers, from nurses, from doctors. The biggest sign that Zimbabwe was back on the road was the opening of schools, the opening of hospitals. The reason that these civil servants are about to go on strike is that they are being paid $160 a month. They are saying that that is not even enough to go to work every day. They are demanding $620 a month; the Government is saying, "We can pay $263." The bottom line is that schools are going to close, hospitals are going to close and MDC is going to be painted with the same brush that ZANU-PF is—"What have you done for me?" This is the biggest threat to the MDC right now because they are being perceived with either, "Have you gone over to the other side? Are you now Government as opposed to civil society with the people?" And the concerns that we are starting to hear about corruption are tainting them as well. So for me the clear answer here is to provide resources through clean mechanisms, including the Multi-Donor Trust Fund, which the IMF has in effect certified as being worthy of receiving $500 million of their funds; to do it in line with the Finance Ministry, to clearly put aside the Reserve Bank, which has been tainted, which is discredited, which, even in the past year when everybody has been watching, has taken millions of dollars and transferred them from reserve accounts into funding presidential scholarships and foreign diplomatic missions, et cetera—so continuing the policies of the past. The one footnote I would put is that in order to encourage movement by ZANU-PF, sanctions have to stay in place on a personal basis. So what we are arguing for is targeted assistance but targeted sanctions as well.

  Q4  Hugh Bayley: A few months ago I had quite a long conversation with Lovemore Moyo[1] and he was encouraging a greater British engagement but was cautious of using aid to fund government services. Of course you can provide food aid through NGOs and you can provide HIV clinics and so on without engaging the Government; but to do what you are proposing, to fund schools, to put in train economic reform, to provide a network of state health services, you have to fund the Government. So how doable is that? Do you have to pick and choose government departments? And how then do you avoid the risk of favouring one candidate who got 50% of the vote as opposed to another who got 50% of the vote, which is I guess how it would be portrayed over there?

  Mr Steinberg: The Government of Zimbabwe has helped in this regard by indeed setting up the Multi-Donor Trust Fund, by putting together a policy through the Finance Ministry that is clean, that has been shown to be effective so far, and so it is not a question of you as the foreign government picking and choosing and you will support a ministry led by an MDC minister but not one by a hard line ZANU-PF minister, but to simply support the process. I would say that the line does already get a little blurred here because if you go, for example, into sanitation projects by definition you have to provide resources that in some sense are fungible, that are going to be able to pay the salaries or the stipends of those people doing those projects. The same is true of agricultural development. We had focused in the past on this phrase "humanitarian plus" assistance, until I think most of us realised that humanitarian plus really just meant reconstruction if you define it broadly enough and it became a phrase that had no meaning. So I understand the concern but I would also say that at some point we are going to have to realise that if you want to sideline the hardliners and you want to give that country a peace dividend that will inure to the benefit of the democratic process then we are going to have to bite the bullet as an international community and support these projects.

  Q5  Hugh Bayley: Can I ask Professor Brett whether you share that analysis and, in particular, should aid have been targeted on the MDC and other progressive civil organisations?

  Professor Brett: I think that phrase "targeted support" and "targeted sanctions" is an extremely good way of describing the issue and of course that means that basically you need to give the aid and you need to, in a sense, give it to somebody who has the capacity to know how it can be used effectively, by whom, who to give it to and who not to give it to. I would want to reinforce the proposition that at this stage, given that we have a very small window of opportunity that depends upon the MDC being able to come into partial power and deliver something, that it is absolutely critical that that process be given maximum support. I also take the point that it has to take the form of tangible service delivery. I would also go on to say that while the current mode of delivering most of our aid via NGOs has been a necessity because it has not been possible to give money to either the Ministry of Health or Education under ZANU without expecting it to be simply stolen, we do need to start creating the opportunity to reconstruct state capacity with the delivery of free services, health services, education services and so on. I am not in touch with what is going on in this government collective. If it is in fact in a position to do this and to identify those sorts of things most critically, what one wants is to be able to say, "We are going to give"—whatever it is—"£5 million to rebuild hospitals." And to be able to give that in a cast-iron way so that we can actually track that money and show that that £5 million ended up in new hospitals rather than in somebody's bank account. So what seems to me to be the issue is that you have to start building real relationships with particular ministries, which hopefully will be run by MDC but even if they are not run by MDC, even if they are run by ZANU officials, to give them the money in a way which makes it possible to be sure that it is going to be spent on what it is supposed to be spent on. There is always a fungibility problem which is that that money will free something else. That problem is not so strong in Zimbabwe because the Zimbabwe state actually has no other resources to spend anything on; so the money that you are giving it would not have been spent on hospitals and it is not going to free up anything that is going to go into the pocket of some ZANU politician or general, and that seems to me to be the critical issue. We have to say that we need to support obvious candidates. Health and sanitation systems—two years ago thousands or people were threatened by or died of cholera because sanitation systems had collapsed. Of course that means that you also have to strengthen state capacity; you have to be able to offer civil servants a living wage because if you do not offer them a living wage they are not going to come to work.

  Q6  Hugh Bayley: Can I ask one final question? If one tends to favour or concentrate aid resources on MDC-led ministries how should Britain then avoid the neo-colonial accusation; that we are picking which leader and which team should run our former colony? There are plenty of people in Africa outside of Zimbabwe as well as in Zimbabwe who would say that. And to what extent should we be putting our aid in bilaterally or through multilateral agencies, and if it goes through multilateral agencies do we avoid that charge to some extent?

  Professor Brett: There is a problem—and I tried to lay it out in my paper—that basically what we want to do is to make it possible for the MDC to take over Zimbabwe. Basically Zimbabwe is going nowhere without regime change and whether we say that out loud or whether we say it quietly that actually seems to me to be the fundamental prerequisite for the reconstruction of Zimbabwe—that ZANU loses its capacity to control policy. Obviously that creates a serious problem around issues of sovereignty and our role, which is particularly sensitive in Zimbabwe because of the whole neo-colonial story that has been used by Mugabe and others to keep himself in power. Despite the fact that that is what we are doing I think in relation to this issue it is possible to simply present this very clearly not as an issue of supporting MDC ministries, but of supporting particular kinds of basic essential services. We know that Zimbabweans are now living half as long as they were 40 years ago because of the collapse of health services and all these other kinds of things. So what we need to do is to develop a coherent strategy for the reconstruction of basic merit good services—a pro-poor service delivery strategy. We need to present that and we need to design mechanisms for delivering it on the basis of consultation with particular ministries; based on sanctions that we can use if we see that those things are not being delivered properly. Whether the minister in charge of the ministry is ZANU-PF or MDC is not going to be the criterion that you are going to use to do that. I guess—and, again, I have to admit that I do not know who controls which ministry—my sense is that ZANU-PF's people have gone into the security side and into agriculture because that is what they want to control to stay in power. I suspect they have handed over some of the health and so on, the social security ministries to MDC, in which case we do not have a problem—we will end up and say we want to spend this much on health, this much on education, this much on sanitation and so on and we will go to the ministries concerned and build a process for doing that with them, and possibly try to talk about creating some systems of administrative reform that create incentives that give officials money if they deliver services rather than if they put it in their pocket. There are all sorts of ways in which one can address that issue. Whether you do it multilaterally or bilaterally is another issue. Frankly, I am not all that concerned about being tarred with the neo-colonial brush. What comes to my mind is a conversation which I had with a young man who was trying to sell me a nine-foot highcrested crane made out of metal—very beautiful and nobody was buying it—and I said to him, "I am English," and he said, "What is wrong with your Mr Blair? Your Mr Blair has gone into Iraq and got rid of the dictator there; why has he not come here and done it for us?" I suspect that is a view that would be very widely held in the townships of Zimbabwe. That is a story that is being told by Mugabe and I do not think it carries much weight now, particularly since handing over the land to the people means handing it over to generals who are now starving the people to death. So I think we should not be too sensitive about that issue. But I do think that by developing a well targeted and well organised and well thought through programme of supporting services through the state and building state capacity by doing this we can actually to some extent deal with that problem. As I say, the bilateral/multilateral for me would be a practical issue; I would want to know just how effective that bi/multilateral programme was. They can often be relatively inefficient and I have to say I have a prejudice against the United Nations as a service delivery organisation. Whenever I have done research—and I have done a lot of research on practical issues—the quality of DFID projects has always been significantly higher by a factor of several percentage points than any UN project that I have seen. So that is a prejudice of my own. Again, I think that that is something you would have to look at and ask yourselves, "Can we see whether that process is an effective one or not?"

  Chairman: I am conscious of time and I know that Dr Kibble wants to come in, but if he does not mind can I bring in John Battle because it is a related thing, and if Dr Kibble could come back to us.

  Q7  John Battle: In the background of this in my mind is the whole question of corruption because Transparency International suggests that corruption is now a major challenge, not just organisational, but economic and political. Obviously corruption would keep donors away. What is the scale of the corruption? What are the worst areas affected and its impacts? And what should Zimbabwe be doing to reassure the international donors it is a place to which they could send their money?

  Dr Kibble: Transparency International reckons that Zimbabwe is the eleventh most corrupt nation in the world at the current time, despite the fact that there has been an anti-corruption unit since 2005 and despite the fact that Zimbabwe signed up to the various SADC[2] and AU[3] protocols on anti-corruption. In a sense the question you are asking is not just the kind of epiphenomenal stuff, it is the fact that it is embedded into the culture now and has become so widespread that it is actually part of the normal transaction system. So you have a severe problem in trying to combat this and it is not going to be an easy one. The two things go together in terms of the kleptocracy of the regime and the human rights abuses that are associated with it. So in that sense you are seeking a kind of transition and we are not even in post-conflict yet—we are still looking at transition. There are certain mechanisms that Teddy has hinted at in terms of immediate delivery of services and tracking revenues. My only proviso with that is that of course for many people Tsvangirai missed a trick when he accepted that the permanent civil servants, the secretaries, all the people staffing the ministries remain as ZANU-PF appointments, which means that you have a major problem not just of delivery but of even any kind of acceptance that this is a legitimate thing for outside donors to be doing. But there are groups inside Zimbabwe like ZIG Watch of the Sokwanele NGO tracking Government performance, they are looking at the whole issues of transparency; and to some extent there is awareness as the process goes that corruption is always there. For instance, the constitutional outreach teams are supposed to be about 560 strong but ZANU-PF Women's League suddenly jumped in there and all of a sudden there are 1,000 people involved. So the Constitutional Commission then has to do its own audit, which if it actually produces something will be a first for Zimbabwe for several years. A number of audits have taken place but no action has ever been taken against perpetrators of either human rights' abuses or, indeed, of massive plundering of state assets. So there are things that outside donors can do. There are certainly questions of supporting civil society organisations that are looking at transparency issues and Transparency International still has an office inside Zimbabwe, I believe.

  Mr Steinberg: If I could address that as well because there is also a context here of a decade or more of absolute lack of accountability and transparency and I would again like to focus on the Central Bank where essentially the answer was that if you wanted to fund anything or anybody you just printed money. They invented things called the Productive Sector Facility, the Basic Commodity Supply Side Intervention, the Local Authorities' Reorientation Programme, which were just ways to print money and give it to your cronies. As long as the Central Bank Governor remains in place there is a clear sense that it is business as usual. They have passed legislation that has put a fence around the Central Bank and it is now literally broke. It is being sued by suppliers because they simply do not have resources.

  Q8  Chairman: Is the Central Bank the Reserve Bank?

  Mr Steinberg: Right; I am using the terms interchangeably. The fence around the Reserve Bank is a good thing because this is an organisation that, even in this last year, the IMF has reported has used $16 million of statutory reserves to pay for embassies, to pay for presidential scholarships for friends of Robert Mugabe, to pay for trips for 55 people to attend a World Food Programme Summit in Rome. So you need to attack that. The other point I would make is that the MDC has been very aware of its need to avoid the taint of corruption. There are cases right now that are floating around but they have been very quick to jump in to establish codes of conduct, to establish committees, to investigate that situation because, again, they need to prove that they are different and that they are not going to be simply falling for any Animal Farm type exercise and adopting the practices of ZANU-PF.

  Q9  Andrew Stunell: You have painted a very bleak picture—I am sure quite rightly. There has been huge migration out of Zimbabwe to neighbouring countries and clearly that affects the relationship of those countries with Zimbabwe. Can you say something about those developing relations there, particularly with South Africa, and the links between those countries and Zimbabwe in terms of unravelling things for the future?

  Dr Kibble: Funnily enough, the last time I gave evidence to a parliamentary committee was to the Foreign Affairs Committee, specifically on the issue of why South Africa behaves towards Zimbabwe as it does; so I will put that on the record and I can always send you the relevant documentation.

  Q10  Andrew Stunell: We can take a second look at what you said there.

  Dr Kibble: The migration issue is a complex one. A number of people have tried to document the number of people who have actually left Zimbabwe, and you can either do this by trying to count them or you can do it by extrapolating from what you think the population would have been, bearing in mind the HIV and AIDS epidemic, et cetera. Largely speaking there seems to be some kind of calculation that up to three million Zimbabweans have left the country and they are currently in South Africa, Botswana and what is also known as Harare North, ie London and Luton. The general problem has been not just xenophobia from South Africa, although that has been a major problem—although that is not just targeting Zimbabweans—but I think the major problem has been the refusal to see this as anything other than economic migrants. So the treatment of Zimbabweans inside the region has been that of, "These people are only coming to seek jobs and it is nothing to do with the current crisis inside Zimbabwe." So there has been a disjuncture, I think, between SADC attempts to try to solve the problem politically and to some extent judicially around Zimbabwe and the kind of reaction that is often quite a populist reaction to the numbers of Zimbabweans actually inside Southern African regional countries. This goes against the kind of support that those nations gave to the anti-apartheid struggle inside South Africa and the liberation movement inside Zimbabwe. It is very costly to deport lots and lots of Zimbabweans every day when 35% turn round immediately and go back in again. So you have a whole problem of cross-border traders, economic migrants, political refugees all being lumped together, and if you do not have refugee status then your treatment cannot be under the specific international conventions that deal with refugees. So the problem continues and it may be that with the World Cup coming up in South Africa that there will be a greater appreciation of how to actually deal with this economic situation that has caused Zimbabweans to leave when they would much prefer to stay in their own country.

  Professor Brett: If I could take up the second half of your question, which was the political implications of relationships with the SADC community and South Africa in particular. Of course that has been one of the central questions that has been asked right through the last decade, which is to say given that the ZANU regime has clearly, from the beginning of this century, been breaking every rule in the book—it has been rigging elections and all of those kinds of things—why is it that ZANU has had almost 100% support from the region? The only pressure that was applied to them by Mbeki when he was President of South Africa was this notion that he had to have soft diplomacy because if you did not have that he was not going to be listened to at all and therefore he argued, probably legitimately, that if he tried to put any real pressure on ZANU to change its behaviour he would simply have been marginalised. That might have been true but of course the question is the extent to which either South Africa, or South Africa in collaboration with the other countries in the region that take leadership from South Africa, would be willing to recognise the two kinds of damages that Zimbabwe is doing to them. The one damage is very clearly economic and social, which is to say that they are confronted with three million people who are semi-indigent wandering around towns doing unpleasant things. When I lived in Johannesburg a couple of years ago one of my friends said that these two old ladies were locked up in a bathroom for half a day because a bunch of Zimbabweans had broken into their house in Johannesburg and stolen things from them, so that whole bunch of people without real incomes are a massive problem in the region. Of course the whole loss of the Zimbabwe economy—Zimbabwe used to be the major player after South Africa in the regional economy and all of that has gone—has imposed huge losses on everybody in that region. And we can see that those are clearly associated with political immoralities of various sorts and kinds. The damage that ZANU has done to the Zimbabwean people is infinitely greater than the damage that Smith did to the Zimbabwean people; during the Smith UDI[4] regime the Zimbabwe economy grew 7% a year. This lot have basically killed half the population or forced them to leave. So you have that political question and of course that political question is deeply difficult because this whole thing happened during the period when Mbeki was talking about the new African renaissance and African states were going to police each other's actions. He then has Zimbabwe that broke every rule in the book for their programme that was set up and yet he went in and connived with this; so there is a huge loss of credibility of African governments.

  Chairman: Can I bring in Richard Burden because there is a specific question arising out of that and it might be helpful to get that in.

  Q11  Richard Burden: It is really about where there looks like or there could be some hope of pressures, particularly through the SADC—and I am thinking of the SADC Tribunal last year, which found in favour of the cases being brought and we are aware of the specific case of Mike Campbell and so on; but the implications are of 79 white farmers and potentially a lot more than that in terms of land seizure generally. What is happening about this? It was November 2008 that all of this happened; so where does it go from here?

  Mr Steinberg: Step back for a second and focus on the transition in South Africa because we really have seen a much different approach under Jacob Zuma than we did under Thabo Mbeki. Jacob Zuma has taken his three top advisers and put them directly on the account and these people include Mac Maharaj, who has the greatest revolutionary credentials in the world; he cannot be out-revolutionised by Robert Mugabe. No one is going to accuse Jacob Zuma of being a tool of the West. He went into Maputo following the decision of Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from the Government and read the riot act to Robert Mugabe in private, such that we have heard that Mugabe was shocked. He went back and within several weeks you had an electoral commission established; you had a human rights commission established; you had a media commission established. South Africa is paying attention to this issue at this point and is applying the kind of pressure that we are talking about. They need to continue to do that, and I would argue—and this addresses the previous comment—that they need to do it with the co-operation of the international community. The easiest way to avoid charges of neo-imperialism is to say that SADC negotiated this Global Political Agreement; they are the guarantors of the agreement—"Mr Zuma, working in cooperation with you, how can we help this process move ahead?" That is the single answer to charges of British national interests overweighing these processes. The answer to your specific question about the Tribunal's decision is that the current Government of Zimbabwe, the Attorney General remains a ZANU-PF hardliner, who has basically thwarted the rule of law, who got his Government to essentially say, "This has no meaning for us," and it is now up to SADC to put its foot down and to say, "Yes, it does and we are starting to talk about issues of suspension from SADC if you do not obey the judgment of a ruling to which you were a party."

  Q12  Richard Burden: But it is some time ago now—it was November 2008, the Tribunal decision, and it was probably clear before then about what the response was going to be and that the Zimbabwean legal team walked out even before the decision was there. So what are the vibes coming from South Africa?

  Mr Steinberg: I will let Dr Kibble address it, but the one thing I will say is that we are not yet in a situation in Zimbabwe where the rule of law applies; it is still a situation where the rule of power applies and that is part of the reason we are so committed to this transition and, frankly, in my mind, one of the reasons why we need to see the movement of Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana out of the positions that they currently occupy.

  Dr Kibble: In terms of the SADC Tribunal, that decision in the Campbell case was November 2008. The Zimbabwe High Court has shown no great willingness to follow up the judgment. It has said it will do it in due course. It is interesting that if you look on the positive side you might say that the SADC judicial process it is actually going much further than the SADC political process. Most of the cases that have come before the SADC Tribunal so far have been to do with Zimbabwe. There is currently a case outstanding from the Human Rights NGO Forum about torture victims. So in that sense at least the SADC Tribunal under the registrar Charles Mkandawire, who is trying to push things along, has been quite a positive move. The problem is that of course SADC is the ultimate court—the SADC Council of Ministers is the ultimate court to actually bring those decisions to fruition. You can get a decision through the SADC Tribunal—fine, you get a legal judgment—but there is no mechanism for the SADC Tribunal to actually put that into practice without the SADC political organisations taking part, and that bit is obviously much trickier. The fact that the judgment exists is an interesting one and the counter factual, that if that Tribunal had found in favour of the Zimbabwe Government, you cannot imagine that that would not have been celebrated by ZANU-PF as a success. So the picture is fairly mixed on that one. The North Gauteng Court currently has a case from Afri-Forum, which is a South African NGO that works on land issues in terms of making sure that that decision by the Tribunal becomes part of South African law, which will mean that if Zimbabwe is found to be in default of the SADC Tribunal its assets inside South Africa could theoretically at least be seized.

  Mr Steinberg: If I could just say that the critical point about the ZANU Government is that it will never do anything that it does not want to do unless it is absolutely forced to do so. So the critical question is what sanctions could SADC use to push these things through? And is it politically willing to actually do that?

  Q13  Chairman: Can I take that forward, on both SADC and the UN, on the issue of internally displaced people? We get very mixed reports—the Government say there are none and others say that there are hundreds and thousands of people migrating backwards and forwards across the border. I think actually in the discussion after we watched the film the point that was being made was that nobody knows because these are under the control of ZANU-PF and you cannot actually get at them, but they are also the means by which they can secure victory in future elections—by forcing people to vote the right way or not vote at all—by stopping them voting for anything other than ZANU-PF. The local NGOs are saying that the UN should be doing something about this; there should be some direct action; that we should be able to reach these people and we should be able to support these people. What in reality could be done?

  Dr Kibble: 2005 saw Operation Murambatsvina "drive out the filth" in some versions, or "restore order" in others, in which 750,000 people were directly affected and one and a half million at least indirectly affected, and there was the report by the UN Special Rapporteur, Anna Tibaijuka, pointing out that this was a major human rights abuse. Since then we have also had the displacement from March to June 2008 associated with Operation Mavhoterapapi, which was about displacing MDC supporters—burning their houses, torture, rape and mayhem in general. So the internal displacement issue has never gone away and the impacts of it are still not being dealt with to any great extent, certainly not by the Government. The reason for these kinds of displacements are the subject of debate, but one reason is possibly the idea of driving MDC supporters from urban areas into rural areas where they are more under the control of the local ZANU-PF command structures and local Joint Operations Command.

  Professor Brett: There is an earlier displacement, of course, because something like a quarter of a million agricultural workers were displaced off commercial farms when they were expropriated. I was told when I was doing research in 2004 by a woman at the IFO that within five years of that displacement something like 50,000 of those people had died from neglect, disease and all of those things. The problem is that when people are displaced like that they do not go off as a group and appear somewhere as a million displaced people; they disappear off the farms and they just become part of the great army of the unemployed who are, in any case, 90% of the population. It is an interesting issue of whether somebody who has been displaced forcibly by the Government or somebody who simply lost his job because the whole economy has collapsed has the greater problems and greater needs. I think that that is an issue which could be addressed specifically as something we might want to target as a donor agency. I think it would be precisely the sort of thing that might be given to an international NGO to manage if one wanted to do that. But I think more broadly the problems of somebody who has lost his job as a result of economic crisis is not all that different from the problems of somebody who has lost his job because of some specific political event. So it is that bigger issue that we have to address: how do we put resources in that get the economy back to work so that we can create real employment for millions of people?

  Q14  Chairman: But in this insane situation is it not the case in reality that ZANU are very happy for these people either to disappear or to be forced into the rural areas which they control? In a normal situation these people would be voting for some change so they are either not voting at all or they are voting for things to stay the same because they are beaten into submission to do so. So how on earth does the international community break that log-jam?

  Mr Steinberg: One of the keys here is to reduce the power of these forces that you are talking about and we are absolutely convinced that so long as you have a dozen senior leaders who, as we have talked about before, see their personal stake and the continuation of this regime as paramount then they will do what is necessary to keep themselves there. These are generals, senior security officials who have a series of personal motivations. Some truly believe that Tsvangirai will sell out the revolution and they have revolutionary fervour and do not want to see it returned to the good old days of Ian Smith. Others are very concerned about their personal wealth because, indeed, they have accumulated great wealth. Others are very concerned about justice being applied to them because some were in fact involved not only in the electoral abuses that we have seen over the past couple of years but going all the way back to the 1980s and their actions in Matabeleland, which most people would acknowledge is either genocide or crimes against humanity. So they are very concerned and will continue to use their power to thwart a transition process. They recognise that time is against them; they recognise that ZANU-PF in a recent poll got 10% support from the Zimbabwean people—a very credible poll in fact. So our view is that something has to be done to get those Generals to move on. It is a very disagreeable option to look at a possible amnesty, a domestic amnesty, a question of arranging a soft landing for the individuals—it is not one that we like to talk about. But it is one that the Zimbabweans themselves are talking about; they are talking about, "Are we really going to allow a dozen people to have the veto power on our future?" So I would urge the Committee to think about talking with people about those questions. Again, it is for the Zimbabweans to decide, not the international community, but they need to be able to legitimise that conversation.

  Professor Brett: Can I say that this leads directly into the issue of managing the next election because all of these problems manifest themselves in attempts to control politics, control voting and all of those kinds of things; so I think all of the issues around how the next election is going to be managed, who is going to manage it, the forms that it is going to take, how you are going to avoid abuses and how you are going to monitor it, those issues need to be addressed and they need to be addressed in co-operation with people in the region because it is much more credible to bring in monitors from South Africa than from here.

  Q15  Richard Burden: A credible register would be a difficulty, would it not?

  Professor Brett: That whole issue is a major issue and, as I say, I think it is something on which you need to take a general position and think about what sorts of things can be put into that. The second point I would make just in terms of what you do when you get to Zimbabwe, it is very important for you to try to get close to and have serious conversations with ZANU people as well as MDC people because I think the other possible thing that might turn the situation around is the fact that ZANU as a political organisation is deeply divided. There are probably people in ZANU who do realise the enormity of the problem that confronts them and the critical point coming up is if ZANU can be split—and ZANU is clearly under huge stress, the last congress was one of the most divisive that has ever existed and even Mugabe publicly came out and said, "We are being destroyed from within"—and it is important to get a sense of what is going on inside ZANU to see whether there are possibilities from inside that you could build a much more reasonably broad-based Government that included some of ZANU without ZANU being in control.

  Q16  Hugh Bayley: One of the other things that affects the electoral process is the number of Zimbabweans living abroad. I have had MDC people say to me, "You are just absorbing all our voters." To what extent are migrants deterred from returning to Zimbabwe by the economic situation and to what extent are they deterred through fear of political reprisals?

  Dr Kibble: There was a judgment by the Immigration Tribunal here called RN that anybody who could not demonstrably show support for ZANU-PF was at least theoretically at risk if returned to Zimbabwe. So the British Government—given that is a Tribunal decision—has had to reconcile that with its desire to get rid of migrants as much as possible. So people are scared of what is going to happen to them if they return to either their area or an area under the control of a ZANU-PF chief who does not know who these people are and they (these chiefs) will be suspicious and will report to security structures. There is that element of fear of the political consequences of returning. One of the reasons that Tsvangirai was barracked at Southwark Cathedral when he said that it was time for Zimbabweans to go home was precisely because people were extremely vulnerable and extremely aware of what was to face them if they were returned to Zimbabwe. Undoubtedly people are here because they cannot make a living inside Zimbabwe, but I think the political imperative of them remaining here still remains much the same as it has been for the last two years.

  Q17  Hugh Bayley: What do you estimate in the number of Zimbabweans living currently in other countries in Southern Africa and the numbers in "Harare North"?

  Dr Kibble: Harare North, if you include Luton! I do not think that anybody really has a complete handle on it, but certainly between three and four million Zimbabweans inside Southern Africa—overwhelmingly in South Africa but some in Botswana, a few in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. The population here has been estimated at between 100,000 and 200,000, of whom some are undoubtedly illegal over-stayers, some have residency rights and some have refugee status. Those are the figures I have heard. I have no independent backup on those figures whatsoever, and it would be an interesting piece of research to find out. The whole issue—because of necessity certain people are overstaying on student visas and visitors' visas—is clouded with a certain mystification.

  Q18  Hugh Bayley: These people are disproportionately professionals and skilled or semi-skilled workers. What impact does that absence have on the economy of Zimbabwe? And if one has to provide economic progress to create the conditions for political progress, what can be done to help those who can return to return?

  Dr Kibble: I think Donald wants to come in, but just to say that if all the Zimbabwean nurses could return home and all the teachers currently teaching in South Africa that would make a major boost to the reconstruction of Zimbabwe.

  Mr Steinberg: I was going to start by making that same point, that you have indeed seen, even over the last year, a brain drain that is leaving not only the social sectors that we are talking about, but the manufacturing sector, the agricultural sector, the mining sector as well, which brings up the larger question of how do you restore this economy? Indeed, I do believe that the key to getting three to four million people back from the region and the key to getting people elsewhere in the world back is to give them economic opportunities. What that insists upon is not only completing the Global Political Agreement so that people know that this process is in fact going to take place, but you have to remember what happened in October when Morgan Tsvangirai temporarily suspended his participation in Government and people thought that maybe this was going to fall apart, and you saw a move of people leaving Harare for rural areas; you saw hoarding of gasoline and other products; you saw the stock market crash. So the economic implications of even a temporary blip in this process are tremendous. If the process were to fall apart the 3 or 4% growth that we have seen this last year would be a 20% decline over the next year. Zimbabweans also have to take steps themselves, though. They have right now anti-business laws and regulations. The indigenisation law is a disaster; it is scaring off foreign investment and trade. They have to provide security for ownership in their country. Zimbabwe is one of the 25 worst places to invest in the world right now according to the World Bank's estimate, and people understand that. Again, you have to put in place mechanisms for clean foreign assistance to come in, and again I would point to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund. God grant that the Zimbabwe dollar is dead forever and they have to formally accept another currency as their own currency—the South African rand would be a good choice, the American dollar would be just fine; there are other governments around the world who do the exact same thing. Zimbabwe needs to finally put a dagger into the 20 trillion dollar Zimbabwe notes that I have plastered on my wall in my office. Finally, I need to stress again that the Central Bank Governor has to go because he is the single symbol of the old regime.

  Chairman: We have slightly run out of time but if I could just bring in Richard Burden.

  Q19  Richard Burden: Just very briefly about the DFID aid expenditure. For all the reasons we have been talking about because of the severity of the crisis in Zimbabwe a huge amount proportionally of DFID's aid is devoted now to humanitarian assistance and a number of organisations have said that whilst it is understandable, that the balance is wrong and that there needs to be a way of getting that contribution more towards long-term development rather than simply humanitarian assistance. Do you agree that it is just a function of the crazy situation of the whole thing, or is there something that can be done at the moment to shift that balance?

  Professor Brett: I agree absolutely with that proposition. Clearly one does not want to stop spending on the social sectors at all, but critically creating employment is the way that you make it possible for people to generate the resources they need to support their own services. I think that there are two issues: there is the formal economic sector and the informal sector. The formal sector can actually be got going virtually costlessly, simply by eliminating a whole set of controls over it that have stopped people from investing and the first control, which was the whole monetary system and doing away with that, has already produced massive results at virtually zero costs. I think that given the fact that there is 80% or 90% of apparent unemployment—it is not unemployment because if people are unemployed they do not eat and they starve to death, so they must be doing something—there is a small informal sector operating, and I think the crucial thing that DFID could do would be to build some small micro-enterprise projects that would in effect encourage people to get into small business activities of various sorts and kinds, and that could be done either using the state or, in parallel with the state, by setting up micro-finance enterprises and a whole array of other sorts of things. But that seems to me to be where DFID has not actually been investing and that is where the most important investment should go, particularly given that Zimbabwe, of all African countries, actually went in and systematically destroyed that informal business sector that was responsible for the livelihoods of probably half of its populations, in Operation Murambatsvina in 2005, when they virtually destroyed half of the businesses in Harare and Bulawayo in the most devastating kind of way. That would be my major recommendation in terms of thinking about an allocation of DFID resources that would change the way they operate.

  Dr Kibble: At the moment we are in a humanitarian-plus transitional phase. We are not yet in a post-conflict phase. We obviously need the humanitarian aid to continue with 2.2 million people being food insecure right now and a major shortfall in cereals, etcetera, but we do need to look at how that translates into developmental aid in a sequencing way. It is not quite as crude as a stick and carrot approach. You cannot institute development-orientated aid right now, but what you can do is to say these are mechanisms that could work, this is the money that is available, the clean kind of mechanisms that Donald is talking about. Money going through international NGOs and various other multi-lateral agencies into more and more specifically developmental long-term assistance, once certain preconditions are met, once you have indicators on the ability of the state to handle that money, the ability of all the different ministries to be able to come up with plans that are met, that have no corruption attached to them. More and more you can move into straightforward developmental assistance and possibly, lastly, you can move into direct budgetary support but that is, in my mind, quite a long way off yet.

  Q20  Chairman: I think we recognise that.

  Mr Steinberg: Dr Kibble's point about using aid as an opportunity to move the process ahead is very important. I would also argue that sanctions and the lifting of them should be much more deliberately tied to the steps that we really want to see here. I will give just one example on using aid as an opportunity. Right now under the Global Political Agreement there is a commitment to do a land audit and this is very significant because it gets to the heart of what land reform is all about in Zimbabwe. It is not just a technical exercise. It is an effort to say okay, we have transferred all of these large white tracts of land to someone. Who have we transferred it to? What are they doing with that land? Is it just lying fallow? Does a single general own tracts and tracts of land? Is this what we really meant when we were talking about breaking up the white farms and giving it to the people of Zimbabwe? It is going to take another step. It is going to say what do those smallholders need? Do they need fertilisers? Do they need water? Do they need credit? This is not just a technical exercise. This is the heart and soul of this whole question about land reform and right now the Minister of Agriculture says that it is too soon to do this. Even though we committed in the Global Political Agreement, even though we have already allocated the $31 million we need for it, even though the EU have already said they will pay for 40% of that cost, apparently it is "too soon" to do that exercise. Under this situation, I do not understand how you could put money into a land reform programme in Zimbabwe, which is absolutely necessary. No-one is defending the past situation, and, with all due respect, I think to say that people were better off under Ian Smith than they are today or that the Government was more committed to growth then, is particularly un-useful in this exercise, but, having said that, we need to get to the root of what this is all about. Is it really land reform or is it just empowering the cronies of Robert Mugabe? That is what this is going to show us and any assistance we provide to the agricultural sector ought to be tied to the completion of an honest land audit.

  Chairman: That saved me asking the last question because that was an answer. Thank you to all three of you. It has been very useful for us to have your insight. It is obviously a confused and complicated situation that could go in a lot of different directions but I think you have given us a good feel for how aid and the development of aid can interact. I want to thank you very much indeed.

1   Speaker of the Zimbabwe House of Assembly Back

2   Southern African Development Community Back

3   African Union Back

4   Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Rhodesia in 1965 under Ian Smith, Prime Minister Back

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