Five Possible Scenario’s for Zimbabwe in 2012.

2012 looks like a watershed year for Zimbabwe. Based on current information and assessments the following are the five possible scenarios that confront the Country and the Region. The consequences of each scenario playing out in reality are also outlined.

Scenario 1.
Zanu PF announces that they are repudiating the GPA, dissolving Parliament and calling a national election for all Parliamentary, Senate and Local Government seats in the country as well as the Presidency. This involves approximately 2 300 seats. The conditions for such an election are the same as applied in June 2008 when Mr. Mugabe claimed over 80 per cent of the votes cast and declared himself winner and President. The election is violent with widespread intimidation and the leading opposition Party, the MDC (T) refuses to participate. Malawi and Zambia back the move but it is condemned by other African leaders with the President of the AU providing some verbal comfort.

Zanu PF wins over two thirds of seats and Mugabe is elected by a wide margin. The results are rejected by the majority of democratic States but they can do very little about it. The western countries impose intensified sanctions but the influence of China and Russia prevents any effective action by the UN.

The new House of Assembly adopts a new Constitution giving Mugabe the right to choose a successor to complete his five year term of office. Mnangagwa is nominated and appointed. The MDC (T) is sidelined and neutralized and its leadership harassed and imprisoned. The grip of Zanu PF over the gold (100 tonnes a year potential) and diamonds (60 million carats a year) is consolidated and they move to ensure that they receive tribute from the major mining companies (platinum and iron and steel).

As a consequence the rest of the economy slides back, agriculture continues to decline or remains at a very low level and unable to feed the country. FDI stops and capital flight assumes serious proportions with the reintroduction of the local currency and exchange control with tight control of the banks, local and foreign. Two million Zimbabweans, many of them women and children leave the country for South Africa.

Regional consequences are serious with a knock on effect on all regional economies, especially Zambia and South Africa and serious potential for destabilisation activities by Zanu PF in regional countries that are perceived to be hostile (Botswana and South Africa). The contagion effect slows down regional FDI inflows, aid and growth.

Scenario 2.
Mugabe dies suddenly from natural causes; the military immediately step in, declare a State of Emergency, bans the MDC (T); forms a military Junta and take power. This would be led by Chiwenga – the present Commander of the Armed Forces and they would implement a similar economic and business plan to scenario 1.

The region and the AU would reject the development but could do little to reverse the process. China and Russia would provide protection at the UN and rogue States in Africa would support the Junta. The crackdown in Zimbabwe would be harsh and unrelenting with even greater capital and human flight. The economy would contract and all FDI would stop. The humanitarian crisis would deepen and threaten human lives in all areas. Social services would collapse and Zimbabwe would be formally declared a rogue State. Sanctions would be intensified.

Regional consequences are serious with a knock on effect on all regional economies, especially Zambia and South Africa and serious potential for destabilisation activities by the Junta in regional countries that are perceived to be hostile (Botswana and South Africa). The contagion effect slows down regional FDI inflows, aid and growth.

Scenario 3.
Mugabe dies, the country adheres to its Constitution and the Speaker of the House of Assembly convenes a joint assembly of both Houses to elect an interim President. The Zanu moderates plus the MDC elect Mrs. Mujuru as interim President and a Presidential election is announced in 3 to 4 months.

Zanu PF appoints Mnangagwa as their candidate and Mrs. Mujuru breaks away with the moderates in Zanu and declares herself a candidate. Tsvangirai wins by a comfortable majority, Mnangagwa is humiliated and Mrs. Mujuru records a respectable share of the vote (30 per cent). The new President is free to do what he wants with those who have persecuted him for the past 15 years and takes action against all rogue elements in the State. Retribution towards members of the previous regime takes place with some killings and beatings.

A relatively weak government emerges with a divided House and Senate, uncertainty persists and economic recovery is slowed, even reversed. The new State is recognized but not welcomed in many quarters and the situation remains unstable for some time to come. Human and capital flight take place but at a low level and will halt and then reverse – but slowly.

Scenario 4.
Under this scenario the President of South Africa steps into the Zimbabwean domestic crisis and demands that all Parties fulfill their obligations under the GPA. He is able to threaten regional sanctions if any Party to the Agreement violates this principle. His intervention is backed by the SADC and the AU and is successful and halts the Zanu PF drive towards a snap election that will produce an illegitimate government (scenario 1.).

The Parties resume their tortuous struggle to gain ascendancy in the reform process and it takes another two to three years to get to a reasonably free and fair election albeit with some violence and intimidation. This takes place and all parties are virtually wiped out except for the MDC (T) who gain over 80 per cent of the vote and win nearly all seats.

The danger with this scenario is that Mr. Mugabe does not live that long, dies in office and we are then confronted with scenario 2 or 3. If this does not happen, the transition drags on for another two or three years and fosters uncertainly and limits recovery and investment.

It produces a government that is not very cohesive and carries with it the threat that it might become just as corrupt and incompetent as the Zanu PF regime. There is slow economic recovery and some new FDI and aid but the struggles with elements of the old regime persist and might lead to further instability. The new government finds it difficult to get consensus on key issues and conflict continues to impede progress.

Scenario 5.
Under this scenario the President of South Africa steps into the Zimbabwean domestic crisis and demands that all Parties fulfill their obligations under the GPA. He is able to threaten regional sanctions if any Party to the Agreement violates this principle. His intervention is backed by the SADC and the AU and is successful and halts the Zanu PF drive towards a snap election that will produce an illegitimate government (scenario 1.).

Zanu appreciates that this opens the possibility of a death in office and, understanding the consequences, immediately opens negotiations, facilitated by South Africa at a secret location, to agree a negotiated solution. The elements in those negotiations are the following:

1. A new constitution agreed on a consensual basis and including the following key elements:
· An executive President elected on a national basis with one Vice President to be appointed;
· Full separation of the Executive from Parliament and the Senate;
· A smaller Executive (20 members) appointed by the President;
· A devolved State with elected Governors and Provincial Councils of elected officials and Provincial Executives that mirror the national Executive;
· Adjustments to the powers of the President and set terms of office.
2. A referendum to be fought by both Parties as soon as possible.
3. Appointment to vacancies in the House of Members of Parliament and Senators by the Party holding the seat following the March 2008 elections.
4. Agreement that 4 months after the referendum, a Presidential Election will be held with people voting on their ID’s.
5. Agreement that the person receiving the most votes will become President and the runner up, Vice President, both to enjoy a full five year term.
6. Recognition that Mr. Mugabe will retire with dignity and protection once the new President is sworn in by the Chief Justice.
7. Negotiated conditions for the retirement of the former President and at least 25 of his closest associates – all with security and under an amnesty.
8. Amnesty conditions for the armed and security forces.
9. Regional guarantees.
10. Agreement on the date of the next harmonised elections (in five years).

This leads to a Presidential election in late August or September 2012, the election of Tsvangirai as President and appointment of Mrs. Mujuru as runner up Zanu PF candidate as Vice President. The selection and appointment of a Cabinet from the society in general with both Mr. Tsvangirai and Mrs. Mujuru being able to appoint members to the House and the Senate which will strengthen their positions and allow more gender equity and ensure regional representation.
The resulting Government is welcomed in all quarters and is able to restore stability and continuity to the State. Economic growth accelerates and FDI increases with a resulting growth in jobs and incomes. Human and capital flight is reversed. This scenario would enhance regional stability and growth.

Probabilities
At present, with the apparently weak regional and South African intervention in the domestic crisis in Zimbabwe and the preoccupation of the major powers with other issues, the current probabilities are that the most likely scenarios are 1 and 2. If these materialize the resulting situation in Zimbabwe will be very difficult to deal with and reverse. The economic, social and political consequences will be extremely serious. The window of opportunity for regional intervention to bring about option 5 is very limited and time bound.

For the hard liners who have controlled the State for much of the past 32 years and who currently constitute a Junta with effective control of the hard levers of power in Zimbabwe and are well funded by their activities in the gold and diamond sectors, this is a last throw of the dice. The decline in the health of the President has suddenly put a time limit on their options and this is running out. They are well aware of this and are anxious to move as soon as possible.

They are aware that South Africa is restricted in its ability to intervene by the need for consensus in the region and domestic problems. Their major impediment is the shift in the attitude exhibited towards them by the region in 2011 and the way events have evolved in North Africa and in a number of African countries (Ivory Coast, Kenya and the Sudan). The commitment to the GPA process by the region remains firm and the SADC is unlikely to change its position from that adopted at the summits in 2011, culminating in the summit in Luanda.

Even so, the rhetoric and private conversations of leading figures in the Junta in Zimbabwe, continues to point to a willingness to throw caution to the wind and gamble that they can get away with either a snap election or a disguised military coup. Any significant shift in the attitude of the region and the international community could enable this action and the consequences would be very difficult to reverse. The business community is very cautious and believes that the most likely scenario to be followed is the one that favors the hard liners in the present regime. Confidence in the both the GNU and the MDC has declined.

26th January 2012