Zimbabwe

1999 - 2005

WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN ZIMBABWE

USAID/OTI began programming in Zimbabwe in November 1999 in response to an opportunity to encourage a peaceful transition by supporting democratic alternatives to violent conflict. Timely and carefully targeted assistance was aimed at facilitating the development of an institutional environment that was more democratic, transparent, accountable and responsive to the social and economic needs of the population. USAID/OTI helped local partners strengthen civil society, monitor elections and train election monitors, expand independent media, document human rights violations, bolster the independence of the judiciary and expand access to alternative media.

USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN ZIMBABWE

To advance the prospects for peaceful democratic transition, USAID/OTI aimed to:

  • Promote dialogue;
  • Re-establish rule of law;
  • Support constitutional reform;
  • Increase availability of and access to independent media; and
  • Provide election support.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • As a result of USAID/OTI assistance, civil society leaders who were previously isolated and inexperienced began to work together to organize NGOs/CSOs, using their power to insist that government officials address issues of democratic participation, rule of law and equal justice.
  • Reports published by the USAID/OTI-supported human rights coalition were picked up by the independent media and disseminated widely throughout the country. Legal contests over 39 parliamentary seats where substantial intimidation and irregularities were documented, with USAID/OTI support, posed a major challenge to the legality and credibility of Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) rule.
  • USAID/OTI supported independent media through the purchase of newsprint, the publication of special supplements about election issues, start-up funding for an independent radio station and assistance to hire and train stringers. USAID/OTI activities focused on expanding access and coverage to underserved rural areas.

2008 - 2011

WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN ZIMBABWE

USAID/OTI returned to Zimbabwe in October 2008, after elections in March of that year between the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), led by Morgan Tsvangirai, and Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party resulted in heavy violence and a tenuous power-sharing government enshrined in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN ZIMBABWE

USAID/OTI’s goal was to support the democratization of the GPA through increased participation of Zimbabweans in the transition process. To achieve this goal, USAID/OTI aimed to:

  • Support the implementation of the principles and provisions of the GPA through reform-oriented elements of the Interim Transitional Government and civil society; and
  • Strengthen initiatives to reduce the likelihood of community-level political violence.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Constitution and elections: USAID/OTI’s activities addressed the country’s political developments by bolstering public understanding of, and involvement in, the political processes underway in the country.
  • Maintaining democratic space: The political processes led to an increase in violence and intimidation against civil society and MDC supporters, coupled with a closure of democratic space, including lack of access to rural areas to implement democracy and human rights activities. USAID/OTI responded through increased information dissemination as well as community outreach on specific GPA processes, with the goal to maintain some degree of access to communities in the areas most vulnerable to political turmoil. As part of this effort, USAID/OTI implemented activities to assist communities to develop protection strategies, reduce fear and prevent political violence.
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Last updated: December 01, 2017

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