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Zimbabwe's Lost Decade

Politics, Development and Society

Lloyd Sachikonye

Publication Year: 2012

Zimbabwe occupies a special place in African politics and international relations, and has been the subject of intense debates over the years. At independence in 1980, the country was better endowed than most in Africa, and seemed poised for economic development and political pluralism. The population was relatively well educated, the industrial and agricultural bases were strong, and levels of infrastructure were impressive. However, in less than two decades, Zimbabwe was mired in a deep political and economic crisis. Towards the end of its third decade of independence, the economy had collapsed and the country had been transformed into a repressive state. How can we make sense of this decline? How can we explain the ëlost decadeí that followed? Can the explanation be reduced to the authoritarian leadership of Robert Mugabe and role of ZANU-PF? Or was something defective about in the institutions through which the state has exercised its authority? Or was it the result of imperialism, the West and sanctions? Zimbabweís Lost Decade draws on Lloyd Sachikonyeís analyses of political developments over the past 25 years. It offers a critique of leadership, systems of governance, and economic strategies, and argues for democratic values and practices, and more broad-based participation in the development process.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

List of Acronyms

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pp. ix-xi

List of Tables & Boxes

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pp. xii

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Preface & Acknowledgements

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pp. xiii-xvi

Zimbabwe occupies a special place in African politics and international relations. Its politics and socio-economic policies have been subjects of intense national introspection as well as international debate over the years. One sign of the preoccupation was the outpouring of theses and publications in the form of books, ...

Part I

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1. Colonialism, Nationalism & the National Question

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pp. 1-22

This volume wrestles with the question of why and how Zimbabwe ‘lost’ five decades of development and democracy. This was not a conscious decision on the part of either the settler colonial or post-colonial political elites. The wasted decades were an unintended outcome of policies and measures formulated and implemented between 1958 and 2008. ...

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2. The State & its Institutions

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pp. 23-40

A great deal of the explanation of Zimbabwe’s ‘lost decades’ lies in the nature and orientation of the state and its institutions that emerged at Independence. To what extent was the post-independence state really a new or different state? The same question can be asked in relation to institutions of the post-colonial state: ...

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3. Political Parties

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pp. 41-63

The last two chapters have demonstrated how party politics have been central in Zimbabwe’s political development in the past 50 years. Political parties were leading actors in the nationalist/liberation struggles as well as in the post-colonial era. Surprisingly, however, there have been very few studies on parties ...

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4. Democracy, Constitutionalism & Participation

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pp. 64-82

Curiously, the predominant political discourse in Zimbabwe soon after Independence was not about democracy but ‘socialism’, and the possibility of ‘transition’ to that state of affairs. The discourse was strongly ‘ideological’. The rationale for that leap in discourse was that the sequel of the ‘liberation struggle’ ...

Part II

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5. Development Deferred

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pp. 85-107

Nowhere has Zimbabwe performed as poorly as it has done as in economic development since it gained independence in 1980. The country’s economy shrank from an estimated USD9 billion in 1997 to USD4 billion in 2008. This is as surprising as it is disappointing. ...

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6. Land Reform & its Aftermath

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pp. 108-130

A large part of the explanation of the stagnation and decline of Zimbabwe’s economic development, as assessed in Chapter 5, relates to the changing fortunes of its agriculture. No account of Zimbabwean politics, economics and social development would therefore be complete without assessing the significance of the land question. ...

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7. State & Civil Society: A Changing Balance

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pp. 131-152

How have the political and economic developments assessed in the last six chapters shaped the growth of society and its relations with the state? Undoubtedly, the three decades of erratic growth, stagnation and crisis have left profound imprints on Zimbabwean society. ...

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8. Society, Livelihoods & Migration

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pp. 153-178

The impact of the political developments assessed in the first part of this book, and the economic disruptions described in Chapters 5 and 6, have been very profound for Zimbabwean society. The severe repercussions have included the spread and deepening of poverty, a relentlessly tight squeeze on livelihoods ...

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9. Punching above its Weight in Foreign Relations

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pp. 179-200

How did Zimbabwe manage its foreign policy and relations during the lost decades, especially during the turbulence of 1998 to 2008? Given its systemic decline, the country has failed to punch above its weight, despite the bellicose rhetoric and expansive worldview of Robert Mugabe that posited the contrary. ...

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Conclusion: Towards a Renewal

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pp. 201-212

This book is an ambitious attempt to ponder the key issues of politics, development and society in Zimbabwe. It has drawn on 25 years of research and publications on these issues. In reflecting on the ‘Lost Decades’, and especially the decade 1998–2008, a critical approach was consistently pursued. ...

Select Bibliography

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pp. 213-227

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781779331946
Print-ISBN-13: 9781779221711

Page Count: 246
Publication Year: 2012