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Liberation from Constitutional Constraints: Land Reform in Zimbabwe

In 1980, Zimbabwe's white minority owned commercial farms covered nearly half the country's agricultural land. Yet today, the state of Zimbabwe, controlled by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union—Patriotic Front party, holds titles to almost all formerly white . . . owned agricultural land. The removal of constitutional constraints, which accelerated after 2000, was the crucial variable that enabled this transfer of ownership. By developing such a land regime, Zimbabwe has come to resemble most African states, which control rural land and can allocate and re-allocate it unimpeded by constitutional constraints. Today, significant private land ownership in Africa is confined to two former settler states, South Africa and Namibia.

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