A Crisis of Governance: Zimbabwe

A Crisis of Governance: Zimbabwe

A Crisis of Governance: Zimbabwe

A Crisis of Governance: Zimbabwe

Synopsis

A Crisis of Governance is a detailed analysis of Zimbabwean socioeconomic history and development since the nation achieved independence from Great Britain in April 1980, with a focus on recent events under President Robert Mugabe and the ZANU (Patriotic Front). An internationally-trained African economic analyst, Jacob Chikuhwa studies this former British colony's struggle to become a viable independent state. Problems range from the need for constitutional reform to political patronage and a de facto one-party democracy and the need for transparency in land reform, privatization, and economic liberalization.

Excerpt

A Crisis of Governance is a detailed analysis of Zimbabwean socio-economic history and development since the nation achieved independence from Great Britain in April 1980, with a focus on recent events under President Robert Mugabe and the ZANU (Patriotic Front).

It is one thing to break free of colonial tutelage; it is quite another to recover from the legacy of colonialism and implement the macroeconomic changes that would lay the basis for a self-sustaining economy. The crisis of governance in Zimbabwe (then known as Rhodesia) had begun with the occupation of Mashonaland by the British South Africa Company (BSAC) in 1890. Self-rule and the subsequent British-sponsored constitutions did not much improve the situation, and the 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence only aggravated it.

Writing an analysis of the political and socio-economic development of a country is an exercise fraught with pitfalls, more so in an era like ours which puts a scholarly premium on narrow specialization. Analyses are usually suspect as indulgences of naive retiring scholars, purveyors of simplistic models or grand theories. Nevertheless, the importance of analyses cannot be over-emphasized. They are a means of taking stock of the academic capital accumulated at various

1. Since no census was taken after the 1890 occupation, the number of African inhabitants at that time is not known; however, to give some sense of the ratio of indigenous to white population, one may note that some contemporary demographers believe that there were about 34,000 Kalangas, 24,000 Ndebeles, 320,000 Karangas, 350,000 Zezurus and 300,000 Manyikas, giving a total of 1,028,000. The first government census was taken in 1901, but only the settler population was counted. The African population was merely estimated, at about 600,000, versus an estimated 1,500 European residents in 1891. This figure rose to 11,000 in 1901; 49,900 in 1931; and 69,000 in 1941.

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