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Radical Realignments: The Collapse of the Alliance between White Farmers and the State in Zimbabwe 1995-2000
This paper explores the collapse of the alliance between commercial farmers and the state in Zimbabwe. It argues that relations had deteriorated irrevocably by the late 1990s, precluding opportunities for compromise, and concludes that farmer opposition to the constitutional referendum in 2000 was symptomatic of deteriorating relations, rather than the catalyst. These assertions are based on interpretation of several key interacting issues: the reconstitution and politicisation of land demand within Zimbabwe's deteriorating socio-economic climate; the internal reconfiguration of the ruling party under pressure from black empowerment interests and war veterans; the radicalisation of land policy through ZANU PF's aggressive centralisation of the land issue within the political and economic crises; and finally, a limited awareness of these issues by commercial farmers, donors and the international community, and consequently poor counter-strategising by these groups.