Uneven Ground: The Undermining of the Alliance Between Commercial Farmers and the State in Zimbabwe 1990 - 1996

Date: Dec, 2006
ODID Working Paper No. 142
Author(s): Angus Selby (QEH)

This paper explores the deterioration of the strategic alliance between commercial farmers and the state in Zimbabwe after 1990. Expiry of the Lancaster House constitution, the implementation of a structural adjustment program and the formal emergence of a black 'empowerment' lobby combined with severe drought had significantly altered the nature of Zimbabwe's land debate by the mid 1990s. The deadlock in land redistribution during this period is often vaguely attributed to a combination of state apathy and white farmer resistance, but interest group dynamics were far more complex both internally and externally. This comprehensive analysis of the relative policies, positions and internal reconfigurations of key stakeholders explains the polarisation of the land debate, the collapse of the alliance and the slowdown in land transfers.

ODID Author(s)