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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Unsettled Land: The Politics of Land Distribution in Matabeleland, 1980-1990
Author:Alexander, JocelynISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
land reform
Politics and Government
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/2637362
Abstract:Since independence, the question of land redistribution has been central to rural politics in Zimbabwe. Scant attention has, however, been paid to the western Matabeleland Provinces. Using Insiza District in Matabeleland South as a case study, this paper seeks to redress this imbalance by providing an analysis of the conflicts and debates over resettlement which have shaped Matabeleland's postindependence development. The first two sections of the paper chronicle the early disputes over resettlement, the breakdown of the coalition between ZAPU and ZANU-PF in 1981 and 1982, and the effects of drought. The third section is concerned with military and political repression between 1983 and 1987 and its impact on the resettlement programme. The author argues in the following sections that, though dissidents did succeed in forcing the sale of large tracts of land, the suppression of ZAPU locally and nationally prevented people from communal areas from gaining access to this land on acceptable terms. Instead, people relied on a variety of 'encroachment tactics' to exploit neighbouring lands. The final section deals with developments in the post-Unity period. The author contends that, government rhetoric notwithstanding, a rapid increase in land distribution is unlikely. Instead, patronage politics and encroachment tactics are likely to dominate the redistribution of as yet unsettled State land. Notes, ref., sum.