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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Politics of Disruption: War Veterans and the Local State in Zimbabwe
Author:McGregor, JoAnn
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:political systems
local government
Politics and Government
Military, Defense and Arms
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3518655
Abstract:This article examines war veterans' recent assault on the local State in Zimbabwe. From February 2001, veterans stormed local authorities in districts where the political opposition had strong support - primarily Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces. They locked district council and other local government offices, closed some schools and demanded the dismissal of numerous officials, councillors, teachers and workers. This process has received little comment from President Mugabe, war veterans, or party leaders - in contrast to war veterans' interventions in other areas, such as land and labour issues. Focusing on Matabeleland North, the author investigates the veterans' demands, the ad hoc bodies set up to deal with them, and local reactions to the closures and suspensions. The author argues that war veterans' interventions have politicized all areas of public sector work and have seriously undermined the scope for professionalism within the public service. The ruling party, ZANU(PF), has used veterans' disruption to newly conflate party and State structures at district and provincial level, and to set up new channels of authority. In so doing, ZANU(PF) has gained more control over the local State. However, the party's use of the veterans has also produced unintended effects related to the priorities of particular groups of veterans and their exploitation of a range of local grievances. Notes, ref., sum.