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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'They Stole Our Land': Debating the Expropriation of White Farms in Zimbabwe
Author:Shaw, William H.
Year:2003
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Volume:41
Issue:1
Period:March
Pages:75-89
Language:English
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:land reform
expropriation
Ethnic and Race Relations
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3876190
Abstract:In Zimbabwe today, Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF colleagues are busy expropriating white-owned farms, and claiming the moral high ground while they do so. Indeed, many observers, inside Zimbabwe and elsewhere, take it for granted that, whatever Mugabe's excesses, there is justice in his cause. But is there? This paper examines three moral arguments that Mugabe and his supporters advance to justify their land policies: that the peasants need the land, that the war of liberation was fought for the land, and that Zimbabweans are only taking back land that was originally stolen from them. The last of these arguments, which rests on an implicit entitlement theory of justice, is the strongest, and this essay therefore scrutinizes it closely. It argues, however, that despite their emotive appeal, all three arguments are flawed beyond repair. Debunking them should help pave the way for a more sensible and more viable approach to the land question in Zimbabwe. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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