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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The new politics of Zimbabwe's lowveld: struggles over land at the margins
Editor:Scoones, IanISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:land reform
land conflicts
local politics
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/23357168
Abstract:This article explores the contests over land and resources in the Masvingo lowveld of Zimbabwe, focusing on three case studies - Nuanetsi ranch, the Save Valley and Chiredzi River conservancies, and Gonarezhou National Park. Each case examines who gained and who lost out over time, from entrepreneurial investors to well-connected politicians and military figures, to white ranchers and large numbers of farmers who have occupied land since 2000. The authors identify a dynamic of elite accumulation and control over resources that has been resisted by alliances of land invaders, war veterans, and local political and traditional leaders. By documenting this struggle over time, the article demonstrates that, in these marginal areas outside the formal 'fast-track' land reform programme, local communities retain the capacity to resist State power and imagine alternative social, economic, and political trajectories - even if these are opposed by those at the centre. While much discussion of recent Zimbabwean politics has appropriately highlighted the centralized, sometimes violent, nature of State power, this is exerted in different ways in different places. A combination of local divisions within political parties, bureaucratic discretion within implementing agencies, and local contests over land create a very particular, local politics, especially at the geographic margins of the nation. As this article shows, this offers opportunities for a variety of expressions of local agency and resistance, which temper the impositions of centralized State power. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]