Article from ROAPE Volume 7 Number 18
Nationalist Politics in Zimbabwe: 1980 Elections and Beyond

Nationalist Politics in Zimbabwe: The 1980 Elections and Beyond
Vol.7 No.18 (Summer 1980), pp44-67
This study of the February 1980 Zimbabwe elections which preceded Independence is not so much concerned with the administrative conduct of the elections, nor the charges of manipulation. Rather it seeks to explore the results, the campaigning and the whole background leading up to the elections for what these events tell us about the character of Zimbabwe's African politics, so long submerged. What does the decisive rejection of the Smith-Muzorewa Internal Settlement tell us about what the African masses expect of Independence? What of the structures of the two nationalist parties; are they carry-overs from the liberation struggle or of pre-UDI politicking? How far do these experiences ‘explain’ the victory of the two parties of the former Patriotic Front? And how are we to explain the regional split in support for the two parties? What are the consequences for the period of reconstruction ahead of the legacy of the particular forms of popular involvement in the liberation struggle, and of the continuing split between the nationalist parties?