Article from ROAPE Volume 21 Number 61
State, Peasantry & Resettlement in Zimbabwe
The end of minority rule in Zimbabwe seemed to herald dramatic changes in agrarian and local government policies, as well as in official attitudes towards the rural areas more generally: the newly elected ZANU(PF) government promised a dramatic decentralisation and democratisation of government structures and a large scale distribution of land. This article assesses the extent to which the promises of independence were met. It stresses the importance of the political context of debates over agrarian change - the constraints of a negotiated independence, the political clout of commercial farmers, the ruling party's own political agenda and economic interests - and focuses on change in the institutional forums in which debate took place, particularly the extent to which the inherited ideologies and practices of the state bureaucracies charged with formulating and implementing agrarian policies were transformed by decentralisation and majority rule. Discusses: ZANU(PF) ideology: constraints of a negotiated independence; Decentralisation and development planning: continuity and change; Agrarian policy: continuity and change; The resettlement programme: plans and politics; ‘Internal’ resettlement, 1985-1989; DERUDE and agritex: debates over agrarian reform; Conclusion.