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Zimbabwe: The Political Economy of Transformation

Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 288
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Dashwood argues that it was the class interests of the ruling elite of Zimbabwethat explains the failure of the government to devise a coherent, socially sensitive development strategy in conjunction with market-based reforms.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8379-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    Hevina S. Dashwood
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-19)

    The coming to power of black-majority government in Zimbabwe in 1980 marked a critical turning point in the history of the country. The election of the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), led by Robert Mugabe, and the legitimacy surrounding his victory, set the stage for a new political configuration of power, with a variety of potential implications for Zimbabwe’s political economy. Out of this unique historic conjuncture emerged a ruling elite that (at least initially) identified with and drew its support from the peasantry and working class. This political arrangement made possible a wide range of programs in...

  6. 2 The Original Development Strategy, 1980–1986
    (pp. 20-56)

    Upon coming to power in 1980, Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF government faced a range of constraints. Most immediately there was an urgent need to promote reconciliation between blacks and whites. The economy, which had been dragged down by fifteen years of civil war, needed to be revitalized. Yet, despite these constraints, there was nothing predetermined about the direction that the government would take.

    In the ruling ZANU-PF’s self-appraisal of its first five years in government, it indicated that its major policy objectives upon coming to power in 1980 were threefold: (1) consoliding state power and creating conditions of peace and national...

  7. 3 External Capitulation or Domestic Reform?
    (pp. 57-84)

    As noted in the introduction, Zimbabwe’s development strategy has not evolved in a vacuum, and the international (and regional) contexts are important variables that need to be taken into account. The point of this chapter will be to outline the various international influences on Zimbabwe’s development strategy, as well as to lay the basis for the argument that they were not the primary determinants of the decision to implement market-based reforms in the late 1980s.

    This chapter will focus mainly on Zimbabwe’s position in the international political economy, the enormous growth in the influence and leverage of the IMF and...

  8. 4 The Social and Political Process
    (pp. 85-113)

    As revealed in Chapter 2, the relatively strong economic base inherited by the ZANU-PF government in 1980 presented both constraints and opportunities. Yet the productive sectors of the economy were controlled predominantly by what remained of the white agrarian and entrepreneurial elites. The degree to which this economic power was translated into political influence, however, was moderated by the coming to power of a black government with a petty-bourgeois leadership which was aligned with the peasants and working class.

    This new political configuration presented opportunities to correct not only the racially based imbalances of the past, but also to transform...

  9. 5 The Impetus for Change, 1987–1991
    (pp. 114-140)

    Over the period 1987–91, some fundamental changes took place in Zimbabwe’s development strategy. In July 1990, a document entitledEconomic Policy Statementwas released together with the 1990 Budget. The statement announced the government’s intention to launch major market-based reforms.¹ In January 1991, a more detailed and targeted document entitledZimbabwe: A Framework for Economic Reform(1991–95) was released.²The Second Five-Year National Development Plan(SFYNDP), which was framed within the context of these previous two documents, was published in December 1991.³

    What is most striking about the new development strategy revealed in these documents is that, although...

  10. 6 The New Development Strategy
    (pp. 141-165)

    The discussion of the debate over the need for market-based reforms has revealed that the economy was experiencing macroeconomic imbalances, which led to a consensus among senior decision-makers that quite far-reaching reforms were necessary. This decision is consistent with a state possessing an independent view of the need to promote the needs of the capitalist economy. Nevertheless, class and ideological factors intruded significantly into the shaping of the details and the range of policies included in the new strategy. In tackling these unavoidable problems, choices were made between policy options that impinged differentially on different economic interests and classes.


  11. 7 The Decline of Social Welfarism, 1991–1997
    (pp. 166-187)

    The broad outlines of Zimbabwe’s new development strategy have now been described. Many of the reforms designed to address macroeconomic imbalance were necessary, although choices were made in the selection of specific policy options that reflected a loss of the ruling elite’s earlier sensitivity to the welfare of the poor.

    This chapter will now trace the relationship between the shift in Zimbabwe’s development strategy and the changing alignment of social forces. The most significant change in the configuration of class forces in Zimbabwe has been the embourgeoisement of the ruling elite. The formation of a state-based national bourgeoisie has led...

  12. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 188-196)

    This study has demonstrated that a range of domestic dynamics was at work in the 1980s in Zimbabwe and had a direct impact on the shift in Zimbabwe’s development strategy, away from a rural-centred strategy with a heavy emphasis on social welfarism, to a market-based strategy with a significant decline in the earlier emphasis on meeting the welfare needs of the poor. While pressures stemming from the international system were important, dynamics operating at the domestic level were instrumental in determining the policy choices and objectives of the government.

    In the literature on structural adjustment and the politics of economic...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 197-232)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 233-244)
  15. Index
    (pp. 245-252)