Dispatches from An Unfinished African Revolution

Posted on 09/11/13
By Aman Sethi | via The Hindu
A train is transporting sugarcane from the fields in Zimbabwe. (Photo by by Ullisan, Creative Commons License)
A train is transporting sugarcane from the fields in Zimbabwe. (Photo by by Ullisan, Creative Commons License)

For its critics, Zimbabwe’s fast-track land reform was violent, state-sponsored property theft that destroyed the national economy and cemented the western characterization of President Robert Mugabe as a ruthless despot. The government, many argued, seized land for President Mugabe’s cronies in the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), the party that has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980.

Today, the sheer scale of land redistribution suggests the process has been more broad-based, and productive, than previously assumed. A growing body of academic work contradicts the narrative that the land invasions were masterminded in Harare by a small coterie including Mr. Mugabe. Those involved in the struggle say their actions were autonomous, and intended as a protest against the government, which the invaders felt, had compromised on the rallying cry of the liberation.

Land reform devastated the economy. Zimbabwe’s economy contracted 45 per cent from 1998 to 2008; inflation peaked at 231 million per cent. When the national currency was replaced by a multi-currency regime, the exchange rate stood at Z$35 quadrillion to U.S.$1. The economy has since rebounded; growing 20 per cent from 2009 to 2011, with agricultural exports growing by 101 per cent.

Click here to read more

Check Also

Could a Few State Legislatures Choose the Next President?

Trump’s campaign is considering asking some of the 29 state legislatures with Republican majorities, in charge of a total of 300 electoral votes, to depart from current practice in choosing their Electoral College delegates.

How to Manage Plant Pests and Diseases in Your Victory Garden

A general rule of thumb is to follow a consistent daily watering regimen – preferably first thing in the morning – and to avoid over-watering, which can encourage root pathogens in soil.

Leave a Reply