Democracy in Zimbabwe

From Liberation to Liberalisation

Alfred G. Nhema



This book examines the dialectics of political liberalisation in Zimbabwe, over time, from the settler period to the late nineties. The study takes in theoretical parameters for political and economic concepts and assumptions; and provides a historical overview of settler rule, civil society reactions, and political developments 1945-1979. The author reveals stark historical continuities during this period. He argues that the post-independence state has sought, like its settler predecessor, to impose its hegemonic position by limiting the level of political space in which civil society could operate; and that corporatist structures and policies have militated against the establishment of a fully-fledged democratic society.


[Nhema's] book claims to be the first study to examine the development of civil society in Zimbabwe 'over time', and to provide an in-depth exploration of 'a State-constructed order dating back to the settler era, based on control, manipulation and co-optation of civil society.' - The Journal of African History


Alfred G. Nhema is the executive secretary of the Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa.