The Struggle over State Power in Zimbabwe

Law and Politics since 1950

George Hamandishe Karekwaivanane



The establishment of legal institutions was a key part of the process of state construction in Africa, and these institutions have played a crucial role in the projection of state authority across space. This is especially the case in colonial and postcolonial Zimbabwe. George Karekwaivanane offers a unique long-term study of law and politics in Zimbabwe, which examines how the law was used in the constitution and contestation of state power across the late-colonial and postcolonial periods. Through this, he offers insight on recent debates about judicial independence, adherence to human rights, and the observation of the rule of law in contemporary Zimbabwean politics. The book sheds light on the prominent place that law has assumed in Zimbabwe's recent political struggles for those researching the history of the state and power in Southern Africa. It also carries forward important debates on the role of law in state-making, and will also appeal to those interested in African legal history.


This dense and powerful book reminds us that independence and majority rule (and democratization and neoliberalism) are not breaks with the past but the result of the past, and past struggles over rights and with rights - who has them, who can act on them, and who can articulate them. - Luise White, University of Florida


George Hamandishe Karekwaivenane is a lecturer in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.