Jambanja: ideological ambiguities in the politics of land and resource ownership in Zimbabwe

SOURCE: Journal of Southern African Studies
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2007
TITLE AUTHOR(S): J.Muzondidya
KEYWORDS: LAND REFORM, POLITICS, ZIMBABWE
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 4199

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Abstract

Zimbabwe's current restructuring of land and resource ownership has not only been violent and coercive, but also disorganised and divisive. In its call for radical land redistribution, the state has increasingly resorted to authoritarian nationalism, invoking identity politics. This has resulted in new conceptions about rights and power - conceptions that basically uphold racial and ethnic politics and the pre-eminence of majority over minority rights. The current processes have also rekindled important questions about citizenship, identity, nationhood, rights and entitlement in post-independence Africa, issues that have been a subject of intense debate among various African scholars. Focusing on the experiences of 'invisible minorities', such as Coloureds and descendants of immigrants from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, this article discusses both the ambiguities and contradictions in the current exercise, as well as newly emerging notions about race, identity, nation and citizenship neglected by most political and academic commentators. I argue that the resulting policy positions, and particularly the current emphasis on race and nativism, have not only supported contradictory perspectives on justice, rights, citizenship and nationality but have also structured the debate on these issues in very narrow and problematic terms. More important, the historical processes unfolding in Zimbabwe have engendered feelings of exclusion and insecurity, especially among the subject minorities marginalised by the current processes.