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The political economy of Zimbabwe's descent into conflict

  • Tony Addison

    (World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU|WIDER), Helsinki, Finland)

  • Liisa Laakso

    (Department of Political Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland)

The last two years have seen intensifying political violence in Zimbabwe. Could Zimbabwe slide further into political and economic turmoil? Or are there sufficient checks and balances in the social system to halt decline? The paper argues that the failed economic stabilization of the 1990s led to increased support for the opposition movement, especially among the middle-class and trade unionists who were hit by high inflation. The veterans of the liberation war and peasants-who are the power base of the ruling party both ideologically and as voters-also became increasingly disgruntled as they had received very little after independence while the leadership had enriched itself. The government was able buy the loyalty of the war veterans and to use them to intimidate the opposition, although it does not have full control over their actions. The paper concludes that democratic forces within civil society can play an important role in conflict prevention and resolution by building bridges between the different dissatisfied groups. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/jid.996
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

Volume (Year): 15 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 457-470

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:15:y:2003:i:4:p:457-470
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  1. Addison, Tony & Le Billon, Philippe & Murshed, S. Mansoob, 2001. "Conflict In Africa: The Cost of Peaceful Behaviour," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  3. Rohrbach, David D., 1989. "The Economics of Smallholder Maize Production in Zimbabwe: Implications for Food Security," Food Security International Development Papers 54060, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
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