THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 6, No. 1, 2008
Political Economy of the Crisis in Post-Colonial Zimbabwe
Smart E. Otu
Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Ebonyi State University
Conventional western social science scholars hold the view that the current crisis in Zimbabwe is but the consequence of misgovernance by President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF led government. This paper debunks this viewpoint and considers it a short-circuit analysis of the complex nature of Zimbabwe’s crisis. Instead, the political economy approach is adopted which is considered more far-reaching, holistic, historic, dialectic, and more empirically-scientific-based. The critical analysis of the crisis reveals that the key to the current socio-economic and political impasse in Zimbabwe lies in the nature of the social organization of production and the class character of both colonial and postcolonial Zimbabwe’s social system which are strongly tied to the land issue. To this end, the paper confirms that Zimbabwe’s economy, polity and social relations are organized in a manner that many Zimbabweans are at the fringe of the social structure. The main argument of this paper is that social organization of production in Zimbabwe is such that does not guarantee ordinary Zimbabweans access to land to produce their basic material needs, and to participate in making decision about how this major means of production is organized for production, distribution and consumption. This paper concludes by noting that the way out of the current crisis in Zimbabwe lies in a radical overhauling of the feeble social organization of production while not undermining the importance of a congenial political milieu in Zimbabwe.
Keywords: Zimbabwe, political economy, social organization, land, crisis, capitalist