State Politics in Zimbabwe

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University of California Press, 1990 - History - 283 pages
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Because of its wide coverage and acute analysis of issues, institutions, and interest groups, State Politics in Zimbabwe provides the best single source for understanding the politics of post-independence Zimbabwe. Jeffrey Herbst avoids the grand generalizations that characterize so much theorizing about African politics. Instead, and despite the tendency to depict African politics in a deinstitutionalized setting, he poses a series of questions of interest to political scientists and policy makers which focus on state institutions and yield testable propositions about state autonomy and allocation processes: Under what circumstances are interest groups able to influence government decisions to allocate resources? When are institutions or leaders relatively immune to popular pressures? What factors determine which part of the state will prevail in allocation decisions? How do the structure and relative influence of state institutions affect allocation?

These general questions are addressed through seven specific case studies of decision-making in Zimbabwe which focus on: 1) the new black government's efforts to resettle black farmers on formerly white-owned land; 2) who received that land ; 3) the setting of agricultural producer prices; 4) foreign investment policy; 5) the confrontation between the government and large mining transnationals; 6) the allocation of health care resources; and 7) the setting of wage levels.

Material from the case studies informs broader analyses of the politics of racial accommodation, the interplay of ideology and pragmatism, the role of the ruling party, and the leadership of Robert Mugabe.

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About the author (1990)

Jeffrey Herbst is Assistant Profesor of Political Science at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.

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