Date of this Version



Professor Jerry Drew


Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, Hyperinflation, Land Reform, MDC, ZANU-PF


Once hailed as a triumph for black liberation movements in the region and a role model of peace and productivity, the Republic of Zimbabwe has since the turn of the millennium found itself spiraling into the depths of socio-economic and developmental decay. During such time, the Mugabe administration has tarnished Zimbabwe’s once admirable reputation as the ‘bread basket’ of Southern Africa, as well as the fortunes of the Zimbabwean people. Zimbabwe's current economic and food crises have been described by some observers as one of Africa’s worst humanitarian disasters and a sorrowing case of 21st century de-industrialization. These problems have been attributed, in varying degrees, to a drought affecting the entire region, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the government’s misguided policies and repressive use of the state apparatus, and disastrous land reforms. The objective of this investigation is to better understand the reasons and causes of Zimbabwe’s collapse, with particular reference to the institutional nature of the escalating crisis. Instead of hope and prosperity, the new millennium brought in despair, hunger and fear for Zimbabweans and marked the tipping point of one of the fastest collapses of a market economy in recent history. This investigation will primarily explore the misguided government policies, fiscal mismanagement and the breakdown of the basic democratic and financial institutional framework that led to Zimbabwe’s paralyzed and pariah status. Zimbabwe is an example of ‘a distorted state with barely legitimate authority structures, personalistic leaders unconstrained by norms or institutions, and bureaucracies of poor quality,’[1] whose neopatrimonial state failures can be instructive for other developing countries in setting their philosophical, political and economic agendas.

[1] Kohli, Atul, State Directed Development, Princeton: Cambridge University Press, 2004, pg 15



Date Posted: 15 June 2016


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