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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Debating Communal Tenure in Zimbabwe
Author:Cousins, BenISNI
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:land reform
communal lands
collective farms
Politics and Government
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:The Zimbabwean government is currently charting a new, post-Lancaster House land reform policy, and the debate on communal tenure is beginning to sharpen. This paper examines this debate. At present the Zimbabwean State is being pulled in the direction of reducing its interventionist role in the economy, while at the same time proposing a massive intervention in the agrarian sector in order to retain a degree of legitimacy with its erstwhile constituency, the people living in the Zimbabwean countryside. This is the terrain of contradiction and struggle within which the debate over communal tenure and land reform is now taking place. The author examines Zimbabwe's attempts at land reform and the nature of communal tenure in southern Africa, paying particular attention to the variability of communal tenure in Zimbabwe, and its flexibility. The price of this flexibility has been a legacy of deep-seated ambiguity. The author concludes that the most likely outcome of the present period of uncertainty is that the tenure system in the Communal Lands will retain its core features but remain ambiguous in its details. Bibliogr.