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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Land for housing: a political resource reflections from Zimbabwe's uban areas
Author:Muchadenyika, Davison
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:land use
urban housing
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070.2015.1087163
Abstract:When the Zimbabwean government launched the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) in 1999, an international outcry followed, with Zimbabwe described as an international pariah state. Zimbabwe entered a prolonged socio-economic and political crisis. While conventional opposition attacks the FTLRP for its negative impacts on agriculture, food security and economic growth, this article argues that the programme has also had widespread impacts on access to housing land. Over the years, the main political tool used by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) (ZANU[PF]) was land, especially in rural areas. Later, especially in urban and peri-urban areas, ZANU(PF) used peri-urban farms to bolster its waning support in the urban constituencies. Through ZANU(PF)-aligned co-operatives and land barons, the party became a major player in deciding who had access to land for housing. On the other hand, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) tried to use its majority control of urban areas to give its supporters land for housing, albeit with limited success. MDC-controlled urban administrations were incapacitated, as most urban land was under a de facto ZANU(PF) administration. This article focuses in particular on the allocation of housing land between 2000 and 2012 in Zimbabwe's major cities. The ZANU(PF) approach to housing bypassed urban planning regulations, with catastrophic effects on urban infrastructure planning. Further, the article explains developments in council-led housing and the role of non-council actors in housing provision. The Zimbabwean experience shows that it is not enough for a political party to be voted into power; rather, controlling resources such as land is a vital consideration in urban governance and development. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]