Accepted paper:

Dissonance in Zimbabwe's liberation narrative: oppositions from within


David Moore (University of Johannesburg)
Norma Kriger (Library of Congress)

Paper short abstract:

Zimbabwe's ‘liberation’ history contains sources of opposition from 'liberal' to 'authoritarian': there is no teleology. Past and present examples of opposition/resistance to a ZANU-PF 'centre' indicate contingency and contradiction are as important as continuity in Zimbabwe's authoritarian trends.

Paper long abstract:

Zimbabwe's history and present indicate there is no singular teleology within the liberation narrative: there is always opposition - towards and against 'freedom' widely conceived, veering away from the 'centre' of authoritarian power in directions leftward and libertarian, rightward and totalitarian. Kriger and Moore's work on Zimbabwean ranges from examination of young and radical 'left' challenges to liberation movement leadership and complex blends of coercion and challenge in the countryside in the 1970s, to challenges from the 'war veterans' and new political parties (and generations) in the 1990s and 2000s. To be sure the result of ruling party responses to these challenges (and more structural contradictions in Zimbabwe's political economy) is one of what has been labelled 'electoral authoritarianism' but the authors argue that this particular form of closure may have as much to do with the shortfalls of opposition (and external supporters) as the liberation movement's own logos.

panel IP08
The institutionalization of revolutionary movements: ethnographic case studies