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Zimbabwean civil society survival in the post-coup environment: a political settlements analysis

  • Dendere, Chipo
  • Taodzera, Shingirai
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2023
eScholarship - University of California
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AbstractThe political environment in post-independence Zimbabwe has been very hostile for interest groups, particularly since 2000 when civil society actions and opposition political activity formidably challenged the power and dominance of the ZANU PF party. However, the 2017 ouster of Robert Mugabe gave rise to renewed hope for political change. Using the political settlements theoretical framework, and data obtained from interviews with Zimbabwean civil society leaders, studies of legal documents, and government pronouncements, we analyze the changes in the relationship between the state and civil society groups during President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime. We find that, while civil society faced restrictions during Mugabe's tenure, their existence is now under much more scrutiny under Mnangagwa’s militarized government. This is because authoritarian regimes are more likely to increase the suppression of citizen voices when faced with growing citizen engagement.

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