UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The representative one-party state : Mugabe's search for political control in Zimbabwe Dawson, Robert William


The purpose of this thesis is to describe and analyze Robert Mugabe's move to one-party rule in Zimbabwe and to investigate how the emerging political system functions to maintain ethnoregional stability. This thesis examines Mugabe's political strategies since independence in 1980 and follows the course of events in Zimbabwe which led to the introduction of one-party rule. It also focuses directly on the features of Zimbabwe's one-party state and compares Zimbabwe's political system with other similar single party systems in Africa. The general argument of this thesis is that Robert Mugabe has managed to strengthen the security of his regime and rebuild political order in Zimbabwe by constructing a political compact which significantly reduces the rivalry between the country's two main tribal groups. The key features of this compact include the appointment of prominent ethnoregional leaders to positions in the cabinet, changes in the ethnic composition of the bureaucracy, and the reinstatement of Parliament as a representative institution. Although there is no evidence that the tribal groups receive authentic political power from the compact, the incorporation of their leaders into the government is successful in restoring tribal dignity and reducing the threat of insurgency. The research is based on available government documents, newspaper articles, African research reports, and articles and books related to the subject. The information and analysis presented in this thesis contributes to the limited body of academic research on Zimbabwe's one-party state and provides a useful starting point for understanding tribal representation in African one-party regimes.

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