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Behind the Smokescreen

The Politics of Zimbabwe's 1995 General Elections

by John Mw Makumbe, Daniel Compagnon

The 1995 general election was the third in the post-independence period in Zimbabwe, and the first to be held in the country since the international demise of the one-party socialist state and the introduction of Structural Adjustment Policies. This work represents a comprehensive, empirical study of these elections undertaken by the Department of Political Studies at the University of Zimbabwe, and an independent French Research Institute. Beyond the electoral results - considered from the outset a foregone conclusion - the study analyses the Zimbabwe elections as a process, in order to provide a deeper understanding of how the ruling elite - the ZANU-PF - uses the electoral process and pretences of fairness and democracy to maintain authoritarian rule; and argues that the electoral process itself may be considered an indicator of entrenched political domination. At evey level the study intends to redress propagandist or naive perceptions of realities of contemporary Zimbabwean politics.

The study is organised largely chronologically, into sections on constitutional and legal frameworks; election preparatory steps; the primary elections, the political campaign; media coverage, electoral operations, and comments on the results; events that followed the parliamentary elections up to the presidential elections of 1996; and some conclusions about the nature of the political regime in Zimbabwe and its potential for change. 

ISBN 9780908307838 | 352 pages | 235 x 191 mm | 2000 | University of Zimbabwe Publications, Zimbabwe | Paperback

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