The Struggle over State Power in Zimbabwe: Law and Politics Since 1950

Danford Room 2nd floor Arts Building (R16 on the campus map)
Wednesday 28 February 2018 (16:30-18:30)

Speaker: George Karekwaivanane, University of Edinburgh 

The establishment of legal institutions was a key part of the process of state construction in colonial Africa, and these institutions played a crucial role in the projection of state authority across space. Law was however a source of weakness for the state, as it provided resources for African resistance and agency. Furthermore, it sparked internal tensions within the state over its content and administration. This was particularly so in colonial and post-colonial Zimbabwe. This presentation draws on a larger study of the social and political history of law in Zimbabwe. It explores the shifting role of law in the constitution and contestation of state power and legitimacy in Zimbabwe from 1950 to 2008, and pays particular attention to two key themes. First, the efforts by successive governments to (re)balance the coercive and constitutive capacities of the law and, second, the multiple and shifting manifestations of African legal agency as citizens sought to ‘speak law to power’.

George Karekwaivanane is a Lecturer in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Part of the Africa Talks Seminar Series Spring 2018.

Talks are held in the Danford Room, 2nd floor, Arts Building (R16 on the campus map). 

All welcome. 

  • Full seminar programme