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Election Violence in Zimbabwe
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  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: December 2022
  • Print publication year: 2022
  • Online ISBN: 9781108120265
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Book description

The ramifications of election violence in Zimbabwe are huge and ongoing, and the loss of lives in the quest for democratic rights might be regarded as the foremost tragedy of post-colonial Zimbabwe. In this book, Vimbai Chaumba Kwashirai examines the prevalence of electoral violence in Zimbabwe from the early 1980s to the present day. With a range of rich examples, Kwashirai offers a nuanced analysis of the overt and covert forms of violence that have pervaded the country's general elections. While remaining attentive to the specifics of the Zimbabwean political landscape, Kwashirai addresses broader debates in African politics, and shows how insidious violence, ethnic tensions and the weakness of opposition parties serve to undermine democracy across Africa. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, he explores the various ways in which violence can be understood and, crucially, how it might be prevented.


‘This meticulous and compelling analysis reveals the Zimbabwean government’s violent manipulation of its democratic structures under Robert Mugabe, whose status of heroic liberator was subsumed by that of brutal oppressor. It is troubling but essential reading for both generalists and specialists.’

Anne Digby - Oxford Brookes University

‘This book provides for the first time a detailed and comprehensive analysis of all elections in Zimbabwe since the country’s independence in 1980. It shows convincingly how the Mugabe regime used politically motivated violence to cling to power. At the same time terror eroded what was left of its democratic legitimation.’

Rita Schaefer - Author of In the Shadow of Apartheid

‘A courageous, detailed and stimulating historical account of election violence in Zimbabwe. Of special merit is Kwashirai’s bravery to tackle one of the hottest and riskiest subjects in Zimbabwe’s political terrain. This book is a must-read for everyone fighting for a violence-free democratic world!’

Takesure Taringana - University of Zimbabwe


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