In This Review

Land Reform in Zimbabwe: Constraints and Prospects
Land Reform in Zimbabwe: Constraints and Prospects
Edited by T. A. S. Bowyer-Bower and Colin Stoneman
Ashgate, 2000, 220 pp

This highly informative collection is the product of a 1998 London conference, updated to take note of the illegal and violent seizure of white-owned farms starting in early 2000 by the government of Robert Mugabe. The book provides a detailed overview of the historical, legal, political, and economic aspects of land redistribution in Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980. Compelling reasons support phasing out gross colonial inequalities, and there is a positive correlation between land redistribution, economic growth, and poverty alleviation. So why did Mugabe's ruling party allow the country's resettlement program to languish for more than a decade, only to rush it back to the front burner in the late 1990s? The contributors pose a variety of answers to this question. But they broadly agree on the urgent need for an acceptable land-reform strategy that acknowledges the necessity for more transparency in the land-acquisition process, greater institutional capacity to manage agrarian change, and more commitment of government resources to aid newly resettled farmers.