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The politics of food in Zimbabwe Open Access


Other title
coping and survival strategies
Food security and crisis
Politicization of food
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Jaricha, Edmond Musengi
Supervisor and department
Smith, Malinda
Examining committee member and department
Thompson, Guy (History and Classics)
Mahdavi, Mojtaba (Politcal Science)
Smith, Malinda (Political Science)
Department of Political Science

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
Southern Africa faced a serious food security crisis after a three-year drought which started in the 1999/2000 season. In 2002, Zimbabwe and its neighbours declared food emergencies. With improved climatic conditions in 2003, Zimbabwe failed to recuperate from the crisis despite its neighbours showing signs of recovery. Instead, the food crisis in Zimbabwe intensified and has threatened the lives of many ordinary Zimbabweans. This paper argues that the land reform programme and its after effects, other government policies, international sanctions and intractable political posturing have all played a significant role in causing and prolonging the post 2000 food crisis in Zimbabwe. International and local food aid became a priority to feed the millions of hungry Zimbabweans. With severe food shortages, food aid became an important political tool used by the main players in the food distribution process to win support or discredit the other side. Drawing from the political theories of famine, this research argues that the food crisis in Zimbabwe is largely due to the failure of political accountability by the government of Zimbabwe, and also by the international relief organizations and other stakeholders who are in and outside Zimbabwe. With a thorough review of primary, secondary and scholarly literature, helped by informal discussions with people living in Zimbabwe, the research found out that the Zimbabwe food crisis has thus far failed to be resolved due to lack of political commitment and competence by the government of Zimbabwe; and an unwillingness by the international community to work with the Mugabe government which many in the west see as a dictatorship.
License granted by Edmond Jaricha ( on 2009-09-30T21:23:44Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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