The Lancaster House Agreement and the post - independence state in Zimbabwe
Sibanda, Arnold Elson
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Every colonisation and decolonisation process must of necessity be fraught with antagonistic contradictions which may differ in terms of their character and depth (the form) but not their essence. The class contradictions which were perhaps necessarily hidden in the Zimbabwean decolonisation process - but which now have become more open - need to be examined and laid bare by an objective social science. For, never is a social system in a state of permanent rest. So, the constant motion, its driving force and its direction need to be understood and used for the continual and betterment of the condition of human existence. This essay which characterizes the post-independence state in Zimbabwe as a neo-colonial one par excellence, holds that the armed struggle for the independence of Zimbabwe was led by a militant nationalist petty bourgeoisie whose material objective was to set itself up as a local dominant bloc presiding over a capitalist social economy dominated by imperialism. The question of a profound transformation of the society - sometimes, many times, articulated in the discourses of these nationalists and some social scientists as "a socialist transformation" - was never seriously on the agenda. The consequent Lancaster House Constitutional Conference of 1979, which brought about the Lancaster House Agreement, was simply the climax which started the "sealing" of an important class alliance that would ensure the reproduction of the heavily imperialist dominated socio-economic structure and that would demobilise any popular-based attempt at a profound transformation of the society. This process - of course - is still fraught with deadly contradictions.