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Political economy of crisis, mining and accumulation in Zimbabwe : evidence from the Chegutu Mhondoro Area.

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This thesis has its foundations in a 2007 master’s research on the political economy of “illegal” gold panning in central Zimbabwe. A book chapter (Moore and Mawowa, 2010) and a journal article (Mawowa, 2013) have since resulted from that work. The former work argues that illegal gold panning demonstrates a distinctive pattern of accumulation characterising post-2000 Zimbabwe. Four aspects of this pattern are identified namely, i) the link between coercion, chaos and disorder and wealth accumulation and political power retention, ii) the role of the state in this imbroglio, in particular, its pervasiveness and centrality, iii) that this pattern was shaped by and has remodelled the acquisitive instincts of Zimbabwe’s ruling elite and iv) a culture of ‘strategic contradictions’ within ruling elites abets this pattern of accumulation. This thesis does not move substantially from this premise. Instead, it recasts these observations within a much broader scope. While the Masters work was restricted to a very small area, this work looks at a much bigger area and in fact much further away from the area of MA research. While retaining the focus on political economy of mining, this work goes beyond illegal gold panning to encompass what is generally defined as artisanal and small scale (gold) mining (ASM) in the Chegutu Mhondoro area. Since this is an area where successful platinum mining is also taking place, it was opportune and indeed relevant to extend the question of political economy to this sector. This is not to suggest that there is a direct link (formal or informal) between ASM and platinum mining other than proximity. However, evidence presented in this thesis is telling in terms of the commonality between the two with regards to the four aspects of Zimbabwe’s post-2000 regime of accumulation.


Ph.D. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2013.


Gold mines and mining--Zimbabwe., Platinum mines and mining--Zimbabwe., Mineral industries--Zimbabwe., Mining law--Zimbabwe., Chegutu (Zimbabwe)--Economic conditions., Mhondoro District (Zimbabwe)--Economic conditions., Theses--Development studies.