Zimbabwe’s military-assisted political transition : Impacts and implications on democratic governance

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202009023975
Title: Zimbabwe’s military-assisted political transition : Impacts and implications on democratic governance
Author: Dande, Tichaona
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202009023975
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/318959
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Globaalin politiikan ja kommunikaation maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Global Politics and Communication
Magisterprogrammet i global politik och kommunikation
Specialisation: Governance, Organizations and Communication
Governance, Organizations and Communication
Governance, Organizations and Communication
Abstract: Militarised politics remains a single danger to democracy. Coups and military interventions accounts for 75% of global democratic failures and mark transitions to military rule. Against this background, this study investigates the unconstitutional November 2017 military-assisted political transition in Zimbabwe that resulted in the ouster of Mugabe from power to understand the ramifications of the succession process, outcomes and impacts on democratic governance. The study examines the inherent political conflicts between the military and civilian leaders where the military seek to secure dominant control in the political society despite constitutional obligations that the military remains apolitical. The principal objective of the thesis is to interrogate the growing decisive role and influence of the military in Zimbabwe’s contemporary politics. The study starts by critiquing the colonial historical aspects to understand the institutions that created the military dimensions. Mugabe shaped the governance political and electoral systems based on militarised colonial structures that further advanced his political monopoly instead of building effective political institutions based on the rule of law. Three broad research questions examined whether the military is undermining a democracy based political system in favour of authoritarianism, explores the domestic, regional and international factors that motivated the transition and the impacts and implications on democratic governance. The political transition and objective civilian control theories are deployed to expand the understanding of the complex military role in politics. In analysing the strategic interaction of authoritarian regimes and their opponents, the thesis noted that the military acted as a bureaucratic socio-political system rather than a professional institution in national politics. The findings concluded that military practices and actions in the distribution of power, intervention or meddling in internal domestic politics, governance and representation under authoritarian regimes has cross-cutting effects on the broader concept of democratic governance. There is substantial evidence that highlights that the military and political elites have remained leading actors in political life that sustains and maintains authoritarian structures. The thesis also observed that as an instrument of power transfer, the military establishment’s active participation strengthens the military as an autonomous political actor against Huntington’s objective civilian control, strengthening ZANU PF power retention to protect the institution’s strategic interests at the expense of national interests and human security, value systems, national progress and sustainable development. The empirical analysis reflects that militarized politics is a threat on democratic governance principles hence the need for ambitious institutional, political, legal and security sector reforms based on a model that strengthens human rights and guarantees the protection of civilian society from external threats and from the military institution itself.
Subject: Democratic governance
political transition
military
objective civilian control
civil-military relations
authoritarian regimes
Zimbabwe


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