Elections, Politics and Identities in Zimbabwe

Hardlife Stephen Basure


The study revisits the issue of identity and examines it within the political dispensation of the country during and after the recent elections in Zimbabwe. It is the assumption of the study that people shift identities and systematically switch between various political identities in an endeavour to position themselves strategically in different situations. In Zimbabwe, politics is not only about leadership and service delivery; it is about one’s life chances, access to resources and even access to basic needs. Being identified by any particular political identity determines the opportunities and options available to an individual. The study also takes aboard an analysis of the most common indicators of identity in an attempt to uncover the politics of belongingness in Zimbabwe’s political climate. Issues of dress and language are analysed to understand their contribution to Zimbabwean political identities. Case studies were largely drawn from Masvingo province with occasional reference to other parts of the country. Identities are crucial determinants in both macro and micro-politics characterizing resource distribution in Zimbabwe. Politics is crucial in resource distribution, and service delivery as supported by various examples which point to the politicization of resource distribution. Being labelled the Other, has implications on inclusion and exclusion in resource allocation.

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