African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 187


Can the centre hold for Arnstein’s ladder of participation in Zimbabwe?

Jephias Mapuva
  • Jephias Mapuva
  • Bindura University of Science Education, P.O. Box 1020, Bindura, Zimbabwe
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 21 August 2013
  •  Accepted: 20 October 2014
  •  Published: 31 December 2014


One of the most contentious issues in Zimbabwe’s post-colonial history has been the law and practice of democracy. Electoral processes as a tenets of democracy has continued to produce contested and disputed electoral results. Politically-motivated violence has also reared its ugly head on Zimbabwe’s political landscape. The dictates of Arnstein’s Ladder of Participation which presents a normative framework for effective citizen participation has been violated both in letter and in spirit. Consequently, good governance and democracy have been elusive elements of the country’s political practice. At the same time, citizen participation and freedoms such as those of assembly, association and the right to participate in the governance of the country has equally been compromised. Through existing legislation and effecting amendments to existing legislation there has been brazenly violation of civil liberties, erode political space and limiting political activity.

Key words: Participation, democracy, socialism, civil liberties.


POSA-Public Order and Security Act; AIPPA-Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act; MDC-Movement for Democratic Change; ZANU PF-Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front); SADC-Southern African Development Committee; ZEC-Zimbabwe Electoral Commission; ZECA- Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act; MLGRUD-Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development; PVO- Private and Voluntary Organizations Act; NANGO-National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations; MACRA-Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority.