Recreating Common Property Management: Government Projects and Land Use Policy in the Mid-Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe

"In this paper, I explore two models of collective action in Zimbabwe; The Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) and the Mid-Zambezi Rural Development Project (MZP). These two models are being followed in adjacent areas in the eastern Zambezi Valley and have very different implications for efforts to manage 'the commons.' The CAMPFIRE Programme represents the application of a theory of collective action based upon the development of self-organizing and self-governing groups at the producer community level. The MZP is based upon an external and inflexible plan which ignores local knowledge, practices and institutions. The project by design is resettling large numbers of both long-term and migrant valley residents. By designating where people may live and cultivate large numbers of valley residents are being rendered landless by the project. In contrast, CAMPFIRE seeks to utilize and build upon local knowledge, organization and management skills. The MZP greatly restricts local collective action as it relies upon the 'purposive rationality' of land planners who do not take the knowledge and hopes of rural populations into account in their programmes, policies and plans. Thus, the MZP has much greater continuities with the past while CAMPFIRE becomes a test case of the government's resolve to devolve power to local communities."
common pool resources, property rights, management, land tenure and use, governance and politics, policy analysis