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Diasporic Repositioning and the Politics of Re-engagement: Developmentalising Zimbabwe's Diaspora?

By JoAnn McGregor and Dominic Pasura

Abstract

The power-sharing agreement in Zimbabwe has ushered in a period of engagement between the diaspora and homeland government, marking a distinct change from the hostility that characterised relations over previous years. This article discusses the politics of this repositioning and the character of the new diasporic organisations formed in the wake of the Global Political Agreement to take forward agendas of development and reconstruction at home. It argues that these new diasporic organisations have tried to create non-partisan platforms for engagement, have an elite social base, and connect responsibilities for development at home with the desire for formal political rights. Despite an apparent convergence of interest around development and reconstruction on the part of an array of diaspora groups, as well as the Zimbabwean and British governments, there are, nonetheless, tensions among these actors that this article seeks to reveal. It argues that a key issue shaping conversations over engagement is the divergence of interest within the diaspora between those with and without security in their states of residence. This divide is likely to become more salient in the context of a large-scale return programme, especially if there is ongoing uncertainty in Zimbabwe and if repatriation is conceived as a final one-way movement rather than as part of an ongoing circulation in which people may choose to maintain transnational lives. This discussion of the Zimbabwean case thus contributes to broader debates over the tensions that characterise policies of 'diaspora engagement'

Topics: H1
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:9363
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