This paper focuses on the changing landscape of rural local government since the start of Zimbabwe’s current political and economic crisis in 2000. The paper questions the liberaldemocratic assumption that casts the period ‘before the crisis’ as some kind of mythical Eden of normal government and well-functioning democracy. At the same time, it recognises that the scale, terms and intensity of the post-2000 disruptions denote a dramatic era of altering politics and practices of government that require close attention. It further argues that local government is not just a front for national processes of state making and rule. Rather, it has its own localised sets of conditions and dynamics which, when articulating with national projects of power, production and accumulation, necessarily produce diverse, unpredictable and often unstable results
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