Why Nonviolent Movements Failed in Zimbabwe: The MDC and its Allies, 2000–2015

  • Mediel HoveEmail author


There are many documented examples of the successful use of violence by oppressed people to liberate themselves although the evidence suggests, perhaps surprisingly, that nonviolent efforts have been much more successful. This chapter examines why nonviolent efforts were unsuccessful in Zimbabwe. The various components of the nonviolent movement were able to employ diverse tactics that generated significant mass mobilisation even under difficult conditions, but its failure to bring about change between 2000 and 2015 was the result of two factors – its inability to win loyalty shifts from the security forces and Mugabe’s use of patronage networks, manipulation of elections and repression. Consequently, the efforts of the Movement for Democratic Change to win power were thwarted. The chapter concludes that there is a need to promote an understanding of conflict transformation principles among the members of the security forces and other regime pillars.


Zimbabwe Movement for democratic change Nonviolent campaigns Security forces Loyalty shifts Patronage networks 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ZimbabweHarareZimbabwe

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