An investigation of leaders’ perspectives on structural violence and its implication for peacebuilding: A case study of Harare, Zimbabwe
Abstract Structural violence remains largely unaddressed and its invisibility means that it becomes naturalised in many societies. This research uses a conceptualisation of structural violence and that of liberal peace to show that leaders in historical marginalised societies whose power is built upon rhetoric to end historical inequalities can be useful allies to peace practitioners in addressing structural violence. A historical context in which structural violence developed within Zimbabwe is given and the voices that warned against building a society that was openly discriminatory were ignored. This research suggests that Zimbabwe’s current leaders can do well to avoid open direct violence if they learn from history and address the structural violence rampant within Harare. The perspectives on structural violence amongst contemporary leaders could be grouped into those pointing at internal factors, those pointing at external factors and a third view taking a pragmatic and holistic approach. The polarisation between the two groups which has resulted in a political crisis of legitimacy, is seen to have perpetuated structural violence and undermined any possibility for a solution. While the infrastructure for peace laid out by liberal peace has found it difficult to reconcile the challenges of redressing colonial legacies of structural violence and issues of democratisation and rule of law. The current government has openly pleaded to the western powers to be left to exercise its sovereignty but it has remained under general isolation as the western powers cite its poor human rights record. This research captures the complexities of making peace and argues that the moral standard of measuring structural violence has to be acceptable and leaders should be seen as humane and in the process be made allies in peacebuilding efforts.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
MetadataShow full item record
Copyright 2020 The Author(s)
The following license file are associated with this item: