Contest for space: struggles in Zimbabwe’s bottom- up industrialisation: insights from the informal entrepreneurs at Makoni shopping centre, Chitungwiza
Nyamwanza, Owen Tonderayi
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Zimbabwe’s quest for bottom-up industrialisation through the informal economy seems to have been stalled by a plethora of planned and unplanned factors. Foremost has been the contest for space precipitated by a lopsided distribution system coupled with insensitive policy and legislative instruments dating back to the colonial era. With the country erupting into a War Veterans-led revolution that climaxed in the year 2000, it was assumed that those previously prejudiced from accessing land especially the urban poor who form the core of the informal economy would benefit. This was not to be as the state continued to brutally suppress the informal economy and tactically supporting middle class and elite interests on patrimonial grounds in allocating available land. This has culminated in an acute contest for space pitting various sectors of the informal economy against the state, local authorities and formal business who claim a stake in the urban space discourses. This study is an analysis of how the contest for space, spurred by the revolution and counter-revolutionary state action in Operation Murambatsvina, has influenced bottom-up industrialisation in urban Zimbabwe. Central to this analysis are the concepts of space, scarcity contest and conflict as well as informal economy. It attempts to explain how scarcity of space necessitates contest and conflict and how the informal economy fares in the face of this scarcity contest and conflict. There is an urgent need for revision of space-allocating systems to avert the down ward spiral of the informal economy.
Subjecturban space discourses