How Would You Characterise the Government of Zimbabwe? Is It Democratic, Authoritarian or Totalitarian?

Topics: Political philosophy, Totalitarianism, Rhodesia Pages: 4 (1083 words) Published: March 19, 2011
|How would you characterise the government of Zimbabwe? Is it democratic, | |authoritarian or totalitarian? | |

How would you characterise the government of Zimbabwe? Is it democratic, authoritarian or totalitarian?

The subject of government rule has three broad categories namely democratic, authoritarian and totalitarian. In this essay I would like to present what defines each category and then look at the history and background of Zimbabwe before giving my findings on what I think characterises the government of Zimbabwe.

According to Blackwell (Blackwell:1987, p 166, 167, 168) democracy stems from the Greek words demos which means people and kratia which means rule or authority, hence the meaning ‘ruled by the people.’ Giovanni Sartori (Sartori: 1987, p 8, 9) claims that democracy is a form of government in which power is held directly or indirectly by citizens under a free electoral system with two important principles; that all members of the society have equal access to power and the second that all citizens enjoy recognized freedom and benefits.

Totalitarianism however, according to Schapiro (Schapiro: 1972, p 12) is a concept used to describe political systems whereby the state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private life. Totalitarian government maintain themselves in political power by means of an all-embracing ideology and propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media. A single party controls the state, the economy and use mass surveillance and terror tactics.

Perlmutter (Perlmutter: 1981, p 7-16) claims that authoritarism is a political system controlled by nonelected rulers who usually permit some degree of individual freedom. (Perlmutter: 1981, p15) ‘The following principles apply; rule of men, not rule of law, rigged elections, all important political decisions made by unelected officials behind closed doors, bureaucracy operated quite...

Bibliography: Giovanni Sartori. (1987). The Theory of Democracy Revisited
Perlmutter Amos. (1981). Modern Authoritarism
Blackwell Basil. (1987). The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions. (1st Edition)
Leonard Schapiro. (1972). Totalitarianism (London: The Pall Mall Press)
David Blair. (2002). Degrees in Violence (1st Edition)
Colin Stoneman. (1988). Zimbabwe’s Prospects: Issues of race (Macmillan Publishers 1st Edition)
Singer, M. (1997).What is happening in history? Political Science and Politics Journal Vol. 30 32(73)
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