Book review of, Performing Power in Zimbabwe. Politics, Law, and the Courts since 2000
and the Courts since 2000, Susanne Verheul joins a growing body of literature on the political economy of law. Coming hard on the heels of George Karekwaivanane’s book1, readers would understandably be curious to know how she constructs her story differently. This is because, prima facie, both books examine substantially similar issues, that is, the intersection of law, politics and the state in Zimbabwe. However, unlike other historical and socio-legal studies that look at the law as just a façade to mask the violence of the rule of repressive regimes, or in the words of Mohamed Sesay2, as an instrument for the domination of the rest of society by the ruling classes, Verheul takes a broader view of the law and its character. To her credit, she transcends the binary of repression and resistance to suggest that the courtroom and courtroom performances provide a platform for the negotiation, performance, and contestation of state authority and notions of citizenship. In doing so, she uses the case study of Zimbabwe to demonstrate the complexity of the law, particularly its entanglement with history.
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