"The conceptual point of departure is the problematic question of whether the political and socio-economic processes under way in Zimbabwe amount to a consolidation of democratic governance. In short, to what extent does the country conform to or deviate from the broad governance trends in the region? The study argues that there was therefore no similar transition in qualitative terms in Zimbabwe during that era. Instead a stalemate over constitutional reform in 1999-2000 degenerated into a swing towards authoritarianism as the incumbent government sought to consolidate its precarious hold on power in the face of a broad but heterogeneous protest movement under the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). This stalemate has been protracted and debilitating as reflected in the democratic deficits in political and economic governance, local and corporate governance as well as in citizen participation."