This paper considers the reasons behind Zambia's avoidance of civil war, despite persistent regional instability, focusing on the inclusiveness of the country's 'elite bargain', i.e. the inter-group distribution of access to positions of state power. The author hypothesises that, although colonial rule left Zambia with high levels of social fragmentation - evident in pronounced tribal, linguistic and class cleavages - the country's post-colonial governments have all managed to accommodate the colonial legacy of high social fragmentation by forging and maintaining inclusive elite bargains. The paper argues that this achievement can be directly related to the avoidance of civil war since independence in 1964.
Working Paper No. 77 (series 2), London, UK; Crisis States Research Centre, 64 pp.