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Agents of Power
Photograph by Gideon Mendel

Police stand guard outside a gathering for members of President Robert Mugabe's ruling party—the ZANU-PF—in December 2002. "Zimbabwe is our land," Mugabe told the delegates inside. "This is the only heritage we have, and here we shall live and here we shall die." Many critics see fast-track land reform—the sudden, often violent
seizures of white-owned farms begun in 2000—as a desperate attempt by Mugabe to remain in power. Having ruled since independence in 1980, Mugabe faced increasing challenges in the late 1990s: strikes and protests over rising prices and joblessness, the growing strength of the opposition party, and demonstrations by black veterans of the war that ended white rule. To speed land reform and shore up his popular support, in 2000 Mugabe encouraged squatters to occupy white farms. He then passed a constitutional amendment allowing the government to take white farms without compensation.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon EOS 3
Film Type: Fujichrome Provia 100F
Lens: Canon 300mm f/4
Speed and F-Stop: 1/30 @ f/22

Weather Conditions: Late afternoon sun
Time of Day: 4:45 p.m.
Lighting Techniques: Available light
Special Equipment or Comments: I used a tripod and a slow exposure because I wanted a maximum depth of field.

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