Zimbabwe, officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. The capital is Harare. Zimbabwe achieved recognised independence from Britain in April 1980Sony PCG-71313M battery, following a 14-year period as an unrecognised state under the predominantly white minority government of Rhodesia, which unilaterally declared independence in 1965. Rhodesia briefly reconstituted itself as black-majority ruled Zimbabwe Rhodesia in 1979, but this order failed to gain international acceptanceSony PCG-71212M battery.
Zimbabwe has three official languages: English, Shona and Ndebele. The country today equivalent to Zimbabwe was first demarcated during the 1890s, by the British South Africa Company, which administered it until it became the self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1923. President Robert Mugabe is the head of State and Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Morgan Tsvangirai is the Prime Minister. Mugabe has been in power since the country's internationally recognised independence in 1980Sony PCG-71311M battery.
Further information: Great Zimbabwe and Rhodesia (name)
Zimbabwe was formerly known as Southern Rhodesia (1923), Rhodesia (1965), and Zimbabwe Rhodesia (1979). The name Zimbabwe was introduced from ca. 1960 in the context of the potential name of the country once independent, and used by the African nationalist factions in the Second Chimurenga, the most major of which were the Zimbabwe African National Union (led by Robert Mugabe from 1975) Sony PCG-71213M battery, and the Zimbabwe African People's Union, led by Joshua Nkomo from its founding in the early 1960s.
The name is based on a Shona name for a ruined ancient city whose remains are now a protected site. It is officially referred to as Great Zimbabwe, and was first recorded as Symbaoe in 1531 by Vicente Pegado, Captain of the Portuguese garrison of Sofala.
There are two theories on the origin of the word "Zimbabwe"Sony PCG-61211M battery. Various sources hold that the word is derived from dzimba-dza-mabwe, translated from the Karanga dialect of Shona as "large houses of stone" (dzimba = plural of imba, "house"; mabwe = plural of bwe, "stone"). The Karanga-speaking Shona people are found around Great Zimbabwe in the modern-day province of Masvingo. Archaeologist Peter Garlake claims that "Zimbabwe" is a contracted form of dzimba-hwe which means "venerated houses" in the Zezuru dialect of Shona, and is usually applied to chiefs' houses or graves. Sony VAIO PCG-31114M battery
Geography and environment
Main article: Geography of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa, lying between latitudes 15° and 23°S, and longitudes 25° and 34°E. Most of the country is elevated in the central plateau (high veld) stretching from the southwest to the northwest at altitudes between 1,200 and 1,600 m. The country's east is mountainous with Mount Nyangani as the highest point at 2,592 m. About 20% of the country consists of the low veld under 900mSony VAIO PCG-31113M battery. Victoria Falls, one of the world's biggest and most spectacular waterfalls, is located in the country's northwest as part of the Zambezi river. The country has a tropical climate with a rainy season usually from late October to March. The climate is moderated by the altitude.
Main article: Wildlife of Zimbabwe
The country is mostly savanna, although the moist and mountainous east supports tropical evergreen and hardwood forestsSony VAIO PCG-31112M battery. Trees include teak and mahogany, knobthorn, msasa and baobab. Among the numerous flowers and shrubs are hibiscus, spider lily, leonotus, cassia, tree wisteria and dombeya.
Elephant at water hole in Hwange National Park
There are around 350 species of mammals that can be found in Zimbabwe. There are also many snakes and lizards, over 500 bird species, and 131 fish species.
Large parts of Zimbabwe were covered by forests with an abundant wildlife. Poverty, population growth and lack of fuel have led to extensive deforestation, which, along with poaching, has reduced the wildlife. Deforestation and woodland degradation are a major concernSony VAIO PCG-31111M battery and have led to erosion and land degradation which diminish the amount of fertile soil. Zimbabwe is a country that relies mostly on hydroelectric power. Zimbabwe had once relied heavily on electricity from Mozambique and other neighboring countries, but due to the accumulation of debt Mozambique has cut off power supply to Zimbabwe. This has caused ZESA, Zimbabwe's main electricity supplier, to begin excessive load shedding all over Zimbabwe with some urban areas only having electricity three days a weekSony VAIO PCG-41112M battery. Thus the amount of deforestation has increased as the population in urban areas has also started using firewood for fuel whereas before it was mainly the rural population due to lack of electricity in the rural areas. Despite all this, Zimbabwe's climate, along with Malta's, has been ranked highly on the index for the best climate to live in by some prestigious organisationsSony VAIO PCG-41111M battery.
Proto-Shona speaking societies first emerged in the middle Limpopo valley in the 9th century before moving on to the Zimbabwean highlands. The Zimbabwean plateau eventually became the centre of subsequent Shona states, beginning in ca. the 10th century. Around the early 10th century, trade developed with Arab merchants on the Indian Ocean coast, helping to develop the Kingdom of Mapungubwe in the 11th centurySONY VAIO PCG-21212M battery. This was the precursor to the more impressive Shona civilisations that would dominate the region during the 13th to 15th centuries, evidenced by ruins at Great Zimbabwe, near Masvingo, and other smaller sites. The main archaeological site is a unique dry stone architecture.
The Kingdom of Mapungubwe was the first in a series of sophisticated trade states developed in Zimbabwe by the time of the first European explorers from Portugal. They traded in gold, ivory and copper for cloth and glass. SONY VAIO PCG-21211M battery
From about 1300 until 1600, Mapungubwe was eclipsed by the Kingdom of Zimbabwe. This Shona state further refined and expanded upon Mapungubwe's stone architecture, which survives to this day at the ruins of the kingdom's capital of Great Zimbabwe. From c. 1450–1760, Zimbabwe gave way to the Kingdom of Mutapa. This Shona state ruled much of the area that is known as Zimbabwe today, and parts of central MozambiqueSONY VAIO PCG-51212M battery. It is known by many names including the Mutapa Empire, also known as Mwene Mutapa or Monomotapa as well as "Munhumutapa," and was renowned for its stategic trade routes with the Arabs and Portugal. Eventually, however, the Portuguese sought to monopolise this influence and began a series of wars which left the empire in near collapse in the early 17th century. SONY VAIO PCG-51211M battery
As a direct response to increased European presence in the interior, a new Shona state emerged, known as the Rozwi Empire. Relying on centuries of military, political and religious development, the Rozvi (which means "destroyers") removed the Portuguese from the Zimbabwe plateau by force of arms. They continued the stone building traditions of the Zimbabwe and Mapungubwe kingdoms while adding muskets to its arsenal and recruiting a professional army to defend its territorySONY VAIO PCG-51112M battery.
Around 1821, the Zulu general Mzilikazi of the Khumalo clan successfully rebelled from King Shaka and created his own clan, the Ndebele. The Ndebele fought their way northwards into the Transvaal, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake and beginning an era of widespread devastation known as the Mfecane. When Dutch trekboers converged on the Transvaal in 1836, they drove the tribe even further northwardSONY VAIO PCG-51111M battery. By 1838, the Rozwi Empire, along with the other petty Shona states were conquered by the Ndebele and reduced to vassaldom.
After losing their remaining South African lands in 1840, Mzilikazi and his tribe permanently settled the southwest of present-day Zimbabwe in what became known as Matabeleland, establishing Bulawayo as their capital. Mzilikazi then organised his society into a military system with regimental kraals, similar to those of ShakaSONY VAIO PCG-81212M battery, which was stable enough to repel further Boer incursions. Mzilikazi died in 1868 and, following a violent power struggle, was succeeded by his son, Lobengula.
Colonial era (1888–1965)
Main articles: Company rule in Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and Federation of Rhodesia and Matabeleland in the 19th century.
In the 1880s, white colonists arrived with Cecil Rhodes's British South Africa Company (BSAC). In 1888, Rhodes obtained a concession for mining rights from King Lobengula of the Ndebele peoples. Sony VAIO PCG-81112M batteryHe presented this concession to persuade the government of the United Kingdom to grant a royal charter to the company over Matabeleland, and its subject states such as Mashonaland as well.
Rhodes used this document in 1890 to justify sending the Pioneer Column, a group of Europeans protected by well-armed British South Africa Police (BSAP) through Matabeleland and into Shona territory to establish Fort SalisburySONY VAIO PCG-81212M battery (now Harare), and thereby establish company rule over the area. In 1893 and 1894, with the help of their new maxim guns, the BSAP would go on to defeat the Ndebele in the First Matabele War. Rhodes additionally sought permission to negotiate similar concessions covering all territory between the Limpopo River and Lake Tanganyika, then known as "Zambesia".SONY VAIO PCG-71111M battery
In accordance with the terms of aforementioned concessions and treaties, mass settlement was encouraged, with the British maintaining control over labour as well as precious metals and other mineral resources. In 1895 the BSAC adopted the name "Rhodesia" for the territory, in honour of Rhodes. In 1898 "Southern Rhodesia" became the official denotation for the region south of the Zambezi, which later became ZimbabweSONY VAIO PCG-7196M battery. The region to the north was administered separately and later termed Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia).
Shortly after Rhodes' disastrous Jameson Raid on the South African Republic, the Ndebele rebelled against their white rulers, led by their charismatic religious leader, Mlimo. The Second Matabele War lasted until 1897, when Mlimo was murdered. Shona agitators also staged unsuccessful revolts (known as Chimurenga) against company rule during 1896 and 1897. SONY VAIO PCG-7195M battery Following these failed insurrections, the Ndebele and Shona groups were finally subdued by the Rhodes administration, which organised the land with a disproportionate bias favouring Europeans, thus displacing many indigenous peoples.
Opening of the railway to Umtali in 1899
Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing British colony in October 1923, subsequent to a 1922 referendumSONY VAIO PCG-7194M battery. Rhodesians served on behalf of the United Kingdom during World War II, mainly in the East African Campaign against Axis forces in Italian East Africa. Proportional to the civilised population, Southern Rhodesia contributed more per capita to both the First and Second World Wars than any other part of the Empire, including Britain itself. SONY VAIO PCG-7192M battery
In 1953, in the face of African opposition, Britain consolidated the two Rhodesias with Nyasaland (Malawi) in the ill-fated Central African Federation, which was essentially dominated by Southern Rhodesia. Growing African nationalism and general dissent, particularly in Nyasaland, persuaded Britain to dissolve the Union in 1963, forming three separate divisions. While multiracial democracy was finally introduced to Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, however, Southern Rhodesians of European ancestry continued to enjoy minority ruleSONY PCG-8113M battery.
With Zambian independence, Ian Smith's white-supremacist Rhodesian Front (RF) dropped the designation "Southern" in 1964 and issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (commonly abbreviated to "UDI") from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965, intent on effectively repudiating the recently adopted British policy of "no independence before majority rule"SONY PCG-8112M battery. It was the first such course taken by a British colony since the American declaration of 1776, which Smith and others indeed claimed provided a suitable precedent to their own actions.
Independence and civil war (1965–1979)
Main articles: Rhodesia, Second Chimurenga, Zimbabwe Rhodesia, and Lancaster House Ian Smith signing the Unilateral Declaration of Independence on 11 November 1965 with his cabinet in audienceSONY PCG-7134M battery .
After UDI, the British government petitioned the United Nations for sanctions against Rhodesia pending unsuccessful talks with the Smith regime in 1966 and 1968. In December 1966, the organisation complied, imposing the first mandatory trade embargo on an autonomous state. These sanctions were expanded again in 1968. SONY PCG-7131M battery
The United Kingdom deemed the Rhodesian declaration an act of rebellion, but did not re-establish control by force. A guerilla war subsequently ensued when Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), supported actively by neighbouring African nations, initiated guerilla operations against the white governmentSONY PCG-7122M battery .
Ian Smith's formation of a republic in 1970 was recognised only by South Africa, then governed under apartheid. Meanwhile, Rhodesia's internal conflict intensified, eventually forcing him to open negotiations with the militant nationalists.
Bishop Abel Muzorewa signs the Lancaster House Agreement seated next to British Foreign Minister Lord CarringtonSONY PCG-7121M battery.
In March 1978, Smith reached an accord with three African leaders, led by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who offered to leave the white population comfortably entrenched in exchange for the establishment of a biracial democracy. As a result of the Internal Settlement, elections were held in April 1979, concluding with the United African National Council (UANC) carrying a majority of parliamentary seatsSONY PCG-7113M battery. On 1 June 1979, Muzorewa, the UANC head, became prime minister and the country's name was changed to Zimbabwe Rhodesia. The internal settlement left control of the police, security forces, civil service and judiciary in settler hands. It also reserved one-third of the seats in parliament for whites. On 12 June, the United States Senate voted to lift economic pressure on the former RhodesiaSONY PCG-7112M battery.
Following the fifth Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held in Lusaka, Zambia from 1 to 7 August in 1979, the British government invited Muzorewa, Mugabe, and Nkomo to participate in a constitutional conference at Lancaster House. The purpose of the conference was to discuss and reach an agreement on the terms of an independence constitution, and provide for elections supervised under British authority allowing Zimbabwe Rhodesia to proceed to legal independence. SONY PCG-8Z3M battery
With Lord Carrington, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, in the chair, these discussions were mounted from 10 September to 15 December in 1979, producing a total of 47 plenary sessions. On 21 December 1979, delegations from every major interest represented reached the Lancaster House Agreement, effectively ending the guerilla war. SONY PCG-8Z2M battery
Main article: Gukurahundi
Britain's Lord Soames was appointed governor to oversee the disarming of revolutionary fighters, the holding of elections and the granting of independence to an uneasy coalition government with Joshua Nkomo presiding. During the elections of February 1980, Robert Mugabe and his ZANU secured a landslide victory. SONY PCG-8Z1M battery
Opposition to what was perceived as a Shona takeover immediately erupted around Matabeleland. In November 1980 Enos Nkala made some inflammatory remarks directed at Mugabe's party during a rally near Bulawayo. This, unfortunately, was later deemed to have caused the first Entumbane uprising, which resulted in clashes between Nkomo and Mugabe supporters. SONY PCG-8Y3M battery
In February 1981, there was a second uprising, which swiftly spread to Glenville and also to Connemara in the Midlands. Former Rhodesian security units were called in to restore the previous order, which they were only allowed to do after three hundred lives had already lost.
The Matabele unrest led to what has become known as 'Gukurahundi' (Shona: "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains"SONY PCG-8Y2M battery) or the Matabeleland Massacres, which lasted from 1982 until 1985. Mugabe ordered his North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade to occupy Matabeleland, crushing any resistance to his rule. It has been estimated that at least 20,000 Matabele were murdered and tens of thousands of others were tortured in military internment camps. The slaughter only ended after Nkomo and Mugabe reached a unity agreement in 1988 that merged their respective parties, creating the Zimbabwe African Union-Patriotic FrontSONY PCG-7Z1M battery.
Zimbabwean elections in March 1990 resulted in another victory for Mugabe and his party, which claimed 117 of the 120 contested seats. Observers estimated voter turnout at only 54% and found the campaign to be "neither free nor fair".
During the 1990s, students, trade unionists, and workers often demonstrated to express their growing discontent with increasingly despotic Mugabe rule. Students protested in 1990 against proposals for an increase in government control of universities and again in 1991 and 1992SONY PCG-6W2M battery, clashing with law enforcement. The unions also criticised the government during this time. In 1992, national police prevented workers from staging anti-regime demonstrations. Widespread industrial unrest which continued into 1994, however, weakened Zimbabwe's sagging economy. In 1996, civil servants, nurses, and junior doctors went on strike over salary issues. SONY PCG-5J5M batteryThe general health of the civilian population also began to significantly founder. By 1997 an estimated 25% of the population of Zimbabwe had been infected by HIV.
Economic difficulties and hyperinflation (1999–2008)
Land issues, which the liberation movement had promised to solve, re-emerged as the main issue for the ruling party around 1997. Despite majority rule and the existence of a "willing-buyer-willing-seller" land reform programme since the 1980s, white Zimbabweans continued to hold about 70% of the most arable land. Robert Mugabe began to forcibly redistribute this land to his associates in 2000. The legality and constitutionality of the process has regularly been challenged in the Zimbabwean High and Supreme CourtsSONY PCG-5K2M battery.
While it is widely acknowledged that the land upheaval brought about much destruction, joblessness, hunger, and political violence, some 58,000 independent black farmers have since experienced limited success in reviving the gutted cash crop sectors through efforts on a smaller scale. Advocates of the ruling party have used this pretext to indicate that some measure of racial equality was achieved despite chaotic circumstancesSONY PCG-5K1M battery , claiming that black citizens must "come first" in Zimbabwe.
Mandatory confiscation of white farmland was affected by continuous droughts, as well as a serious lacking in inputs and finance, leading to a sharp decline in agricultural exports, which was traditionally the country's leading export-producing sector. As a result, Zimbabwe experienced a severe hard-currency shortage that led to hyperinflation and chronic shortages in imported fuel and consumer goodsSONY PCG-5J4M battery .
Harare in 2006
Charged with committing numerous human rights abuses and running the economy of his own nation into the ground, Mugabe found himself beset with a wide range of sanctions imposed by the US government and European Union against his person and Zimbabwe at large.
In 2002, the nation was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations due to the reckless farm seizures and blatant election tampering. SONY PCG-5J1M batteryThe following year, Zimbabwean officials voluntarily terminated its Commonwealth membership.
Following fraudulent elections in 2005, the government initiated "Operation Murambatsvina", an effort to crack down on illegal markets and slums emerging in towns and cities. This action has been widely condemned by opposition and international figures, who attest to the fact that it has left a substantial section of urban poor homeless. SONY PCG-5G2M battery The Zimbabwean government has described the operation as an attempt to provide decent housing to the population, although authorities have yet to properly substantiate their claims.
Map showing the food insecurity in Zimbabwe in June 2008
Zimbabwe's economic and food crisis, described by some observers as the country's worst humanitarian crisis since independence, has been attributed in varying degrees to the government's price controls and farm confiscations, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and a drought affecting the entire region. Sony VAIO PCG-8131M battery
Life expectancy at birth for males in Zimbabwe dramatically declined since 1990 from 60 to 42 years, among the lowest in the world. The amount of time a Zimbabwean citizen was expected to live in good health from birth was 39 years in 2010. Concurrently, the infant mortality rate has climbed from 53 to 81 deaths per 1,000 live births in the same period. As of 2009, 1.2 million Zimbabweans live with HIV. Sony VAIO PCG-8152M battery
On 29 March 2008, Zimbabwe held a presidential election along with a parliamentary election. The three major candidates were Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T), and Simba Makoni, an independent. The results of this election were withheld for two weeks, after which it was generally acknowledged that the MDC had achieved a majority of one seat in the lower house of parliamentSony VAIO PCG-31311M battery.
In late 2008, problems in Zimbabwe reached crisis proportions in the areas of living standards, public health (with a major cholera outbreak in December) and various basic affairs. Mugabe's mining of diamonds at Marange in Chiadzwa became the subject of international attention as the World Diamond Council called for a clampdown on smuggling and illegal miners were reported killed by the military. Sony VAIO PCG-31111M battery
In September 2008, a power-sharing agreement was reached between Tsvangirai and President Mugabe, permitting the former to hold the office of prime minister. Due to ministerial differences between their respective political parties, the agreement was not fully implemented until 13 February 2009Sony VAIO PCG-8112M battery.
In November 2010, the IMF described the Zimbabwean economy as "completing its second year of buoyant economic growth after a decade of economic decline", briefly citing "strengthening policies" and "favorable shocks" as main reasons for the economic growth. By December, however, Mugabe was threatening to completely expropriate remaining privately owned companies in Zimbabwe unless "western sanctions" were lifted, claimingSony VAIO PCG-7186M battery, "Why should we continue having companies and organisations that are supported by Britain and America without hitting back? Time has come for us to [take] revenge. We can read the riot act and say this is 51 percent we are taking and if the sanctions persist we are taking over 100 percent."
Journalist Nicholas D. Kristof reported that life continues to be considerably worse for the majority of the nation than under the Rhodesian Front, despite minor improvements since 2009. Sony VAIO PCG-7171M battery Other studies, including a 2011 survey by Freedom House, remain more optimistic, suggesting that living conditions have improved on a wider front since the power-sharing agreement. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs states in its 2012–2013 planning document that the "humanitarian situation has improved in Zimbabwe since 2009, but conditions remain precarious for many people".Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M battery
Since May 2012, the European Union initiated a new commercial partnership agreement with Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe. The agreement engages the EU to remove import taxes and quota on products coming from Zimbabwe and the other countries mentioned above. In return, Zimbabwe and the other countries annul import taxes and quota on products coming from the EU. Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M battery
Main articles: Provinces of Zimbabwe, Districts of Zimbabwe, and Wards of Zimbabwe
Administrative divisions of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has a centralised government and is divided into eight provinces and two cities with provincial status, for administrative purposes. Each province has a provincial capital from where official business is usually carried out.
The names of most of the provinces were generated from the Mashonaland and Matabeleland divide at the time of colonisationSony VAIO PCG-5P1M battery: Mashonaland was the territory occupied first by the British South Africa Company Pioneer Column and Matabeleland the territory conquered during the First Matabele War. This corresponds roughly to the precolonial territory of the Shona people and the Matabele people, although there are significant ethnic minorities in most provincesSony VAIO PCG-5N2M battery. Each province is headed by a Provincial Governor, appointed by the President. The provincial government is run by a Provincial Administrator, appointed by the Public Service Commission. Other government functions at provincial level are carried out by provincial offices of national government departments. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M battery
The provinces are subdivided into 59 districts and 1,200 wards (sometimes referred to as municipalities). Each district is headed by a District Administrator, appointed by the Public Service Commission. There is also a Rural District Council, which appoints a Chief Executive Officer. The Rural District Council is composed of elected ward councillors, the District Administrator and one representative of the chiefs (traditional leaders appointed under customary law)Sony VAIO PCG-8161M battery in the district. Other government functions at district level are carried out by district offices of national government departments.
At the ward level there is a Ward Development Committee, comprising the elected ward councillor, the kraalheads (traditional leaders subordinate to chiefs) and representatives of Village Development Committees. Wards are subdivided into villages, each of which has an elected Village Development Committee and a Headman (traditional leader subordinate to the kraalhead). Sony VAIO PCG-8141M battery
Government and politics
Main articles: Politics of Zimbabwe and Elections in Zimbabwe
Robert Mugabe heading to the opening of Parliament
Zimbabwe is a republic with a semi-presidential system of government. Under the constitutional changes in 2005, an upper chamber, the Senate, was reinstated. The House of Assembly is the lower chamber of Parliament.
President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (commonly abbreviated ZANU-PF) has been the dominant political party in Zimbabwe since independence. Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M battery In 1987 then-prime minister Mugabe revised the constitution, abolishing the ceremonial presidency and the prime ministerial posts to form an executive president, a Presidential system. His ZANU party has won every election since independence, in 1990 election the second-placed party, Edgar Tekere's Zimbabwe Unity Movement, winning only 20% of the vote. During the 1995 parliamentary elections most opposition parties, including the ZUM, boycotted the votingSony VAIO PCG-3H1M battery, resulting in a near-sweep by the ruling party. When the opposition returned to the polls in 2000, they won 57 seats, only five fewer than ZANU.
Presidential elections were again held in 2002 amid allegations of vote-rigging, intimidation and fraud. The 2005 Zimbabwe parliamentary elections were held on 31 March and multiple claims of vote rigging, election fraud and intimidation were made by the MDC and Jonathan Moyo, calling for investigations into 32 of the 120 constituencies.Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M battery Jonathan Moyo participated in the elections despite the allegations and won a seat as an independent member of Parliament.
General elections were again held in Zimbabwe on 30 March 2008. The official results required a runoff between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader; the MDC challenged these results, claiming widespread election fraud by the Mugabe governmentSony VAIO PCG-3C1M battery. The run-off was scheduled for 27 June 2008. On 22 June, citing the continuing unfairness of the process and refusing to participate in a "violent, illegitimate sham of an election process", Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential run-off, the ZEC held the run-off and President Mugabe received a landslide majority.
The MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai is now the majority in the Lower chamber of Parliament. The MDC split into two factions. One faction (MDC-M) Sony VAIO PCG-9Z2L battery, now led by Arthur Mutambara contested the elections to the Senate, while the other, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, opposed to contesting the elections, stating that participation in a rigged election is tantamount to endorsing Mugabe's claim that past elections were free and fair. The opposition parties have resumed participation in national and local elections as recently as 2006Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1L battery. The two MDC camps had their congresses in 2006 with Morgan Tsvangirai being elected to lead MDC-T, which has become more popular than the other group.
Robert Mugabe with Chinese leader Hu Jintao
Mutambara, a robotics professor and former NASA robotics specialist has replaced Welshman Ncube who was the interim leader of MDC-M after the split. Morgan Tsvangirai did not participate in the Senate elections, while the Mutambara faction participated and won five seats in the senateSony VAIO PCG-9131L battery. The Mutambara formation has been weakened by defections from MPs and individuals who are disillusioned by their manifesto. As of 2008, the Movement for Democratic Change has become the most popular, with crowds as large as 20,000 attending their rallies as compared to between 500–5,000 for the other formation.
On 28 April 2008, Tsvangirai and Mutambara announced at a joint news conference in Johannesburg that the two MDC formations were cooperatingSony VAIO PCG-8161L battery, enabling the MDC to have a clear parliamentary majority.] Tsvangirai said that Mugabe could not remain President without a parliamentary majority. On the same day, Silaigwana announced that the recounts for the final five constituencies had been completed, that the results were being collated and that they would be published on 29 April. Sony VAIO PCG-8152L battery
In mid-September 2008, after protracted negotiations overseen by the leaders of South Africa and Mozambique, Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing deal which would see Mugabe retain control over the army. Donor nations have adopted a 'wait-and-see' attitude, wanting to see real change being brought about by this merger before committing themselves to funding rebuilding efforts, which are estimated to take at least five yearsSony VAIO PCG-8141L battery. On 11 February 2009 Tsvangirai was sworn in as Prime Minister by President Mugabe.
In November 2008, the government of Zimbabwe spent $7.3 million donated by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. A representative of the organisation declined to speculate on how the money was spent, except that it was not for the intended purpose, and the government has failed to honour requests to return the money.Sony VAIO PCG-8131L battery
Main article: Human rights in Zimbabwe
Protesters against the Mugabe administration abroad; protests are "discouraged" by Zimbabwean police in Zimbabwe.
There are widespread reports of systematic and escalating violations of human rights in Zimbabwe under the Mugabe administration and his party, the ZANU-PF.
According to human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch the government of Zimbabwe violates the rights to shelter, foodSony VAIO PCG-81312L battery, freedom of movement and residence, freedom of assembly and the protection of the law. There have been alleged assaults on the media, the political opposition, civil society activists, and human rights defenders.
Opposition gatherings are frequently the subject of brutal attacks by the police force, such as the crackdown on a 11 March 2007 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) rally and several others during the 2008 election campaign. In the attacks of 2007, party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and 49 other opposition activists were arrested and severely beaten by the policeSony VAIO PCG-81214L battery. After his release, Morgan Tsvangirai told the BBC that he suffered head injuries and blows to the arms, knees and back, and that he lost a significant amount of blood.
The ZBC is the public broadcaster
Police action was strongly condemned by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the European Union and the United States. While noting that the activists had suffered injuries, but not mentioning the cause of them, the Zimbabwean government-controlled daily newspaper The Herald claimed the police had intervened after demonstrators "ran amok looting shopsSony VAIO PCG-81115L battery, destroying property, mugging civilians, and assaulting police officers and innocent members of the public". The newspaper also argued that the opposition had been "willfully violating the ban on political rallies".
There are also abuses of media rights and access. The Zimbabwean government suppresses freedom of the press and freedom of speech. It has also been repeatedly accused of using the public broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting CorporationSony VAIO PCG-81114L battery, as a propaganda tool. Newspapers critical of the government, such as the Daily News, closed after bombs exploded at their offices and the government refused to renew their license. BBC News, Sky News, and CNN were banned from filming or reporting from Zimbabwe. In 2009 reporting restrictions on the BBC and CNN were lifted. Sky News continue to report on happenings within Zimbabwe from neighbouring countries like South AfricaSony VAIO PCG-81113L battery.
Main article: Zimbabwe Defence Forces
Flag of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
The existence of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) is enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Chapter X, 96 (1), which states that,
“For the purpose of defending Zimbabwe, there shall be defence forces consisting of an army, an air force and such other branches, if any, of the defence forces as may be provided for by or under an act of parliament. Sony VAIO PCG-7142L battery ”
The ZDF was set up by the integration of three belligerent forces – the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA), the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), and the Rhodesian Security Forces (RSF) – after the Second Chimurenga and Zimbabwean independence in 1980. The integration period saw the formation of The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) as separate entities under the command of Rtd General Solomon MujuruSony VAIO PCG-7141L battery and Air Marshal Norman Walsh who retired in 1982, and was replaced by Air Marshal Azim Daudpota who handed over command to the late Rtd Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai in 1985.
Although integration took place in the ZNA, there was no integration in the Air Force of Zimbabwe. Ex ZIPRA and ex ZANLA members who joined the Air Force particularly between 1980 and early 1982 did so as individualsSony VAIO PCG-71111L battery. Consequently, many did not make the so-called "grade" and were dismissed from the Force unlike their colleagues in the ZNA who were protected by the integration directive. Before Norman Walsh left the Air Force, military aircraft were destroyed through sabotage at Thornhill Air Base in Gweru, in an operation believed to have been conducted by South African special forces. A number of white officers were arrested and tortured and that led to an exodus of white commissioned officers from the AFZSony VAIO PCG-61411L battery.
The government responded by transferring Major General Josiah Tungamirai from the ZNA to the AFZ, becoming an Air Vice Marshal, who later deputised Air Marshal Daudpota, seconded from the Pakistan Air Force. The integration commanders handed over the Zimbabwean flags to then Lieutenant General Vitalis Zvinavashe, who later became the first Commander Defence Forces (1993), and Air Marshal Perrance Shiri in 1992Sony VAIO PCG-61112L battery, and subsequently in the ZNA to then Lieutenant General Constantine Chiwenga in 1993.
The approval of the Defence Amendment Bill saw the setting up of a single command for the Defence Forces in 1995. The late General Vitalis Zvinavashe became the first commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, with the commanders of both the Army and the Air Force falling under his commandSony VAIO PCG-61111L battery. Following his retirement in December 2003, General Constantine Chiwenga, was promoted and appointed Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. Lieutenant General P. V. Sibanda replaced him as Commander of the Army.
The ZNA currently has an active duty strength of 30,000. The Air Force has about 5,139 men assigned. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (includes Police Support Unit, Paramilitary Police) is also part of the defence force of Zimbabwe and numbers 25,000Sony VAIO PCG-5T4L battery.
In 1999, the Government of Zimbabwe sent a sizeable military force into the Democratic Republic of Congo to support the government of President Laurent Kabila during the Second Congo War. Those forces were largely withdrawn in 2002.
Zimbabwe National Army
Main article: Zimbabwe National Army
Flag of the Army of Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwe National Army or ZNA was created in 1980 from elements of the Rhodesian Army, integrated to a greater or lesser extent with combatants from the ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrilla movements (the armed wings of, respectively, ZANU and ZAPU) Sony VAIO PCG-5T3L battery.
Following majority rule in early 1980, British Army trainers oversaw the integration of guerrilla fighters into a battalion structure overlaid on the existing Rhodesian armed forces. For the first year, a system was followed where the top-performing candidate became battalion commander. If he or she was from ZANLA, then his or her second-in-command was the top-performing ZIPRA candidate, and vice versa. Sony VAIO PCG-5T2L battery This ensured a balance between the two movements in the command structure. From early 1981, this system was abandoned in favour of political appointments, and ZANLA and ZANU fighters consequently quickly formed the majority of battalion commanders in the ZNA.
The ZNA was originally formed into four brigades, composed of a total of 28 battalions. The brigade support units were composed almost entirely of specialists of the former Rhodesian ArmySony VAIO PCG-5S3L battery, while unintegrated battalions of the Rhodesian African Rifles were assigned to the 1st, 3rd and 4th Brigades. The Fifth Brigade was formed in 1981 and disbanded in 1988 after the demonstration of mass brutality and murder during the brigade's occupation of Matabeleland in what has become known as Gukurahundi (Shona: "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains"), the campaign which finished off Mugabe's liberation struggle. The Brigade had been reformed by 2006, with its commander, Brigadier-General John Mupande praising its "rich history".Sony VAIO PCG-5S2L battery
Mineral exports, agriculture, and tourism are the main foreign currency earners of Zimbabwe. The mining sector remains very lucrative, with some of the world's largest platinum reserves being mined by Anglo American plc and Impala Platinum. The Marange diamond fields, discovered in 2006, are considered the biggest diamond find in over a century. They have the potential to improve the fiscal situation of the country considerablySony VAIO PCG-5S1L battery, but almost all revenues from the field have disappeared in to the pockets of army officers and ZANU-PF politicians. Zimbabwe is the biggest trading partner of South Africa on the continent.
Zimbabwe maintained positive economic growth throughout the 1980s (5% GDP growth per year) and 1990s (4.3% GDP growth per year). The economy declined from 2000: 5% decline in 2000, 8% in 2001, 12% in 2002 and 18% in 2003. The government of Zimbabwe faces a variety of economic problems after having abandoned earlier efforts to Sony VAIO PCG-5R2L batterydevelop a market-oriented economy. Problems include a shortage of foreign exchange, soaring inflation, and supply shortages. Zimbabwe's involvement from 1998 to 2002 in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy.
The downward spiral of the economy has been attributed mainly to mismanagement and corruption by the government and the eviction of more than 4,000 white farmers in the controversial land redistribution of 2000Sony VAIO PCG-5R1L battery. Zimbabwe was previously an exporter of maize but has become a net importer. Tobacco exports and other exports of crops have also declined sharply. The fate of the white farmers was publicised in a documentary film Mugabe and the White African.
Tourism was an important industry for the country, but has been failing in recent years. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force released a report in June 2007, estimating 60% of Zimbabwe's wildlife has died since 2000 due to poaching and deforestationSony VAIO PCG-5P4L battery. The report warns that the loss of life combined with widespread deforestation is potentially disastrous for the tourist industry.
In November 2010, the IMF described the Zimbabwean economy as "completing its second year of buoyant economic growth".
Inflation rose from an annual rate of 32% in 1998, to an official estimated high of 11,200,000% in August 2008 according to the country's Central Statistical Office. This represented a state of hyperinflation, and the central bank introduced a new 100 billion dollar note. Sony VAIO PCG-5P2L battery As of November 2008, unofficial figures put Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate at 516 quintillion percent, with prices doubling every 1.3 days. Zimbabwe's inflation crisis was in 2009 the second worst inflation spike in history, behind the hyperinflationary crisis of Hungary in 1946, in which prices doubled every 15.6 hours. By 2005, the purchasing power of the average Zimbabwean had dropped to the same levels in real terms as 1953. Sony VAIO PCG-5N4L battery Local residents have largely resorted to buying essentials from neighbouring Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia.
In 2005, the government, led by central bank governor Gideon Gono, started making overtures that white farmers could come back. There were 400 to 500 still left in the country, but much of the land that had been confiscated was no longer productive. In January 2007, the government even let some white farmers sign long term leases. But, at the same time, the government continued to demand that all remaining white farmersSony VAIO PCG-5N2L battery, who were given eviction notices earlier, vacate the land or risk being arrested.
In August 2006, a revalued Zimbabwean dollar was introduced, equal to 1000 of the prior Zimbabwean dollars. The exchange rate fell from 24 old Zimbabwean dollars per U.S. dollar (USD) in 1998 to 250,000 prior or 250 new Zimbabwean dollars per USD at the official rate, and an estimated 120,000,000 old or 120,000 revalued Zimbabwean dollars per US dollar on the parallel market, in June 2007Sony VAIO PCG-51513L battery.
In January 2009, Zimbabwe introduced a new Z$100 trillion banknote. On 29 January, in an effort to counteract his country's runaway inflation, acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that Zimbabweans will be permitted to use other, more stable currencies (e.g. Sterling, Euro, South African Rand, and the United States Dollar) to do business, alongside the Zimbabwe dollarSony VAIO PCG-51511L battery.
On 2 February 2009, the RBZ announced that a further 12 zeros were to be taken off the currency, with 1,000,000,000,000 (third) Zimbabwe dollars being exchanged for 1 new (fourth) dollar. New banknotes were introduced with a face value of Z$1, Z$5, Z$10, Z$20, Z$50, Z$100 and Z$500.The banknotes of the fourth dollar were to circulate alongside the third dollar, which remained legal tender until 30 June 2009. Sony VAIO PCG-51412L battery
Since the formation of the Unity Government in 2009, the Zimbabwean economy has been on the rebound. GDP grew by more than 5% in the year 2009 and 2011. Growth is forecast to reach 8% in 2010, buoyed by high mineral prices and the improving agriculture sector. Zimbabwe produced 119 million kg of tobacco in the 2009/10 season, double the previous year’s output. Sony VAIO PCG-51411L battery Zimplats, the nation's largest platinum company, has proceeded with US$500 million in expansions, and is also continuing a separate US$2 billion project, despite threats by Mugabe to nationalise the company. The pan-African investment bank IMARA released a favourable report in February 2011 on investment prospects in Zimbabwe, citing an improved revenue base and higher tax receipts. Sony VAIO PCG-51312L battery