Zimbabwean, adj., n.
/zim bahb"way, -wee/, n.
1. Formerly, Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia. a republic in S Africa: a former British colony and part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland; gained independence 1980. 11,423,175; 150,330 sq. mi. (389,362 sq. km). Cap.: Harare.
2. the site of stone ruins (Great Zimbabwe) discovered c1870 in Rhodesia, probably built by a Bantu people, consisting of three main groups of ruins, and dating between the 9th and 15th centuries A.D.

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Introduction Zimbabwe -
Background: The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated that favored whites in power. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded more complete voting rights for the black African majority in the country (then called Rhodesia). UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising finally led to free elections in 1979 and independence (as Zimbabwe) in 1980. Robert MUGABE, the nation's first prime minister, has been the country's only ruler (as president since 1987) and has dominated the country's political system since independence. Geography Zimbabwe
Location: Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia
Geographic coordinates: 20 00 S, 30 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 390,580 sq km water: 3,910 sq km land: 386,670 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Montana
Land boundaries: total: 3,066 km border countries: Botswana 813 km, Mozambique 1,231 km, South Africa 225 km, Zambia 797 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: tropical; moderated by altitude; rainy season (November to March)
Terrain: mostly high plateau with higher central plateau (high veld); mountains in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: junction of the Runde and Save rivers 162 m highest point: Inyangani 2,592 m
Natural resources: coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum group metals
Land use: arable land: 8.4% permanent crops: 0.34% other: 91.26% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 1,170 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: recurring droughts; floods and severe storms are rare Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; land degradation; air and water pollution; the black rhinoceros herd - once the largest concentration of the species in the world - has been significantly reduced by poaching; poor mining practices have led to toxic waste and heavy metal pollution Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: landlocked; the Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zambia; in full flood (February- April) the massive Victoria Falls on the river forms the world's largest curtain of falling water People Zimbabwe -
Population: 11,376,676 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 37.9% (male 2,178,073; female 2,128,287) 15-64 years: 58.4% (male 3,376,850; female 3,268,315) 65 years and over: 3.7% (male 213,286; female 211,865) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.05% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 24.59 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 24.06 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: NEGL migrant(s)/1,000 population note: there is a small but steady flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa in search of better paid employment (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/ female total population: 1.03 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 62.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 36.5 years female: 35.1 years (2002 est.) male: 37.87 years
Total fertility rate: 3.21 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 25.06% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 1.5 million (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 160,000 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Zimbabwean(s) adjective: Zimbabwean
Ethnic groups: African 98% (Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, other 2%), mixed and Asian 1%, white less than 1%
Religions: syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%
Languages: English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write English total population: 85% male: 90% female: 80% (1995 est.) Government Zimbabwe -
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Zimbabwe conventional short form: Zimbabwe former: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: Harare Administrative divisions: 8 provinces and 2 cities* with provincial status; Bulawayo*, Harare*, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands
Independence: 18 April 1980 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 18 April (1980)
Constitution: 21 December 1979
Legal system: mixture of Roman-Dutch and English common law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Executive President Robert Gabriel MUGABE (since 31 December 1987); Co-Vice Presidents Simon Vengai MUZENDA (since 31 December 1987) and Joseph MSIKA (since 23 December 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: Executive President Robert Gabriel MUGABE (since 31 December 1987); Co-Vice Presidents Simon Vengai MUZENDA (since 31 December 1987) and Joseph MSIKA (since 23 December 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; responsible to the House of Assembly elections: presidential candidates nominated with a nomination paper signed by at least 10 registered voters (at least one from each province) and elected by popular vote; election last held 9-11 March 2002 (next to be held NA March 2006); co-vice presidents appointed by the president election results: Robert Gabriel MUGABE reelected president; percent of vote - Robert Gabriel MUGABE 56.2%, Morgan TSVANGIRAI 41.9%
Legislative branch: unicameral parliament, called House of Assembly (150 seats - 120 elected by popular vote for five-year terms, 12 nominated by the president, 10 occupied by traditional chiefs chosen by their peers, and 8 occupied by provincial governors appointed by the president) elections: last held 24-25 June 2000 (next to be held NA 2005) election results: percent of vote by party - ZANU-PF 47.2%, MDC 45.6%, ZANU-Ndonga 0.7%, United Parties 0.7%; seats by party - ZANU-PF 63, MDC 56, ZANU-Ndonga 1
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; High Court Political parties and leaders: Movement for Democratic Change or MDC [Morgan TSVANGIRAI]; United Parties [Abel MUZOREWA]; Zimbabwe African National Union-Ndonga or ZANU-Ndonga [leader NA]; Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front or ZANU-PF [Robert Gabriel MUGABE]; Zimbabwe African Peoples Union or ZAPU [Paul SIWELA] Political pressure groups and National Constitutional Assembly or
leaders: NCA [Lovemore MADHUKU] International organization ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-15,
participation: G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIK, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Simbi Veke MUBAKO FAX: [1] (202) 483-9326 telephone: [1] (202) 332-7100 chancery: 1608 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph
US: G. SULLIVAN embassy: 172 Herbert Chitepo Avenue, Harare mailing address: P. O. Box 3340, Harare telephone: [263] (4) 250-593 and 250-594 FAX: [263] (4) 796488
Flag description: seven equal horizontal bands of green, yellow, red, black, red, yellow, and green with a white isosceles triangle edged in black with its base on the hoist side; a yellow Zimbabwe bird is superimposed on a red five-pointed star in the center of the triangle Economy Zimbabwe
Economy - overview: The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems as it struggles to consolidate earlier moves to develop a market-oriented economy. Its involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, has already drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. Badly needed support from the IMF has been suspended because of the country's failure to meet budgetary goals. Inflation rose from an annual rate of 32% in 1998 to 59% in 1999, to 60% in 2000, and to 100% by yearend 2001. The economy is being steadily weakened by excessive government deficits, AIDS, and rampant inflation. The government's land reform program, characterized by chaos and violence, has derailed the commercial sector, the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange and the provider of 400,000 jobs. Distribution of income is extremely unequal.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $28 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -6.5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,450 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 11% industry: 14% services: 75% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: 60% (1999 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 1.8%
percentage share: highest 10%: 46.9% (1990) Distribution of family income - Gini 56.8 (1990-91)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 100% (2001)
Labor force: 5.5 million (2000 est.) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 66%, services 24%, industry 10% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate: 60% (2001 est.)
Budget: revenues: $2.5 billion expenditures: $2.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries: mining (coal, gold, copper, nickel, tin, clay, numerous metallic and nonmetallic ores), steel, wood products, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing and footwear, foodstuffs, beverages Industrial production growth rate: -10% (2001 est.) Electricity - production: 6.425 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 53.31% hydro: 46.69% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 10.475 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 4.5 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs
Exports: $2.1 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: tobacco 30%, gold 11%, ferroalloys 9%, textile/clothing 3% (2000)
Exports - partners: South Africa 12.1%, UK 8.5%, Japan 7.7%, Germany 6.1%, China 5.4% (2000)
Imports: $1.5 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 34%, other manufactures 18%, chemicals 17%, fuels 11% (1999)
Imports - partners: South Africa 46.3%, UK 7.2%, Germany 2.5%, US 2.8%, Japan 2.5% (2000 est.)
Debt - external: $5 billion (2001 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $200 million (2000 est.)
Currency: Zimbabwean dollar (ZWD)
Currency code: ZWD
Exchange rates: Zimbabwean dollars per US dollar - 54.9451 (December 2001), 54.9451 (2001), 43.2900 (2000), 38.3142 (1999), 21.4133 (1998), 11.8906 (1997)
Fiscal year: 1 January - 31 December Communications Zimbabwe - Telephones - main lines in use: 212,000 (in addition, there are about 20,000 fixed telephones in wireless local loop connections) (1997) Telephones - mobile cellular: 111,000 (2001)
Telephone system: general assessment: system was once one of the best in Africa, but now suffers from poor maintenance; more than 100,000 outstanding requests for connection despite an equally large number of installed but unused main lines domestic: consists of microwave radio relay links, open-wire lines, radiotelephone communication stations, fixed wireless local loop installations, and a substantial mobile cellular network; Internet connection is available in Harare and planned for all major towns and for some of the smaller ones international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat; two international digital gateway exchanges (in Harare and Gweru) Radio broadcast stations: AM 7, FM 20 (plus 17 repeater stations), shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios: 1.14 million (1997) Television broadcast stations: 16 (1997)
Televisions: 370,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .zw Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 6 (2000)
Internet users: 30,000 (1999) Transportation Zimbabwe -
Railways: total: 3,077 km narrow gauge: 3,077 km 1.067-m gauge (313 km electrified; 42 km double- tracked) note: includes the 318 km Bulawaya- Beitbridge Railway Company line (2001)
Highways: total: 18,338 km paved: 8,692 km unpaved: 9,646 km (2002)
Waterways: chrome ore is transported from Harare - by way of the Mazoe River - to the Zambezi River in Mozambique
Pipelines: petroleum products 212 km
Ports and harbors: Binga, Kariba
Airports: 454 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 17 over 3,047 m: 3 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 437 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 914 to 1,523 m: 209 under 914 m: 224 (2001) Military Zimbabwe -
Military branches: Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Republic Police (includes Police Support Unit, Paramilitary Police) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 3,057,381 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 1,898,383 (2002
service: est.) Military expenditures - dollar $350.6 million (FY01)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 3.8% (FY01)
GDP: Transnational Issues Zimbabwe - Disputes - international: none
Illicit drugs: transit point for African cannabis and South Asian heroin, mandrax, and methamphetamines destined for the South African and European markets

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officially Republic of Zimbabwe formerly Rhodesia

Landlocked country, south-central Africa.

Area: 150,873 sq mi (390,759 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 11,377,000. Capital: Harare. The Shona make up about 70% of the population, the Ndebele about 16%, and whites about 2%. Languages: English (official); Bantu languages of the Shona and Ndebele are much more widely spoken. Religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs, Islam. Currency: Zimbabwe dollar. A vast plateau sloping southwest-northeast, the central part of which lies at an elevation of 4,000–5,000 ft (1,200–1,500 m), dominates Zimbabwe's landscape. The Zambezi River forms the country's northwestern boundary and contains Victoria Falls, as well as the major dam (completed 1959) that created Lake Kariba; the lake, measuring more than 2,000 sq mi (5,200 sq km), is one of the world's largest man-made lakes. The Limpopo and Save river basins are in the southeast. Agricultural products, livestock, and mineral reserves, including gold, are all economically important. Zimbabwe is a republic with one legislative house; its head of state and government is the president. Remains of Stone Age cultures dating back 500,000 years have been found in the area. The first Bantu-speaking peoples reached it during the 5th–10th centuries AD, driving the Bushmen inhabitants into the desert. A second migration of Bantu speakers began с 1830. During this period the British and Afrikaners moved up from the south, and the area came under the administration of the British South Africa Company (1889–1923). Called Southern Rhodesia (1911–64), it became a self-governing British colony in 1923. The colony united in 1953 with Nyasaland (Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) to form the Central African Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The federation dissolved in 1963, and Southern Rhodesia reverted to its former colonial status. In 1965 it issued a unilateral declaration of independence considered illegal by the British government, which led to economic sanctions against it. The country, which proclaimed itself a republic in 1970, called itself Rhodesia from 1964 to 1979. In 1979 it instituted limited majority rule and changed its name to Zimbabwe Rhodesia. It was granted independence by Britain in 1980 and became Zimbabwe. A multiparty system was established in 1990. During recent years there has been increased tension between white farmers and black government leaders as the government has tried to introduce policies offering blacks redress for discrimination suffered during colonial days.
(as used in expressions)
Republic of Zimbabwe

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▪ 2009

390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 11,350,000, of which about 3,000,000 people might be living outside the country
Chief of state:
President Robert Mugabe
Head of government:
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

      In the legislative elections in Zimbabwe on March 29, 2008, the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) lost control of the House of Assembly, winning 97 seats while Morgan Tsvangirai's mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won 99 and Arthur Mutambara's breakaway faction of the MDC gained 10. There was a lengthy delay in announcing the results of the presidential election (also held in March), but eventually Tsvangirai was reported to have tallied 48% of the vote to 43% for incumbent Robert Mugabe of ZANU-PF. Because neither candidate garnered the constitutionally required minimum of more than 50%, a runoff election was scheduled for June 27. Intimidation of MDC supporters by police and ZANU-PF members began immediately. It became so bad that Tsvangirai, claiming that fair elections were impossible, withdrew from the contest on June 22 and took refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare. The election went ahead, however, and Mugabe was sworn in as president on June 29.

      As these events unfolded, South African Pres. Thabo Mbeki, acting on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), attempted to reconcile the opposing factions. On July 21 he brokered a framework agreement for three-party talks aimed at creating a government of national unity. Disagreements over the distribution of cabinet seats delayed the talks, which then adjourned on August 12 to allow Tsvangirai to reflect on a key area of disagreement, the assignment of the chairmanship of the cabinet. In the meantime, though ZANU-PF had agreed to support Mutambara's candidate for speaker of the House of Assembly, his own supporters lined up instead behind Tsvangirai's winning candidate. On September 15 all three parties signed a power-sharing agreement, but by the end of October controversy had again erupted, and further progress was halted.

      Against this backdrop, the neglected economy continued its rapid decline. In January the new 10-million-Zimbabwe-dollar note, officially valued at £168 (about $325), traded on the black market for £1.68 (about $3.25). By August inflation exceeded 2,000,000%, shops were empty, there was little food in the markets, and hundreds of thousands were starving. Nevertheless, in June Anglo American mining company announced its intention to invest $400 million in a platinum mine in central Zimbabwe, and British-American Tobacco and Barclays Bank said that they would maintain though not expand existing operations. An outbreak of cholera late in the year reached epidemic proportions and forced the Mugabe regime to appeal for international assistance.

Kenneth Ingham

▪ 2008

390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 12,311,000, of which about 3,000,000–4,000,000 people might be living outside the country
Head of state and government:
President Robert Mugabe

 After a year during which Morgan Tsvangirai (Tsvangirai, Morgan ) and his opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had been campaigning for “mass action” to effect regime change, Pres. Robert Mugabe in 2007 banned political rallies across Zimbabwe. Further attempts by the opposition to mount demonstrations in Harare and Bulawayo were blocked by police, and on March 11, MDC leaders in Harare were arrested on their way to what they claimed was a prayer meeting. After learning what had happened, Tsvangirai drove to the police station where his supporters were being held and was himself arrested. He and his supporters were savagely beaten; Tsvangirai and 14 others required hospital treatment. Photographs of the injured circulated widely, arousing indignant protests from a number of Western powers, but on March 19 President Mugabe threatened to expel any foreign diplomats who offered support to the opposition. In light of Tsvangirai's failure in previous elections, leaders of his faction of the MDC began in June to question his suitability as a candidate for the presidential elections in 2008. At the end of July, the breakaway faction of the party, led by Arthur Mutambara, decided to contest the elections on its own, describing Tsvangirai as weak and indecisive. In December, however, Tsvangirai offered to bury political differences to present a united front against Mugabe.

      At a meeting in March of leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Mugabe explained that his reactions were a response to a challenge orchestrated by the U.K. and its allies who sponsored the MDC, which aimed to overthrow his government. The SADC leaders reaffirmed their support for Zimbabwe and invited South Africa's Pres. Thabo Mbeki to encourage dialogue between the government and the opposition groups. Coinciding with the SADC meeting, the UN Human Rights Council rejected a plea by the U.K. and the EU for interference in Zimbabwe, arguing that events there did not constitute a threat to world peace and therefore were outside the competence of the council.

      In May African countries registered their solidarity with Zimbabwe when, supported by a number of Latin American countries, they elected Zimbabwe to chair the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Former president Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia also said that while he did not endorse all of Mugabe's actions, Mugabe should not be demonized because many of Zimbabwe's problems stemmed from the U.K.'s having reneged on its commitment to take responsibility for all land issues.

      Though Western powers blamed the crumbling economy on bad governance, Mugabe attributed the state of the economy to the imposition of sanctions, which had resulted in acute shortages of food and fuel and with a rise in inflation from 1,730% in February to 7,892% in September. In spite of the country's economic problems, in June, Lonrho, a company with long-standing links with Zimbabwe, announced that it would invest £100 million there (about $198 million). Only days later a bill was published that stipulated that black Zimbabweans were required to hold at least 51% of shares in every company. Early in July the government ordered that prices of many essential goods be reduced by up to 70%, and in September the currency was devalued by 1,200%.

      At a meeting of EU and African leaders in Lisbon in December, German Chancellor Angela Merkel launched a powerful verbal attack on Mugabe's government, but on December 13 a special congress of the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front affirmed Mugabe as its sole candidate for president in the 2008 elections. Ian Smith (Smith, Ian Douglas ), the former prime minister of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) died in November.

Kenneth Ingham

▪ 2007

390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 12,237,000, of which about 3,000,000–4,000,000 people might be living outside the country
Head of state and government:
President Robert Mugabe

      The Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) began the year 2006 racked by internal divisions. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai lost considerable support owing to his opposition to constitutional change in 2005 and to what his critics described as his dictatorial behaviour. Meanwhile, Pres. Robert Mugabe's security forces continued to deal summarily with antigovernment demonstrations. Arthur Mutambara, leader of the anti-Tsvangirai faction of the MDC, responded by promising that the opposition would create a formidable challenge to Mugabe by democratic means. In March, however, several people, including MDC members of the Assembly, were charged with planning a coup, and in April Mugabe announced large salary increases for the security forces. Even the churches found themselves dividing into opposing political camps; some supported Mugabe, while some backed one or the other faction of the MDC. The continuing conflict between the latter factions was illustrated in July when a white woman who had attended a rally of supporters of Mutambara was severely beaten by a group of Tsvangirai's followers.

      The turmoil in the political field was matched by that in the economy and in the country's social life. Inflation, which passed the 600% mark in February, had topped 1,200% by September. To reduce the amount of paper money that had to be carried, a 50,000-Zimbabwe- dollar note was introduced in January, followed by a 100,000-Zimbabwe-dollar note on July 1. More practically, the government decided from July 31 to remove the last three zeros from the currency. A rise of 1,000% for school fees in April threatened to force large numbers of children to drop out of school, while in June a cross-party parliamentary committee reported that teaching standards had plummeted.

      The campaign launched in 2005 to purge Harare of “illegal” houses and market stalls had left thousands of people homeless and without means of earning a living. The government's claim to be building more acceptable accommodation elsewhere brought little relief, and some of the homeless joined the thousands who had sought sanctuary in South Africa.

      Eventually, in July, a group called the Christian Alliance, a multidenominational movement, invited representatives of political parties, churches, and civil societies to attend a convention to discuss means of tackling the country's problems. Representatives of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) did not attend, but Tsvangirai and Mutambara met in public for the first time since the split in the MDC. From the meeting emerged the Save Zimbabwe alliance, which was committed to working to introduce a new constitution based on democratic principles and to forcing the government to negotiate by mass resistance and democratic confrontation. Benjamin Mkapa, former president of Tanzania, was invited to help to heal the rift between the government and the opposition, but he was urged not to accept Mugabe's claim that all the country's troubles stemmed from disagreement between Zimbabwe and the U.K. Mugabe's response was uncompromising. A mass protest in September was broken up by security forces who arrested and severely beat a number of prominent opposition leaders. At the same time, even within Zanu-PF there was cautious maneuvering among those who hoped to succeed Mugabe as leader.

Kenneth Ingham

▪ 2006

390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 12,161,000, of which about 3 million–4 million people might be living outside the country
Head of state and government:
President Robert Mugabe

      The parliamentary elections held on March 31, 2005, were preceded by dire predictions from critics of the government both inside and outside Zimbabwe who maintained that free and fair elections would be impossible. The Southern African Development Community's observer mission, the only foreign group permitted to monitor the elections, drew attention to several matters that, it said, should be investigated but nevertheless praised both the behaviour of voters and the conduct of the elections. SADC concluded that the result reflected the free will of the people of Zimbabwe.

      Of the parliamentary seats determined by voters, the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front won 78 and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) 41. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, immediately claimed that there had been massive vote rigging, pointing to the serious discrepancies between the number of people registered as having voted and the total number of votes cast for the candidates, but his call for fresh elections was ignored.

 Western critics were incensed in late April by the news that Zimbabwe had been reelected to the UN Human Rights Commission. They were angered too when on May 19 the government launched a cleanup campaign that involved the destruction of thousands of shanty dwellings on the outskirts of Harare and other urban centres. Critics were quick to claim that this was a punitive measure aimed at the supporters of the opposition, who were mainly located in the towns, while churches and other charitable bodies denounced the manner in which thousands of people were made homeless. In June Pres. Robert Mugabe announced a scheme to build two million replacement houses in the next five years, but UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had already dispatched Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, a Tanzanian, on a fact-finding mission to investigate the cleanup program. Her critical report was submitted a month later, but Mugabe cast doubts on her impartiality, citing an earlier comment by U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, his arch critic, that Tibaijuka would “do a good job.”

      A proposal in May by the governor of the Bank of Zimbabwe to invite back some of the white farmers whose land had been seized under the government's land-reform program was rejected by Mugabe, who in July flew to China to solicit financial support. His efforts bore little fruit, and the Zimbabwe dollar consequently fell to an all-time low.

      The courts retained a considerable degree of independence and in May, despite government opposition, released the 62 alleged mercenaries who were said to have been plotting to overthrow the president of Equatorial Guinea. The detainees had been jailed in Zimbabwe on various charges of immigration infringement and security regulations. In August all charges of treason leveled against Tsvangirai were dropped, but any hopes that this might lead to talks between the opposition leader and Mugabe were immediately quashed by the president. Mugabe then demonstrated his contempt for the opposition by arbitrarily creating a Senate, or second chamber of the parliament. His move was effective; it caused a serious split in the MDC between those who wished to challenge Mugabe by voting for their own candidates in the Senate elections and the supporters of Tsvangirai, who insisted on boycotting the elections.

      At a farewell banquet Benjamin Mkapa, the retiring president of Tanzania, voiced the opinion of several African leaders when he said that they should be guided by elders such as President Mugabe and not be dictated to by the West.

Kenneth Ingham

▪ 2005

390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 11,821,000, of which about 3 million people might be living outside the country
Head of state and government:
President Robert Mugabe

      Zimbabwe's international status remained controversial as 2004 began. Its withdrawal from the Commonwealth of Nations in December 2003 had won the sympathy of many African leaders who regarded Pres. Robert Mugabe's action as a justifiable response to the arrogance of the white members of the Commonwealth. South African Pres. Thabo Mbeki, who was not unaware of the situation in Zimbabwe, nevertheless considered that the majority of the Commonwealth heads of government had acted high-handedly in prolonging Zimbabwe's suspension from membership, first issued in March 2002 as a one-year suspension. Mugabe's popularity in South Africa was reflected in the loud cheers and standing ovation that greeted him in Pretoria when he attended the swearing in of Mbeki to a second term of office in April 2004.

      Meanwhile, Mugabe continued to suppress dissent at home and to dismiss criticism from abroad. In January the government ignored a court ruling that the Daily News newspaper should be permitted to resume publication and ordered the arrest of three journalists for the Independent weekly for allegedly having printed lies about Mugabe.

      In March the arrest of a British former SAS officer and leader of 67 mercenaries who were believed to be planning a coup in Equatorial Guinea was a propaganda boost for Mugabe. In May he cut short a UN mission engaged in assessing Zimbabwe's food requirements. Two days later Paul Mangwana, minister for labour and social welfare, stated that Zimbabwe had no need of foreign food aid despite the fact that independent consultants had predicted a serious shortfall in the country's food production. In the event, observers claimed that huge quantities of corn (maize) were being imported from Zambia, while the South African grain-information service reported that an additional 150,000 metric tons were imported via South Africa.

      Early in June, John Nkomo, the minister responsible for overseeing the government's land-reform program, announced that all productive farmland would be nationalized, with title deeds replaced by 99-year leases. President Mugabe stated that the government would take a half share in all mining enterprises and that he would not permit representatives of former imperial powers to oversee elections in his country. In August a draft bill was published banning all foreign human rights groups from operating in Zimbabwe and requiring Zimbabwe's own voluntary organizations to register with a new state-controlled council that would have the right to withdraw licenses and to appoint trustees.

      To the consternation of some foreign sympathizers, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) decided in August to boycott future elections unless the government abided by the charter on holding democratic polls that had recently been adopted at a summit meeting of southern African leaders. The MDC was heartened, however, when in October its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was acquitted of having plotted to kill Mugabe. Although Tsvangirai remained charged with other treasonable offenses, his passport was restored, and he immediately resumed his efforts to win support from other African countries for his campaign for free elections. In November Mugabe tightened his hold on power by suspending Zimbabwe's constitution and forcing a number of repressive laws through the House of Assembly, and in early December he suspended seven up-and-coming members of his party, accusing them of plotting to choose his successor.

Kenneth Ingham

▪ 2004

390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 11,719,000
Head of state and government:
President Robert Mugabe

      Events in Zimbabwe in 2003 echoed those of the previous year. In February both Pres. Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai rejected a deal approved by both the British and the South African governments that called for Mugabe to resign and for a government of unity to be instituted, with Emmerson Mnangagwa, the speaker of the House of Assembly, as president.

      On February 3 the hearing of a treason charge against Tsvangirai opened in court but was overshadowed when French Pres. Jacques Chirac flouted the EU ban on travel to Europe by members of the Zimbabwean government by inviting Mugabe to attend a Franco-African summit in Paris. Only a few days later, South African Pres. Thabo Mbeki accused Britain of waging an international campaign against Zimbabwe and urged that the suspension of the country from membership of the Commonwealth be lifted so that Mugabe could attend a summit meeting in Nigeria in December. Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, who would host the meeting, echoed Mbeki's appeal. These actions won approval in many African countries, which resented what they saw as British neocolonialism, but a majority of Commonwealth countries upheld the suspension.

      Violent protests by supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in March were harshly suppressed by security forces. The MDC vice president, Gibson Sibanda, was arrested, as was Paul Themba Nyathi, another leading member of the party. In April the Roman Catholic Church in Zimbabwe condemned the government's abuse of power. In May another British mediation initiative, working through the presidents of Malawi, Nigeria, and South Africa, was as unsuccessful as earlier attempts had been.

      What Tsvangirai described as a “final push” to oust Mugabe in June resulted in a widely observed five-day stay-at-home. The large-scale marches that had been planned to coincide with the strike failed to materialize, however, because of the overwhelming presence of security forces, which acted with great severity against the few protesters who put in an appearance. A further charge of treason was brought against Tsvangirai for having disregarded an order banning the demonstration.

      On June 6 the IMF suspended Zimbabwe's membership on the grounds of noncooperation. The price of fuel, which had risen by more than 300% in April, increased by a further 160% in August and another 70% in October. In July the price of corn (maize) meal, the staple diet of most Zimbabweans, rose by 500%. In August the government ordered the UN to hand over its famine-relief operations, and when the order was ignored, UN food-distribution offices in the provinces were closed.

      The government received a shock in September when the MDC won a resounding victory in urban local elections. In spite of the efforts of a number of judges who refused to submit to government intervention, the Daily News, the only remaining independent newspaper, was closed by police. In November, however, Tsvangirai's challenge of Mugabe's election as president opened in court. In December, after the Commonwealth extended Zimbabwe's suspension, Mugabe responded by canceling the country's membership.

Kenneth Ingham

▪ 2003

390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 11,377,000
Head of state and government:
President Robert Mugabe

      The early months of 2002 were dominated by preparations for the presidential elections, which were held on March 9–11. Western nations were highly skeptical about the conduct of the elections, and the U.K., already angered by the forcible eviction of white farmers as a result of Pres. Robert Mugabe's land-reform program, took the lead in urging Commonwealth and European Union (EU) countries to take action against him.

      The U.K. government's concern over the land issue enabled Mugabe to depict the West as attempting to reintroduce colonialism. Mugabe claimed that he was defending his country's sovereignty and argued that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was wholly financed by Western capital. In taking this stance, he won the sympathy of other African leaders and diverted attention from the violent attacks by his party's activists on black Zimbabwean opponents. Though the EU agreed on February 18 to impose limited sanctions on the president and his closest associates, African and Asian leaders of Commonwealth countries who attended a summit meeting in Australia on March 3 rejected the U.K.'s proposal to suspend Zimbabwe from membership. (See Commonwealth of Nations .)

      On January 8 a law was enacted that banned all correspondents working for foreign newspapers and required all Zimbabwean journalists to seek an annual license from the information minister. On January 30 another law gave the president draconian powers to suppress opposition. A month later Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, was charged with treason, and on March 7 Didymus Mutasa, foreign affairs spokesman for the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) said that his party would stage a coup if the MDC candidate was victorious. On March 13, however, it was announced that Mugabe had triumphed, gaining 54% of the vote to his opponent's 40%. Six days later Zimbabwe was suspended from membership in the Commonwealth in response to an adverse report on the conduct of the elections by the Commonwealth's monitoring team.

      Hopes that there might be some accommodation between Zimbabwe's two main political parties, mediated by South Africa and Nigeria, were quickly extinguished when ZANU withdrew from the discussions. Mugabe renewed his criticisms of the West, winning further support from African leaders at a World Food Summit in Rome in June and again at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, S.Af., in September. Later in the month an attempt by the Commonwealth to negotiate a working arrangement with Zimbabwe through the agency of Nigeria, South Africa, and Australia broke down when Mugabe boycotted a planned meeting in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the land-reform program was relaunched in June; 2,900 white farmers were told to leave their land by August 8. Attacks on black opponents of the government grew steadily more violent.

      On a number of occasions, members of the judiciary challenged government actions on legal grounds, but their rulings were often reversed by the Supreme Court or ignored by the government. The judges concerned were often forced from office. These political struggles occurred against a background of acute food shortages, which Mugabe attributed to the West's failure to give appropriate assistance, while the West claimed that the shortages were the result of the president's land-reform program.

Kenneth Ingham

▪ 2002

390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 11,365,000
Head of state and government:
President Robert Mugabe

      Throughout 2001 government policy in Zimbabwe was mainly focused upon victory in the elections scheduled for 2002. On January 25 a sharp fall in market interest rates was engineered in spite of urgent warnings from leading bankers. An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team that visited Zimbabwe in March—not impressed by the economic situation—refused to provide any new funds and threatened that if the government did not pay a debt of $73.6 million later in the year, it could be suspended from the IMF. Nevertheless, Finance Minister Simba Makoni, presenting his budget on November 1, said that public spending would double in the next financial year while taxation would be cut. At the same time, he admitted that gross domestic product growth would fall by 7.3% in 2001 and by a further 5.3% in 2002, largely as a result of a 12% cut in agricultural output due to the government's land-reform program.

      That program, launched the previous year and involving the forcible occupation of white-owned land by men claiming to be veterans of the 1970s war of independence, was represented by the government as a fulfillment of unfinished business arising from the war. Great Britain, President Mugabe claimed, had failed to carry out the terms of the independence agreement regarding the transfer of land to black ownership and was now conducting a neocolonial campaign on behalf of white farmers. It was a point of view that won the almost unanimous sympathy of African leaders at a summit meeting held in Lusaka in July. It led, however, to clashes with the law courts. Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was forced to resign in March after the president said that he could not offer protection against people who threatened Gubbay's life. Two other judges resigned in similar circumstances later in the year. Gubbay was replaced by Godfrey Chidyausiku, a friend of the president, and three other black judges were appointed to the bench. Late in the year the Supreme Court ruled that land reform could proceed.

      Frequently, journalists of the country's only independent daily newspaper, the Daily News, were subjected to harassment for their criticism of government policy. In April two bills were hurried through the parliament, one strengthening the government's control over broadcasting and the other banning donations to political parties by foreign organizations. Members of opposition parties were also harassed and were sometimes subjected to violence by vigilantes. In February Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested and charged with inciting the violent overthrow of the president. Later in the year his car was attacked by a hostile crowd.

      South African Pres. Thabo Mbeki consistently advocated a cooperative approach to Mugabe, and after the outbreak of further violence on white-owned farms in August, he agreed to cooperate with the president of Nigeria in organizing a meeting of Commonwealth foreign ministers aimed at effecting an accommodation between Zimbabwe and Britain over land reform. Although Mugabe accepted the meeting's recommendation that law and order should be restored in Zimbabwe, there was no letup in the activities of vigilantes, and the newly constituted Supreme Court declared the president's method of land reform legal.

Kenneth Ingham

▪ 2001

390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 11,343,000
Head of state and government:
President Robert Mugabe

      A new constitution, drafted by the government and seeking to give the president two additional six-year terms in office and also granting him the power to seize white-owned land without compensation, was firmly rejected in a referendum held on Feb. 12–13, 2000; however, only about 25% of the electorate cast its votes. Toward the end of February, men claiming to be veterans of the independence war began what proved to be a long, drawn-out campaign involving the forcible occupation of white-owned farms, the destruction of farm buildings, and physical violence against white farmers and black farm workers during which several were killed.

      On March 17 the High Court ordered the squatters to quit the farms, but this led only to an increase in the violence, the attackers being convinced they had the support of the president. Protests by the British government led Pres. Robert Mugabe to lay the blame on Great Britain for having reneged on its promise, given at the time of independence, to provide adequate funds to compensate white farmers for the loss of their land. Early in April Britain offered further assistance, provided the parliamentary elections to be held in June were seen to be free and fair, that the economy was restored to a firm footing, and that any further land distribution would benefit peasant farmers rather than ruling-party leaders. On April 21 President Mugabe promised that the elections would be free and fair and that the squatters would be urged to leave the farms they had occupied.

      The weeks before the elections were marred by widespread violence against supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mugabe also imposed severe restrictions on attempts by external bodies, such as the European Union, to monitor the elections, which, he insisted, were an internal affair. In the election the MDC won 57 of the 120 contested seats and the ruling ZANU-PF 62; the government's dominance was assured, however, by the president's right to nominate an additional 30 members.

      In October Mugabe announced that no action would be taken against any of those responsible for violence during the elections. Meanwhile, his campaign to seize white-owned land was intensified. In response, Pres. Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, in a reversal of his former position, announced on October 25 that this was a violation of the rule of law and had to stop. Mbeki, however, believed South Africa should continue to supply oil to Zimbabwe to prevent that nation's economy, which was in a serious state, from collapsing completely. In May the World Bank had cut off funding to Zimbabwe because of debt arrears amounting to $383 million. On August 1, after months of resistance by the government, the currency was devalued by 24%. This was followed on August 28 by a further devaluation of 3%. Responding to an opposition motion, the speaker of the Zimbabwe House of Assembly announced on October 26 that he would appoint a committee to investigate Mugabe's suitability to continue as president. In December the Supreme Court gave Mugabe six months to develop a workable land-reform program.

Kenneth Ingham

▪ 2000

390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 11,163,000
Head of state and government:
President Robert Mugabe

      Zimbabwe's Pres. Robert Mugabe started 1999 in an aggressive mood, attacking the U.K. for not supporting his land-reform and black-empowerment programs. He went on to threaten to seize farms owned by absentee British aristocrats and called upon British companies to give shares in their businesses to black Zimbabweans.

      In January, in spite of the government's failure to meet the targets laid down by the International Monetary Fund as a basis for the payment of the loan agreed upon in June 1998, an IMF inquiry team recommended a further payment of part of the loan, claiming to be satisfied that land acquisition would be handled fairly and that the country's fiscal position was acceptable.

      Internal critics of the government received short shrift. The editor and a journalist of an independent newspaper, the Standard, were arrested by military police and tortured for having reported that 23 soldiers had themselves been arrested for advocating a military coup against the president. The newspapermen were released only after judges had intervened vigorously, but when lawyers staged a protest against the alleged torture, police broke up the demonstration with batons and tear gas. At the beginning of February, three members of the Supreme Court who had called upon Mugabe to condemn the illegal arrest of the journalists were denounced by the president.

      In February a government proposal for drafting a new constitution was rejected by opposition leaders because they believed it would reflect only the views of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). There was criticism too, from various quarters, of Zimbabwe's continuing involvement in the fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo [Kinshasa]). Although the president claimed that he was fighting to defend the sovereignty of a neighbour, opponents believed that his real motive was to protect the commercial interests of ministers and of state-owned industries in Congo (Kinshasa).

      The IMF decided to withhold its support until the government had provided a satisfactory explanation of how it was financing its role in the war. By the middle of the year, inflation had reached 55%, considerably above the 20% target promised 12 months earlier. In October doubts were expressed about the accuracy of Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa's claim that expenditure on the Congo (Kinshasa) war amounted to only $3 million a month, and World Bank discussion of a $140 million loan, scheduled for October 7, was postponed pending clarification of the financial situation. On June 21, in an interesting extension to his former claim that Zimbabwe's economic problems were due to the greed of Westerners, Mugabe accused his ministers of receiving large bribes from businessmen in return for state contracts. In December Mugabe decried the poor economic situation of blacks and threatened to seize the land of white landowners without compensating them.

      In September a new political party, the Movement for Democratic Change, was formed. It seemed capable of proving a credible opposition to ZANU-PF because it was firmly rooted in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which had itself already presented a number of serious challenges to the government.

      The death on July 1 of Vice Pres. Joshua Nkomo led Mugabe to say, “We grieve the loss of a father figure and founder of the nation.” (See Obituaries (Nkomo, Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo ).)

Kenneth Ingham

▪ 1999

      Area: 390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 11,044,000

      Capital: Harare

      Head of state and government: President Robert Mugabe

      Opposition to Pres. Robert Mugabe and the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party took a variety of forms in 1998 and led to numerous reversals of policy on the part of the government. On January 16 it was reported that, in response to a loan agreement with the European Union, the government had decided to shelve its plan, announced only six weeks earlier, to confiscate some 1,500, mainly white-owned, farms. Less than a month later, Mugabe reversed this decision and said the plan would be put into action, but in early March, when the International Monetary Fund threatened to withdraw a loan worth $174 million unless the situation was clarified, the plan was significantly modified.

      The issue was revived in June when a number of squatters moved onto six farms east of Harare in what was said to be a protest against the government's failure to find land for them. Others believed the move had been inspired by the government, which on July 1 announced a new plan to settle 100,000 families on 5.1 million ha (12.5 million ac) to be bought from white farmers. It was hoped that the money to fund this undertaking would be provided by external donors.l. Although they recognized the need for land reform, the donors rejected Mugabe's plan as too ambitious and agreed only to support a two-year pilot project. In November Mugabe again changed course by ordering the immediate seizure of 841 white-owned farms.

      A 21% increase in the cost of corn flour, the staple food of the country, introduced in January led to riots in Harare and the immediate cancellation of the increase; it was, however, reintroduced later in the year. There was dismay, too, at the announcement on February 2 of lavish pensions and other retirement benefits for the president and his family as well as the two vice presidents and their families—dismay that turned to anger when a peaceful demonstration on February 24 in favour of increased pensions for other government employees was dispersed by police using batons and tear gas. Subsequently, a two-day general strike to protest tax increases and higher food prices met with widespread support when labour unions urged people to stay at home rather than confront the police on the streets. There was further rioting in November after Mugabe awarded himself and the 55 members of the Cabinet 20% pay raises. This was followed by an increase in import duties on a number of goods and a 75% increase in the cost of petroleum.

      Throughout the year the uncertainty engendered by the government's vacillating land policy, a 21% increase in civil servants' pay, and the fall in world demand for tobacco combined to force down the exchange value of the currency. In this situation Mugabe's costly decision in August to send troops to assist Pres. Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in his fight against rebels met with little popular enthusiasm.


▪ 1998

      Area: 390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 11,423,000

      Capital: Harare

      Head of state and government: President Robert Mugabe

      Pres. Robert Mugabe's consistent refusal in 1997 to respond to external pressures to change policies that he professed to be in the interests of the black population of his country made potential foreign donors cautious and caused would-be foreign investors to hesitate. At the same time, Mugabe's frequently reiterated threat to acquire mainly white-owned land without compensating the owners, except where improvements had clearly been made, aroused disquiet among the nation's white farmers. On November 28 the government published a list of 1,503 mostly white-owned commercial farms that would be forcibly purchased. The owners had until December 28 to appeal the ruling.

      Typical of the president's stance was his announcement in February of a new tariff structure that gave increased protection to local industry. This was in clear conflict with the World Bank policy on trade liberalization. Then, in March, a bill was published legalizing affirmative action to permit discrimination that would benefit "persons disadvantaged by previous discrimination." Later in the month Mugabe stated that recent reforms had left the country "ripe for investment" and that the government would continue to play an important role in the choice of foreign partners and would ensure that the privatization program was used to encourage black entrepreneurs so as to redress the legacy of minority rule.

      These moves failed to harmonize with allegations that senior party officials, including the president's brother-in-law, had lied in order to receive substantial benefits in compensation for nonexistent wounds said to have been received in fighting for black majority rule. In April evidence in court revealed that Mugabe's wife and others had illegally borrowed millions of dollars from a finance fund set up by the U.S. to help house the urban poor of Zimbabwe.

      An outbreak of strikes induced the government to offer pay increases of more than 30% to public-service employees in July. This forced other employers, who had hoped to keep wage increases to the level of inflation, to concede similar pay awards. The strain that the increases imposed on the finance minister's attempts to balance the budget was considerable, yet the World Bank claimed in August to have seen sufficient improvement in Zimbabwe's fiscal situation to justify the renewal of financial support suspended in 1995.

      Mugabe soon caused the bank to reverse its decision. The revelation in March of bogus compensation claims for war wounds had led to the suspension of compensation payments. This was followed by increasingly noisy protests from genuine guerrilla veterans that culminated in the disruption of a ceremony marking Heroes' Day in August. In the face of protests from the minister of finance, Mugabe offered a generous package of payments and other benefits to all veterans of the freedom struggle.

      The World Bank's subsequent decision in October to delay disbursement of its aid was a severe setback, but the ever-resilient Mugabe seized the opportunity provided by his visit to the U.K. to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting later in the month to ask the British government to provide compensation to the white farmers whose land he proposed to acquire for redistribution among the black population. Britain, however, refused to pay, stating that the farmers were now Zimbabwean citizens.


      This article updates Zimbabwe, history of (Zimbabwe).

▪ 1997

      A republic and member of the Commonwealth, Zimbabwe is a landlocked state in eastern Africa. Area: 390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 11,515,000. Cap.: Harare. Monetary unit: Zimbabwe dollar, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of Z$10.52 to U.S. $1 (Z$16.56 = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Robert Mugabe.

      Robert Mugabe was reelected president of Zimbabwe for a six-year term in March 1996. His victory was marred by the fact that his two opponents attempted to withdraw from the contest only a few days before the election and because less than a third of the electorate took the trouble to vote. He nevertheless celebrated his success by promising to seize 23 white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks. He said that unless Britain made money available to compensate the existing owners, his plan would go ahead without reimbursement because the government did not have the money with which to pay the farmers.

      Herbert Murerwa, who became minister of finance in May, lacked the background in economics and business to arouse public confidence in his appointment, and government finance remained in a perilous condition in spite of a satisfactory rise in production in several important fields. Tobacco, the country's main foreign exchange earner, fetched prices nearly 40% higher than in 1995, while gold output in 1995 was the highest since 1916. Industrial share prices were up 80% in 1996. On the other hand, heavy losses were sustained in the state-owned enterprises, and inflation remained above 20%.

      In August the civil service went on strike after being offered salary increases of only up to 9%, average real wages for civil servants having fallen 40% since 1990. The government, confident that an unemployment rate of 30% of the workforce would strengthen its negotiating position, served dismissal notices on 7,000 strikers but, faced with the threat of a general strike, backed down and offered an additional 20% increase. Nevertheless, the civil servants returned to work only when it had been agreed that those dismissed would be reinstated.

      Trade relations with South Africa improved in August after many months during which Zimbabwe had argued that the tariffs its neighbour had imposed to avert the threat of competition from East Asia should be waived in its favour. The restrictions had weighed heavily upon Zimbabwe. Although final details were to be hammered out later, it was agreed in principle that South Africa would reduce its 90% tariff on Zimbabwean textiles to approximately 30%. A working group would also consider ways of reducing tariffs on other products.


      This article updates Zimbabwe, history of (Zimbabwe).

▪ 1996

      A republic and member of the Commonwealth, Zimbabwe is a landlocked state in eastern Africa. Area: 390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 11,261,000. Cap.: Harare. Monetary unit: Zimbabwe dollar, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of Z$8.85 to U.S. $1 (Z$14 = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Robert Mugabe.

      A meeting of Zimbabwe's donor countries, scheduled to take place in Paris in February 1995, was postponed until March to give the government time to "put its books in order." Although there were fears that donors were becoming impatient at the slow rate at which the country was implementing the financial reforms required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the latter agreed on March 10 to ratify disbursements to Zimbabwe of $792 million, an increase of $175 million over the amount already committed. The donor countries praised the government for its efforts to carry out the reforms.

      Those efforts had not met with uniform approval inside Zimbabwe. New excise taxes and the threat of a new surcharge on profits and income aroused considerable criticism, which led Pres. Robert Mugabe to express his anger at the severity of the measures his government was having to take to meet the requirements of the IMF and the World Bank.

      The situation was not helped by the lengthy illness of the finance minister, Bernard Chidzero. In his absence there had been some mismanagement of public spending. Other factors that adversely affected the country's economic prospects were not easily dealt with. Continuing drought led to food shortages and to a wheat crop that was barely a third of the 1994 harvest. Also, the national debt was almost equal to the annual gross domestic product, which caused 23% of the budget to be earmarked for interest payments.

      The general election, held in April, did not appreciably change the situation. Owing in part to a boycott by several opposition parties, which claimed that the electoral system was unfairly weighted against them, the governing Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) won all but two seats in the House of Assembly. The new minister of finance, Ariston Chambati, recognized that the credibility of his July budget would depend upon "a high degree of political commitment and fiscal discipline." Though he died of meningitis in October, Chambati had imposed a virtual standstill on public spending, increased taxes on a number of consumer goods, and reduced import duties on spare parts and industrial components.

      Increases in the tobacco crop and in the output of gold—the two main foreign currency earners—provided grounds for optimism. Also encouraging was a deal in April involving three of the world's largest mining companies, which opened the way for Zimbabwe to become the second biggest producer of platinum.

      In October Ndabaningi Sithole, leader of the ZANU-Ndonga and one of the only two non-ZANU-PF members of the House of Assembly was arrested in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate President Mugabe. Critics of Mugabe believed that the arrest was the result of Sithole's announcement that he would be a candidate in the presidential election in 1996 and was, consequently, a further manifestation of Mugabe's refusal to allow any opposition.


      This updates the article Zimbabwe, history of (Zimbabwe).

▪ 1995

      A republic and member of the Commonwealth, Zimbabwe is a landlocked state in eastern Africa. Area: 390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 10,971,000. Cap.: Harare. Monetary unit: Zimbabwe dollar, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of Z$8.36 to U.S. $1 (Z$13.30 = £1 sterling). President in 1994, Robert Mugabe.

      On Jan. 1, 1994, Zimbabwe's currency was devalued by 17%. At the same time, it was announced that foreign companies that had invested in the country before independence and that had previously been allowed to remit 25% of pretax profits would now be permitted to remit 50%. Those that had invested after 1993 would be permitted to remit 100%. Although intended as a liberalizing reform, the change, favouring newcomers, was unlikely to please companies with a long-standing commitment to Zimbabwe. It did, however, provoke some of the reaction it was intended to stimulate because 67 new investment projects were approved in the first quarter of the year. A disappointing aspect of the growth in investment was its failure to generate new job opportunities on any significant scale, an issue of exceptional importance to a country with an unemployment rate of 30% and 200,000 students leaving school each year in search of work.

      By linking a loan of $90 million in January to boost the country's energy output to a call for greater autonomy in the management of the Hwange power station and freedom to conduct its business on fully commercial lines, the World Bank indicated its interest in further reducing bureaucratic controls. This was a theme developed by Pres. Robert Mugabe during a visit in May to the United Kingdom, where he was seeking additional Western investment in Zimbabwe. His concern, already aroused by fears that the interest of potential Western investors was being diverted from Africa to Eastern Europe, was enhanced by the prospect that the democratic elections recently held in South Africa might have made that country more attractive to foreign investment than its less economically advanced neighbours. At the World Economic Forum held in Cape Town, South Africa, in June, Mugabe made it clear that the small African countries would not welcome domination by the economic power of South Africa.

      There were indications during the year that Mugabe's attitude toward economic and political liberalization remained ambivalent. While pressure for reform was building up inside Zimbabwe, he insisted that his ruling party would continue to redefine its socialist ideology in a manner consistent with the country's culture and historical experience. His acquisition in June of 17 farms without any mention of compensation caused grave anxiety among the country's white commercial farmers. All the farms were fully productive, even though the 1992 law under which they were seized had stressed that only underused or derelict farms would be confiscated. Another victim of the government's policy was opposition leader Ndabaningi Sithole, who, along with 1,000 tenants, was forcibly evicted from his farm by riot police and government officials in October. This followed the earlier seizure of the 325-ha (800-ac) farm of another opposition politician, James Chikerema. Three white farmers who had been dispossessed and had taken their cases to court had their fears confirmed when the High Court ruled that the forcible seizure of their land for resettlement by landless blacks did not violate the nation's constitution.


      This updates the article Zimbabwe, history of (Zimbabwe).

▪ 1994

      A republic and member of the Commonwealth, Zimbabwe is a landlocked state in eastern Africa. Area: 390,757 sq km (150,872 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 10,687,000. Cap.: Harare. Monetary unit: Zimbabwe dollar, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of Z$6.52 to U.S. $1 (Z$9.87 = £1 sterling). President in 1993, Robert Mugabe.

      As Zimbabwe began its slow recovery from the effects of the drought in 1992, it was concern for the economy that took precedence over all other aspects of national life. Indicators were contradictory. The collapse of the world chrome market forced the closing in June of the Sengwa colliery, which had been designated to supply fuel to the ferrochrome industry. As a result, construction of a Z$20 million road linking the mine to the country's main transport system was abandoned, as had the plan by the national railways to purchase a number of 30-ton trucks to carry the ore. On the other hand, an increase in the world price of gold, coupled with the depreciation in value of the Zimbabwe dollar, led to increased efforts in the production of gold, the country's third largest foreign currency earner.

      By the middle of 1993 the rate of inflation had fallen to 25% from the peak of 50% reached in August 1992, and a number of projects were proposed to improve the economic situation. The Wankie Colliery Co. planned to supply gas to the country's thermal power station at Hwange, thereby saving Z$20 million a year on imported fuel. Retrenchment in the army and its merger with the air force promised a reduction in personnel of 10,000 over the next five years while making the army more suited to the mobile role it was intended to play. One sphere in which Zimbabwe's military commitment had already been reduced was Mozambique. In March the troops that had been defending the transport links and fuel pipeline from the coast to the Limpopo River were withdrawn after the arrival of United Nations forces to replace them.

      More important in the overall economic picture was the announcement by Finance Minister Bernard Chidzero on April 27 of trade-liberalization measures aimed at encouraging foreign investment. Chief among them was the phasing out of capital-repatriation restrictions on foreigners investing in companies quoted on the Zimbabwe stock exchange or buying primary issues of government bonds and stocks. This was a total reversal of the government's former policy and was seen as an indication of Pres. Robert Mugabe's commitment to the structural-adjustment program designed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

      Chidzero's optimistic budget announced in July was received with some skepticism by foreign businessmen and economic commentators. While, as the minister indicated, considerable savings could be made as a result of the reduction in drought-relief payments, the decline in industrial production during the first five months of the year, together with the problems faced by the tobacco and beef industries, made his prediction of a 4% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) seem unduly hopeful. Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe thought a figure of 3.2% more realistic. Despite, too, a 14% proposed rise in defense spending and increases of 12.6% in education and 9% in health, the minister forecast a fall in overall government spending as a percentage of GDP.

      In July important changes were promised with a view to liberalizing agricultural marketing, but these were offset by the concern that was vocally expressed by white farmers who felt gravely threatened by the earlier announcement that the government intended to appropriate 70 commercial farms under the terms of the Land Acquisition Act in order to hand them over to African peasant farmers; the owners, most of whom were white, were to be compensated at rates established by the government. This action was seen as a breach of an earlier promise to acquire only derelict and underutilized land, and it was also believed to pose a threat to the government's hopes of encouraging foreign investment in Zimbabwe. The argument that it was uneconomical to replace commercial farms with smallholdings had less foundation because peasant growers of corn (maize), the country's staple crop, had certainly proved themselves capable of matching the productivity of white-owned farms. When some white farmers objected to the government action, they were warned that their land might be taken without any compensation.

      On March 28, Enoch Dumbutshena, a former chief justice, was elected leader of a new political group calling itself the Forum Party. The party brought together intellectuals, businessmen, the Shona and Ndebele tribal groupings, and a number of white liberals. It announced its adherence to the principle of unfettered market economics and aimed to boost investment and provide more jobs. If elected to office in 1995, the party planned to privatize most state-funded companies, including the media. Thus, there was now an alternative government-in-waiting, Dumbutshena declared, but in 1993 there was little evidence that the new party posed a serious challenge to the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front; ZANU[PF]).

      In the field of external relations, there were a number of contrasting moves. Fearing a trade war with South Africa following that country's decision that it would not exempt an import duty on Zimbabwean textile products, President Mugabe was forced in February to abandon his attempts to restrict contact with South Africa, and he invited the South African trade minister to Harare for talks. A few days later, and as a result of the fruitful cooperation between Zimbabwean and U.S. troops in Somalia the previous month, 26 U.S. soldiers arrived to spend 45 days training with a Zimbabwean commando battalion. At the other end of the spectrum, President Mugabe was invited in October by Yasir Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to be the first foreign head of state to visit him in Jericho and the Gaza Strip in 1994 after the Israelis had withdrawn from those areas. (KENNETH INGHAM)

      This updates the article Zimbabwe, history of (Zimbabwe).

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officially  Republic of Zimbabwe , formerly (1911–64)  Southern Rhodesia , (1964–79)  Rhodesia , or  (1979–80)  Zimbabwe Rhodesia 
Zimbabwe, flag of   landlocked country of southern Africa. It shares a 125-mile (200-kilometre) border on the south with the Republic of South Africa and is bounded on the southwest and west by Botswana, on the north by Zambia, and on the northeast and east by Mozambique. The capital is Harare (formerly called Salisbury). Zimbabwe achieved majority rule and internationally recognized independence in April 1980 following a long period of colonial rule and a 15-year period of white-dominated minority rule, instituted after the minority regime's so-called Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in 1965.

The land

   Zimbabwe lies almost entirely over 1,000 feet (300 metres) above sea level. Its principal physical feature is the broad ridge running 400 miles from southwest to northeast across the entire country, from Plumtree near the Botswana frontier through Gweru (formerly Gwelo) and Marondera (formerly Marandellas) to the Inyanga Mountains, which separate Zimbabwe from Mozambique. About 50 miles wide, this ridge ranges in altitude from 4,000 to 5,000 feet, until it eventually rises to 8,504 feet (2,592 metres) at Mount Inyangani, the highest point in Zimbabwe, in the eastern highlands. This ridge is known as the Highveld and comprises about 25 percent of the country's total area. On each side of this central spine, sloping down northward to the Zambezi River and southward to the Limpopo River, lies the wider plateau of the Middleveld, which, at an altitude between about 3,000 and 4,000 feet, makes up roughly 40 percent of Zimbabwe's area. Beyond this again and mostly in the south, where the Sabi, Lundi, and Nuanetsi rivers drain from the plateau into the Limpopo, lies the Lowveld, which constitutes approximately 23 percent of the country's total area. The lowest point in Zimbabwe lies at an altitude of 660 feet near Dumela, where the Limpopo flows into Mozambique. There are no parts of Zimbabwe that can properly be called desert, although a sector northwest of Plumtree and a lengthy belt across the Lowveld in the south are severely arid.

 The landscape is characterized by extensive outcroppings of Precambrian rock, which is between 570 million and 3.8 billion years old. The most ancient part of this rock formation, known as the basement complex, covers the greater part of the country. About four-fifths of the basement complex consists of granite; the Matopo (Matopos) Hills south of the city of Bulawayo are formed from prolonged erosion of an exposed granite batholith. Some of the hills are surmounted by formations, known as balancing rocks, that have been eroded by wind and water along regular fault lines, leaving some blocks precariously balanced upon others. Elsewhere are found innumerable small rounded granite hillocks known locally as kopjes. Belts of schist in the basement complex contain the veins and lodes of most of the country's gold, silver, and other commercial minerals.

      The Great Dyke, which is up to 8 miles wide and about 330 miles long, is another notable landscape feature. The longest linear mass of mafic and ultramafic rocks in the world, the Great Dyke bisects the country from north to south and contains enormous reserves of chromium, nickel, and platinum. The Alkali Ring complexes near Beitbridge in the Sabi valley are distinctive igneous intrusions. The Karoo (Karroo (Karoo System)) System—a thick layer of sedimentary rocks consisting of shale, sandstone, and grit of Permian and Triassic age (208 to 286 million years old)—covers the Zambezi valley and the valleys of its tributaries from Hwange (formerly Wankie) southward to Bulawayo and spreads across parts of the southern Lowveld from Tuli, near the southern border, to the Sabi River.

Drainage and soils
 Major faulting from southwest to northeast formed the middle Zambezi trough, which is now partially flooded by the Lake Kariba reservoir. Other faulting episodes affected the depressions of the Sabi (Sabi River) (Save) and Limpopo rivers (Limpopo River). Except for a small area of internal drainage in the dry southwest, these three rivers carry the entire runoff of the country to the Indian Ocean via Mozambique. The central ridgeline of the Highveld is the major divide separating Zambezi from Limpopo-Sabi drainage.

      The light, sandy soils found in most parts of Zimbabwe are residual soils developed largely from the granite parent material. They are highly weathered and leached, even in the areas of lower rainfall, and do not easily retain water because of their coarse texture. Outcrops of basement schists give rise to rich red clays and loams—some of the country's best soils—but their extent is limited. Since most rain occurs in heavy showers during a few months of the year, rapid runoff and high rates of erosion are common. The meagre mineral reserves in most soils imply an inherently low fertility; under cultivation, productivity drops rapidly after a few years. The difficulty of cultivating these lighter soils is greatest in the black farming areas, where population pressure no longer allows land to be temporarily abandoned to rejuvenate after cultivation; black farmers, because of a lack of capital, are also less able than white farmers to maintain the mineral fertility with manure and chemical fertilizers.

      Zimbabwe, lying north of the Tropic of Capricorn, is completely within the tropics but enjoys subtropical conditions because of its high average elevation. Toward the end of the hot, dry months, which last from August to October, monsoon winds that have crossed the Indian Ocean and Mozambique result in intense orographic rainfall when they meet the rampart formed by the eastern highlands. The eastern regions consequently receive the country's heaviest rainfall and have a more prolonged rainy season (lasting from October into April) than the rest of Zimbabwe. The high altitude of the broad plateau of western Zimbabwe helps to guarantee fine weather there during the cool, dry winter months from May to August.

      June is generally the coolest month and October the warmest; temperature variations correspond closely to altitude. Inyanga, at about 5,500 feet in the eastern highlands, varies in temperature from a mean of 52° F (11° C) in July to one of 65° F (18° C) in October. Harare, at about 4,800 feet, has seasonal temperatures varying from 57° F (14° C) to 70° F (21° C), and Bulawayo, at 4,400 feet, varies from 57° F (14° C) to 70° F (21° C). Daily variations about these means are some 13° F (7° C) warmer in the afternoon and 13° F (7° C) cooler at night. Harare and Bulawayo each average about eight hours of sunshine per day, and this average does not drop below six hours during the rainy season.

Plant and animal life
      Zimbabwe is predominantly savanna (tropical grassland), with a generous tree growth encouraged by the wet summers. The only true forests, however, are the evergreen forests of the eastern border and the savanna woodland, which includes teak, northwest of Bulawayo. Various species of Brachystegia (a hardwood tree up to 90 feet high with pale reddish brown wood) are dominant in the Middleveld and Highveld. Other common species include the mohobohobo (a medium-size tree with large spadelike leaves) and the thorn tree. In the valleys of the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, the mopane, which resembles the mohobohobo, is common, together with the stout-trunked baobab and the knobby thorn tree. Australasian eucalyptus trees have been widely introduced, predominantly on white-owned farms, where they are used as windbreaks and for fuel; Australian wattle has been planted in the eastern districts as a source of tannin. Pure grassland is uncommon but occurs particularly along the eastern border around Chimanimani (Mandidzudzure, formerly Melsetter).

 Cultivation of the land and the reduction of the natural vegetation have resulted in the disappearance of many forms of animal life over large areas. Hwange National Park, holding some of the densest remaining wildlife concentrations in Africa, has an area of more than 5,000 square miles and stretches from the Bulawayo–Victoria Falls railway line westward to the Botswana border. Among the flesh-eating animals found there, and occasionally elsewhere, are the lion, leopard, cheetah, serval, civet, aardvark, spotted and brown hyena, black-backed and side-striped jackal, zorille, ratel, bat-eared fox, ant bear, and scaly anteater. Elephants are found in the northern region, and giraffes in the western bushland; hippopotamuses and crocodiles live in the larger rivers. Among a great variety of hoofed and horned ruminant animals are the eland (which is immune to the deadly tsetse fly), greater kudu, blue duiker, impala, klipspringer, steenbok and grysbok, and sable and roan antelope. Snakes include mambas, boomslangs, and the black-necked cobra. Baboons, which are the bane of farmers whose crops they damage, include the Rhodesian and yellow species, as well as the chacma, the largest known baboon species. Notable among the birdlife are the martial eagle, the bateleur eagle, and the little hammerhead, which builds enormous nests and is revered as a bird of omen.

 Conservation efforts in southern Africa have been aided by the creation of transfrontier parks and conservation areas, which link nature reserves and parks in neighbouring countries to create large, international conservation areas that protect biodiversity and allow a wider range of movement for migratory animal populations. One such park is the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which links Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park with South Africa's Kruger National Park and Mozambique's Limpopo National Park.

Settlement patterns
      Zimbabwe may be divided into six different regions of agricultural potential, with the amount of rainfall constituting the determining factor in land use. The eastern highlands, with more than 25 inches of rainfall annually, are suitable for diversified farming with cattle and plantation and orchard crops. Roughly one-fifth of the country, sweeping west along the central spine past Harare and on to the midlands, receives 20 to 25 inches of rain and is used for intensive farming of corn (maize) and tobacco and the raising of livestock. An almost equal area to the southwest, enclosing Bulawayo, receives 16 to 20 inches of rain a year; it is suitable for mixed farming and for raising livestock on a semi-intensive scale. One-third of the country, lying farther outward from the spine of Zimbabwe, mostly to the south, and receiving 14 to 18 inches of rainfall annually, is used for semi-extensive farming, while about one-fourth of the country in the Lowveld toward the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers, receiving less than 16 inches a year, is fit only for ranching. Finally, a small area, mostly in the far north toward the Zambezi River, is unsuitable for either agriculture or forestry.

      Prior to independence most of the country's best farmland was in the hands of white settlers or absentee landlords. In consequence, the nationalist struggle focused sharply upon the issue of land ownership, and a major concern for the Zimbabwe government after independence was to carry through land reform in the rural areas and launch large-scale settlement of black families on former white farms.

      The Land Apportionment Act, a segregationist measure that governed land allocation and acquisition prior to independence, made no provision for blacks who chose an urban life, because towns were designated as white areas. As a result, though urban blacks now outnumber whites by more than four to one, blacks mostly live in rented homes in townships located some miles from city centres. The cities of Harare and Bulawayo therefore constitute studies in contrast, with impressive office buildings and quiet white suburbs partially ringed by crowded black townships. The Land Tenure Act, a more rigidly segregationist law that superseded the Land Apportionment Act in 1969, was amended in 1977, while the civil war was still being fought, to allow blacks to purchase white farms and urban property, and after the end of hostilities residential segregation began to be significantly breached.

The people

Ethnic and linguistic composition
      More than two-thirds of the population of Zimbabwe speak Shona as their first language, while about one out of five speak Ndebele. Both Shona and Ndebele are Bantu languages; from the time of their great southward migration, Bantu-speaking tribes have populated what is now Zimbabwe for more than 10 centuries. Those who speak Ndebele are concentrated in a circle around Bulawayo, with Shona-speaking peoples beyond them on all sides—the Kalanga to the southwest, the Karanga to the east around Nyanda (formerly Fort Victoria), the Zezuru to the northeast, and the Rozwi and Tonga to the north. Generations of intermarriage have to a degree blurred the linguistic division between the Shona and Ndebele peoples.

      Among the whites in Zimbabwe at independence were the descendants of the country's first European immigrants. Only about one-quarter of the adult white population, however, were born in Zimbabwe. After World War II the white population grew severalfold because of heavy immigration, and some two-thirds of the present white population have their origins in Europe, the great majority from Britain. The rest have come largely from South Africa. Of the whites living in rural areas, about one-quarter are Afrikaners (Boer).

      There are several thousand Asians, forming a community that is predominantly concerned with trade. There are also Zimbabweans of mixed race, called Coloureds, who are mainly skilled and semiskilled workers.

      English is the official language of government; teaching in schools is also conducted in English, except for the instruction of the youngest children in black schools.

      The great majority of the black population adheres to traditional religion based on reverence for ancestors. The Shona have preserved their ancient reputation for prophecy, divination, and rainmaking; they believe in Mwari, a supreme being. The stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe are regarded as a shrine of deep religious significance, as also are parts of the Matopo Hills. In the last 50 years Christian mission schools have exercised much influence in the country, and most of the members of the first Cabinet of independent Zimbabwe were graduates of these schools. The Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Dutch Reformed churches are represented. Because the Roman Catholic church supported nationalist aspirations, it held a position of influence in the postindependence period.

Immigration and emigration
      Migration has been the most important factor influencing the size and composition of the white population. Net migration figures have fluctuated in reaction to political events. In the years immediately preceding the breakup of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, there was a net emigration of 13,000 whites; this was followed during the first 10 years of UDI by a net immigration of 40,000 (with 111,270 immigrants and 71,330 emigrants). As warfare spread after 1976, the pendulum swung again from a peak white population of 260,000 to fewer than 200,000 after independence. These net figures obscure, however, the gross turnover during 1965–79 of 132,560 immigrants and 133,864 emigrants. Even when allowance is made for the subsequent return of some emigrants, it is probable that at least half of the country's adult whites were newcomers after 1965.

Distribution of population
      About one-fourth of the total population live in urban centres, nearly two-thirds of them in either Harare or Bulawayo. Among urban blacks, there is a disproportionately large number of males of working age, leaving an excess of older people, women, and children in rural areas. At least half of the black households are partly or wholly dependent on incomes earned in the wage economy.

The economy
      Upon independence in 1980, Robert Mugabe's government moved cautiously to alter the pattern of management that it inherited from the white minority regime. The first budget of July 1980 was described by the finance minister as “conservative [with] a mild and pragmatic application of socialism.” But the white minority had passed on government machinery that included many levers of economic power. While the members of the white minority were by inclination wedded to a system of private enterprise, they had evolved a system of government intervention to support infant industries and maintain agricultural prices through marketing boards. The need to cushion the blows dealt by economic sanctions during UDI brought acceptance of the imposition of exchange and import controls.

      Zimbabwe's economy began experiencing a decline in the 1990s that accelerated in the early 2000s. The Mugabe administration's problematic program of land reform—which sought to hasten the slow reallocation of farmland from the white minority to black Zimbabweans—began in the 1990s, gathered speed after 2002, and is one of the most-often-cited causes for the economic decline, but other factors also played a role. Mugabe's controversial 1998 decision to intervene in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo)'s civil war not only cost the Zimbabwean economy hundreds of millions of dollars but also resulted in the suspension of international economic aid for Zimbabwe. Aid and loans to the country were withheld in later years in protest of the land reform program and violations of human and political rights and in response to Zimbabwe's inability to repay previous loans. Economic mismanagement, rampant inflation, and record-high rates of unemployment complicated the worsening economic situation.

 Although the agricultural sector declined dramatically in the early 21st century, it is still an important productive sector of the country's economy. It regularly generates about 15 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). More than one-half of the total labour force is engaged directly in agricultural activities.

      The sector is divided into large-scale commercial farming, which occupies some 40 percent of the total land area and was historically dominated by white farmers, and small-scale farming, which is both commercial and subsistence in nature. Occupying about the same total area as the large-scale commercial sector—but on land that is considerably less fertile—smallholders have steadily increased their share of the country's total agricultural output since independence, from about one-tenth in the early 1980s to about half of the total production in the early 1990s. To accelerate this trend and redress the issue of land distribution, the government purchased—and, from 2002, also seized—many large farms and established resettlement areas on them. Landless peasant farmers or war veterans were supposed to be settled on the farmland, but property was often claimed by politically connected individuals without adequate farming experience who were not able to maintain productivity; this, along with drought conditions, greatly contributed to the decline of the agricultural sector—and the country's general economy—in the 2000s.

      Crop production is well diversified. The most important food crop is corn (maize), which is grown throughout Zimbabwe but does best in the well-watered northeast. In previous years, enough corn was usually produced so that Zimbabwe was able to meet its domestic demand and also export a sizable quantity, but, in the early 21st century, with the significant decline in agricultural productivity, the country was unable to meet domestic needs. Other food crops include wheat, millet, sorghum, barley, cassava, peanuts (groundnuts), soybeans, bananas, and oranges.

 Prior to the agricultural decline of the early 21st century, Zimbabwe was the largest producer of tobacco in Africa. Despite the decline in this sector, tobacco is still the country's principal cash crop. Three types of tobacco have traditionally been grown in the country: Virginia flue-cured, on the large commercial farms; burley, mostly by smallholders; and Turkish, of more limited extent.

      Cotton, grown by both smallholders and large commercial farmers, was once a chief export crop and was also the foundation of a large domestic textile industry. Cotton output increased steadily from UDI (when commercial farmers were forced to diversify their production away from an overreliance on tobacco) but declined in the early 21st century.

      Sugar is grown in the southern Lowveld. It is exported as well as used as the basis for an important fuel industry, which mixes the sugar by-product ethanol with gasoline to help decrease the country's reliance on expensive imported fuels. Coffee (coffee production) has increased in production many times over since the early 1970s. Grown mainly in the eastern highlands between Vumba and Mount Silinda, Zimbabwe's coffees are premium mild arabicas that command a favourable price on the world market.

      Cattle are the preferred livestock of the country's farmers. beef and dairy products, produced mainly by the commercial sector, accounted for about one-fourth of agricultural output in most years. After independence there was a growing domestic demand for beef, and, as one of the few African countries allowed to export beef to the European Community (now the European Union [EU]), Zimbabwe developed a significant export trade in beef as well. This trade has been negatively impacted by the overall decline of the agricultural sector in the early 21st century, which resulted in a lack of grain available for feed. Sheep, goats, and pigs are raised in some areas, but their importance is minor compared with cattle. Poultry are kept largely for home use.

 Although mining accounts for less than 10 percent of the GDP and provides work for about 5 percent of the employed labour force, its significance in the economy is considerable as a major earner of foreign exchange. Direct mineral exports account for about one-third of total export earnings.

      It was the prospect of great mineral wealth—comparable to the gold deposits of the Witwatersrand in neighbouring South Africa—that attracted the first permanent European settlers in the 1890s. These great expectations faded for many years after the peak of gold production was reached in 1915. By the 1950s, however, production of the chromium mines along the Great Dyke was significant, as was that of asbestos and copper. During UDI, the value of mining output increased. The rise in gold prices in the 1970s revived gold as the country's leading export and led to the reopening in 1979–80 of more than 100 dormant mines. Nickel mining along the Great Dyke began on a commercial scale in the late 1960s. Zimbabwe's huge coal reserves are estimated to be about 30 billion tons, much of it desirable low-sulfur bituminous coal. Production from the major coalfields near Hwange is limited, however, by the country's capacity to transport the coal by rail, an economic necessity because of coal's bulkiness.

      Manufacturing generates about one-tenth of the country's GDP. From 1954 to 1963, then Southern Rhodesia was able to rely on the resources and larger market of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland for a 150 percent increase in manufacturing output. Then, after the UDI was announced in 1965, hundreds of new manufacturing projects were begun in an effort to defeat economic sanctions by import substitution. Because of the diversity in manufacturing that developed, Zimbabwe was able to provide nearly 90 percent of the manufactured goods used in the country until the economy began to decline in the late 1990s.

 Coal is the country's primary energy source. A growing percentage of the coal utilized is transformed first into electricity by thermal generating plants fueled by coal. Its principal users are industries, mines, and farms. Electrification of the railways was begun in 1980 (coal and diesel remain the major energy sources for rail transport, however), and there has also been considerable electrification of low-cost housing in urban townships. Electric power is also generated at the huge Kariba Dam, which Zimbabwe shares with Zambia, on the Zambezi River. Although Zimbabwe has great hydroelectric potential, it has not been realized, and the country imports about two-fifths of the electricity it consumes. Energy shortages in the 2000s resulted in frequent blackouts throughout the country.

Finance and trade
      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, located in Harare, is the country's central bank. It is the sole bank of issue and administers all monetary and exchange controls. There are also private and government-sponsored commercial banks, a development finance bank, and several merchant banks and discount houses. The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange deals in both government securities and the securities of privately owned companies.

      Economic sanctions during UDI, which had been imposed by stages from 1966 to 1968 on both imports and exports, were lifted in December 1979. They had been widely breached, particularly in mineral exports and in the supply of petroleum, but they nevertheless strongly affected certain commodities, such as tobacco exports. Although the trade surplus was diminished in 1979 by the rise in oil prices, the value of exports still outpaced that of imports. In the 1980s Zimbabwe showed slow but steady growth in its trade surplus, as its unusually high level of export diversity proved able to weather changes in world demand for its commodities. However, the economic turmoil of the 1990s and 2000s adversely affected the balance of trade in some years, slowing growth or resulting in a negative balance. In the early 21st century some countries and organizations—including the United States and the EU—imposed various travel and trade restrictions on Zimbabwe in response to what they deemed to be political and human rights violations in the country. The actions were primarily directed at senior-level members of Mugabe's administration and their families rather than the country's general population and economy and did not apply to humanitarian assistance; however, the government asserted that these sanctions contributed to the country's economic problems.

      Major exports include gold, tobacco, metal alloys, cotton, and sugar. The principal imports are fuels and petroleum products, electricity, machinery and transport equipment, food, and miscellaneous manufactured goods. Zimbabwe's trading partners include South Africa and other African countries, the United States, China, and some countries of the EU. Zimbabwe belongs to regional economic trade-and-development organizations, including the Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Labour and taxation
      The evolution of the trade union movement was some two years behind the pattern of political change by 1980. The Mugabe (Mugabe, Robert) government dealt with immediate labour problems, such as strikes for a higher minimum wage, on a case-by-case basis rather than institute a thorough revision of the basic Industrial Conciliation Act of 1959. The government seemed to favour the strengthening, by mergers or amalgamation, of small unions in the same industry; the strengthening of the whole movement by the formation of a single trade-union congress from the five or six existing confederations of unions; and an arm's-length relationship of government with such a congress. Despite the large number of unions in existence, the largest sections of the labour force—the agricultural workers and domestic servants—remained outside the system.

      The government raises nearly half of its revenue from personal and corporate income taxes that since 1966 have been collected on a pay-as-you-earn system. About two-fifths of government revenue comes from customs and excise duties and sales taxes, a small portion from investments, and much of the rest from government borrowing and, since independence, international aid. After independence the Zimbabwe government removed sales taxes on the staple items of food and fuel for the poorest people and extended sales taxes to travel, hotel accommodations, taxis, telecommunications, and other services. It continued the former rates of personal income tax.

      The main road system generally follows the line of white settlement along the spine of the country, with two branches north to Victoria Falls and Kariba and a network fanning out from Nyanda, close to the Great Zimbabwe ruins. Wartime operations brought an improvement in certain areas, including the construction of strategic roads in the eastern highlands and near the Zambian border. The road system has not been adequately maintained since the mid-1990s, and much of it has fallen into a state of disrepair.

      Zimbabwe has one of the densest rail networks in sub-Saharan Africa. The railway closely follows the main road network; its single track has a gauge of three feet six inches. The country has rail links with South Africa to the south and Zambia to the north. Two lines connect with lines through Mozambique to give landlocked Zimbabwe access to the ports of Maputo and Beira. As with the road system, the rail network has also deteriorated.

      Air Zimbabwe, the national carrier, flies to many international destinations. It replaced Air Rhodesia, a government-backed company that had operated only within Rhodesia and to and from South Africa. There are several airports in Zimbabwe with international and domestic service, including the international airport at Harare. There are many smaller airfields located throughout the country.

Clyde William Sanger Ed.

Administration and social conditions

      The constitution of Zimbabwe, which was written in London during September–December 1979 and which took effect at independence on April 18, 1980, secured majority rule for Zimbabweans. Under the constitution, white voters, registered on a separate roll, elected 20 of the 100 members of the House of Assembly. Although these members could not veto constitutional amendments, a unanimous vote was required during the first 10 years to alter the Declaration of Rights component of the constitution, which stipulated (among other matters) that, if land was acquired for settlement schemes, there must be “prompt payment of adequate compensation…remittable within a reasonable time to any country outside Zimbabwe.” The British insisted that there be a constitutional head of state, a president elected by the House of Assembly, and an executive prime minister and that citizenship of Zimbabwe be automatically available to anyone who was (or had the qualifications to be) a citizen of Rhodesia immediately before independence. In 1987 the office of prime minister was eliminated, with executive power instead being vested solely in the president. That same year the practice of setting aside legislative seats elected from the white roll ended, and white voters were incorporated into the common roll. The former Senate of 40 members was abolished with a constitutional amendment in 1990, and 50 members were added to the House of Assembly; the Senate was reinstated in 2005. An amendment act passed in 2007 and effective with the 2008 elections increased the number of seats in both the House and the Senate and altered the allocation of seats.

      Additional constitutional amendments served to strengthen the role of the president, who serves as the head of state and government and is elected to a five-year term. Should the president retire in midterm, the legislature is empowered to choose a successor. The legislature is bicameral and consists of the House of Assembly and the Senate. The House of Assembly has 210 members, all of whom are directly elected. The Senate comprises 93 members: 60 are directly elected, 16 are traditional chiefs elected by the Council of Chiefs (the administrative body of traditional chiefs), 10 are provincial governors (nominated to the governorship by the president), 5 are appointed by the president, and 2 seats are allocated for the president and deputy president of the Council of Chiefs.

      At the time of independence, the white minority controlled the municipal councils, but legislation was soon introduced to amalgamate each municipal council with the council of its surrounding township, and, for the first time, black mayors were elected in 1981. Local government elections in rural areas replaced the old apparatus of district commissioners with a party-based council structure.

      Under the constitution, the Judicial Service Commission advises the president on the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court (the highest court of appeal) and the High Court, although the president is not obligated to follow their recommendations. Supreme Court and High Court judges may not be removed from office except for misconduct or incapacity. There are also Regional Courts and Magistrates' Courts that try criminal and civil litigation; other courts, such as Chief's Courts, adjudicate on matters of African law and custom.

      The dismantling of Rhodesia's segregated (segregation, racial) system of schooling began less than two years before independence. The minority government had concentrated upon providing compulsory (and virtually free) education for white children between the ages of 5 and 15 and had left the schooling of black children in the hands of missionaries. In 1950 there were only 12 government schools for blacks, compared with 2,230 mission and independent schools.

      After independence, priority was given to upgrading the country's school system. Many new schools were built in the drive toward free primary education for all. In the decade following independence, Zimbabwe achieved one of the highest primary school enrollment rates in Africa, with more than nine-tenths of all children of primary school age attending school, although this rate declined to about four-fifths in the early 21st century. Primary education begins at age seven, lasts for seven years, and has been compulsory since 1987. At least one rural secondary school has been established in each of the country's districts. There are several universities and colleges in Zimbabwe, including the University of Zimbabwe, founded in 1955 at Harare, and the National University of Sciences and Technology, founded in 1991 at Bulawayo. Zimbabwe has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, with nine-tenths of the population being able to read.

Health and welfare
      Before 1980, health services were focused on curative medicine in central hospitals. Missionaries had the major responsibility for running rural clinics and small hospitals. After independence, health allocations were increased, but health services deteriorated rapidly with the onset of cyclic drought and flooding and the agricultural and economic problems of the late 1990s and 2000s. Many health care providers left Zimbabwe to work abroad, and those that remain do not always have access to the medicine and other supplies they need; in addition, many health care facilities and pieces of medical equipment have not been maintained, making it difficult to treat even common illnesses and injuries.

      Because of these problems, the health and well-being of Zimbabwe's population has declined. Zimbabwe's infant mortality rate is higher than the world average, and life expectancy in Zimbabwe plummeted during the last decade of the 20th century, from 62 years in 1990 to about 38 years in 2000. AIDS, the major health threat to Zimbabweans in the 1990s, continued to be a formidable problem into the 21st century, with about one-fifth of the adult population infected. In addition to addressing the AIDS epidemic and other diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria that occur in the country, food security and improved nutrition are increasingly seen as important health needs, because of the food shortages caused by years of drought and flooding as well as the collapse of the agricultural sector and the economic problems of the early 21st century.

Cultural life
      The most famous of Rhodesian-bred writers, Doris Lessing (Lessing, Doris), settled in England in 1949. In some contrast, the nationalist struggle prompted a renaissance of Shona culture. A forerunner of this renaissance (and a victim of the liberation struggle) was Herbert Chitepo, both as abstract painter and epic poet. Stanlake Samkange's novels reconstruct the Shona and Ndebele world of the 1890s, while those of the much younger Charles Mungoshi explore the clash of Shona and Western cultures in both the Shona and English languages. Folk traditions have survived in dance and pottery. The revival of sculpture has drawn on tribal religion and totems to produce some remarkable works, particularly those of Takawira and the Tengenenge school of craftsmen who sculpt in hard serpentine.

Clyde William Sanger Ed.

      This discussion mainly focuses on the history of Zimbabwe since the late 15th century. For treatment of earlier periods and of the country in its regional context, see Southern Africa.

 The remains of Stone Age cultures dating to 500,000 years ago have been found in Zimbabwe, and it is thought that the San, who still survive mostly in the Kalahari desert of Botswana, are the last descendants of these original inhabitants of southern and central Africa. They were driven into the desert by Bantu-speaking (Bantu peoples) groups during the long migrations from the north in the course of which the Bantu-speaking peoples populated much of Africa from Lake Chad to present-day South Africa. The first Bantu are thought to have reached Zimbabwe between the 5th and 10th centuries AD. Zimbabwe is home to many stone ruins, including those known as Great Zimbabwe (designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986). Some ruins date from about the 9th century, although the most elaborate belong to a period after the 15th century and are of Bantu origin.

Portuguese exploration
      The Portuguese, who arrived on the east coast of Africa at the end of the 15th century, dreamed of opening up the interior and establishing a route to connect their eastern settlements with Angola in the west. The first European to enter Zimbabwe was probably António Fernandes (Fernandes, António), who tried to cross the continent and reached the neighbourhood of Que Que (now Kwekwe). Nearly 50 years later the Mwene Matapa (“emperor”), Negomo Chirisamhuru Mupunsagutu, was baptized by a Jesuit father, and in 1569 an abortive Portuguese military expedition entered the interior in search of gold.

      A second great movement of the Bantu peoples began in 1830, this time from the south. To escape from the power of the great Zulu chief Shaka, three important groups fled northward. One of them, the Ndebele, carved out a kingdom. The Ndebele were warriors and pastoralists, in the Zulu tradition, and under their formidable chief Mzilikazi they mastered and dispossessed the weaker tribes, known collectively as Shona (Mashona), who were sedentary, peaceful tillers of the land. For more than half a century, until the coming of European rule, the Ndebele continued to enslave and plunder the Shona. During this period, however, British and Afrikaner hunters, traders, and prospectors had begun to move up from the south, and with them came the missionaries. Robert Moffat (Moffat, Robert) visited Mzilikazi in 1857, and this meeting led to the establishment in 1861 of the first mission to the Ndebele by the London Missionary Society.

 In South Africa Cecil Rhodes (Rhodes, Cecil) formed the British South Africa Company, which received its charter in October 1889. Its objects were (1) to extend the railway from Kimberley northward to the Zambezi, (2) to encourage immigration and colonization, (3) to promote trade and commerce, and (4) to secure all mineral rights, in return for guarantees of protection and security of rights to the tribal chiefs.

      In 1890 a pioneer column set out from Bechuanaland and reached the site of the future capital of Rhodesia without incident on September 12. There the new arrivals settled and began to lay claim to prospecting rights. The Ndebele resented this European invasion, and in 1893 they took up arms, being defeated only after months of strenuous fighting. Lobengula, Mzilikazi's son and successor, fled, and the company assumed administrative control of Matabeleland. In 1895 many of the pioneers were persuaded to take part in the Jameson Raid into the Transvaal and were captured and sent to England for trial. In the same year, the company-administered territories, which had previously been loosely known as Zambesia, were formally named Rhodesia by proclamation. In 1896 the Ndebele rose again. Returning from London, Rhodes met with the Ndebele chiefs and persuaded them to make peace. The Shona had at first accepted the Europeans, but they too became rebellious, and the whole country was not pacified until 1897.

Economic and political development
      By 1892 about 1,500 settlers from the south had arrived in Rhodesia. The railway reached Bulawayo in 1896 and Victoria Falls in 1904. By the following year there were 12,500 settlers in the country, and in 1909 gold exports were worth more than £2,500,000. Agricultural development, however, was slower, and it was not until 1907 that steps were taken to facilitate the acquisition of land. By 1911 nearly £35,000 worth of tobacco was being exported annually, and the European population had risen to 23,600.

      From the earliest years, the settlers had demanded representation on the Legislative Council, which in 1903 comprised seven company officials and seven elected representatives of the settlers. In 1907 the settlers were given a majority of seats. In 1914, when the 25-year term of the company's charter was due to expire, the settlers, faced with the alternative of joining the Union of South Africa, asked for the continuation of the charter pending the grant of self-government. The British (British Empire) government therefore extended the charter for 10 years, with the proviso that self-government could be granted earlier if the settlers showed themselves capable of administering the country unaided.

      Immediately after World War I the pressure for self-government was resumed, and a royal commission was appointed to consider the future of the territory. As a result of the commission's report, a referendum of the electors among the 34,000 Europeans in the country was held in 1922; the choice was between entry into the Union of South Africa as its fifth province and full internal self-government. In spite of the offer of generous terms by the Union's prime minister, General Jan C. Smuts, a majority voted for self-government. On September 12, 1923, Southern Rhodesia was annexed to the crown and became a self-governing colony. The British government retained control of external affairs and a final veto in respect to legislation directly affecting Africans.

      The interwar period was one of material progress, with the development of a reasonably prosperous economy based on copper, gold, and other minerals, corn (maize), tobacco, and cattle. By 1953 Southern Rhodesia had a European population of 157,000 and an annual revenue of more than £28 million.

      The policy of Sir Godfrey Huggins (Malvern, Godfrey Huggins, 1st Viscount) (later Lord Malvern), who served as prime minister of Southern Rhodesia for 20 years, was to build a society in accord with Rhodes's dictum of “equal rights for all civilized men,” one in which merit and not colour should be the test of political and economic advancement. He believed that political power should not be given to the Africans until they were sufficiently experienced to know how to exercise it in cooperation with the Europeans and thus to maintain the economic development built up over the years.

      A second principle in which Lord Malvern and most other Europeans in Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia) profoundly believed was that the two countries should be joined together, both for their mutual economic benefit and to ensure the establishment of a powerful state based on British culture and traditions. Malvern failed to secure their amalgamation, but he supported the federation of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland (Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Federation of) (later Malawi) when that solution was eventually accepted by the British in 1953.

      In 1957 a new electoral law was passed providing for a common roll of voters (the “A” roll, composed only of whites) with a special roll for those with lower qualifications (the “B” roll, a tiny minority of the blacks). At the same time, there was growing political consciousness among the African population, together with increasing hostility to the idea of federation. Joshua Nkomo (Nkomo, Joshua) was one of the fiercest opponents of federation as the local leader of the African National Congress, and, when that organization was banned, he became president of the National Democratic Party in 1960. It, too, was soon banned, and he formed the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), which in turn was banned in 1962. In 1963 Robert Mugabe (Mugabe, Robert) broke with ZAPU to join the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and thereby split African support along ethnic lines—Nkomo retained the Ndebele ethnic minority (mostly in the Matabeleland region), while Mugabe garnered the Shona ethnic majority.

      In June 1962 the UN General Assembly called for a more liberal constitution for the territory. The election of December 1962, during which the 1961 constitution came into force, was boycotted by the African nationalists. The ruling United Federal Party was defeated by the more conservative Rhodesian Front (RF), and Winston Field became prime minister. At the end of 1963 the federation was dissolved, and Southern Rhodesia reverted to its former status as colony.

Sir Kenneth Bradley Kenneth Ingham

Rhodesia and the UDI
      The goal of the RF was Rhodesian independence under guaranteed minority rule. Field was replaced as prime minister in April 1964 by his deputy, Ian Smith (Smith, Ian). The RF swept all A-roll seats in the 1965 election, and Smith used this parliamentary strength to tighten controls on the political opposition. After several attempts to persuade Britain to grant independence, Smith's government announced the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) on November 11, 1965.

      Britain declined to respond to the UDI with force, instead attempting economic tactics such as ending the link between sterling and the Rhodesian currency and seizing assets. Smith's government countered by defaulting on its (British-guaranteed) debts, leaving the British liable while at the same time balancing its budget. The United Nations Security Council imposed mandatory economic sanctions on Rhodesia in 1966, the first time that the UN had taken that action against a state. The sanctions were broadened in 1968 but still were only partly successful; some strategic minerals, especially chromium, were exported to willing buyers in Europe and North America, further strengthening the economy.

      Unsuccessful negotiations with Britain continued. A 1971 proposal to lessen restrictions on the opposition led to the creation of a third nationalist movement, the United African National Council (UANC), led by the Methodist bishop Abel Muzorewa (Muzorewa, Abel Tendekayi). Unlike ZAPU and ZANU—both banned and operating only from exile in Zambia and Mozambique, respectively—UANC was able to organize inside Rhodesia and held talks with the government during the 1970s. During the early 1970s ZAPU and ZANU had sporadically organized raids into Rhodesia, but in December 1972 the violence of the conflict intensified after a ZANU attack in the northeast. The Zambia-Rhodesia border was closed in 1973, but Mozambican independence in 1975 provided a valuable base of operations for ZANU, which had close links to the Frelimo government.

      The white Rhodesian government was thus under diplomatic, military, and, increasingly, economic pressure for a settlement. The 1976 rapprochement between Nkomo and Mugabe led to the formation of the Patriotic Front (PF), which received frontline support from Rhodesia's majority-ruled neighbours. The fighting escalated in both area and intensity, and the emergency measures adopted by the government to counter it also served to increase antigovernment feeling. By 1979 the combination of pressures had forced Smith to accept the necessity of an “internal settlement.”

A new government
 A 1978 agreement with internal black leaders, including Muzorewa, had promised elections for a transitional government that would provide for both enfranchisement of blacks and protection of white political and economic interests. The UANC won a clear majority of the seats allotted to blacks in the April 1979 election, and the country adopted the name Zimbabwe. Without PF participation or support for Muzorewa's new government, however, Zimbabwe was unable to end the warfare. Diplomatic recognition of the new government was not forthcoming given the stalemate; after talks between Muzorewa, Mugabe, and Nkomo (Nkomo, Joshua) at the Lancaster House conference in London in late 1979, Britain briefly retook control of Southern Rhodesia as a colony until a new round of elections was held in February 1980. Of the 80 contested black seats, ZANU won 57, ZAPU 20, and the UANC 3. Mugabe became the first prime minister as Zimbabwe achieved an internationally recognized independence on April 18, 1980.

      (Mugabe wrote an article for the 1982 Britannica Book of the Year [events of 1981] detailing the black majority's struggle for independence. See .)

 Mugabe's new government moved deliberately to redress inequalities of race and class, redistribute land held by the white minority, and promote economic development, with a one-party socialist state as its long-term goal. During the 1980s, drought and white emigration badly damaged the economy, which was already strained by the need for massive government spending in the long-neglected areas of education, health, and social services for the black majority. In 1982 Mugabe charged that Nkomo was plotting a coup and dismissed him from his cabinet, while arresting other leaders of ZAPU. Nkomo's supporters in the Matabeleland region retaliated, precipitating a civil war. Fighting did not cease until Mugabe and Nkomo reached an agreement in December 1987 whereby ZAPU was subsumed into ZANU-PF, Mugabe became the country's first executive president, and Nkomo became one of the nation's two vice presidents. Mugabe was reelected in 1990, 1996, and 2002.

      The economy continued to lag throughout the 1990s as inflation soared, and a high level of unemployment led to significant unrest. In 1998 Mugabe's intervention in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa)—purportedly to protect his personal investments—resulted in suspension of international economic aid for Zimbabwe. This suspension of aid and the millions of dollars spent to intervene in the war further weakened Zimbabwe's already troubled economy.

The issue of land reform and the rise of the Movement for Democratic Change
      Throughout the 1980s and '90s the government continued to struggle with the issue of land reform. Some 4,000 white farmers collectively controlled about one-third of Zimbabwe's arable land, and hundreds of white-owned farms were either officially redistributed by the government or partially taken over by squatters responding to government promises and the lack of police deterrence. Nevertheless, public support for the farmers and opposition to Mugabe's increasingly autocratic rule were evidenced by the defeat of a referendum in February 2000 calling for a new constitution that would have extended Mugabe's rule for two more six-year terms and given him the power to confiscate white-owned farms without compensation, as well as by the June elections, in which the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Morgan Tsvangirai (Tsvangirai, Morgan), won almost half of the parliamentary seats.

      Despite the apparent reprieve for white owners, a law was passed in 2002 that allowed Mugabe to pursue an aggressive program of confiscating their farms, forcing more than half of the country's white farmers to relinquish their property and rendering tens of thousands of black farmworkers homeless and unemployed. As was the case in the 1990s, property was often claimed by politically connected individuals with little or no farming experience rather than by the landless peasant farmers or war veterans who were supposed to benefit from the redistribution program. The government's lack of forethought in forcing out the white farmers and not replacing them with experienced farmworkers contributed to a significant decline in agricultural productivity; this, as well as drought, led to severe food shortages.

Increasing discord
 At the beginning of the 21st century, with Mugabe's popularity well in decline, his regime became increasingly brutal and repressive. Media freedom was curtailed by restrictive laws, and several newspapers were shut down by the government. The MDC and others critical of the government were dealt with harshly. Mugabe's reelection victory over Tsvangirai in 2002 was tainted by violence and criticized by observers, leading the Commonwealth to suspend Zimbabwe for one year. After the Commonwealth decided to extend the suspension indefinitely, Zimbabwe withdrew from the organization in December 2003. The 2005 parliamentary election was clouded by accusations of irregularities and was not deemed free or fair by the opposition and most observers, though the Southern African Development Community (SADC)—the only foreign observers officially accredited by the Zimbabwean government to observe proceedings—determined that the election met the will of the people. Shortly after the parliamentary election, the government launched “Operation Murambatsvina,” a cleanup campaign that destroyed thousands of homes and stores in shantytowns on the outskirts of Harare and other urban centres. More than half a million people were displaced, and critics of the government claimed that this was a punitive measure aimed at the supporters of the opposition, who were mainly located in the shantytowns.

      The MDC began to experience internal dissent in late 2005 as some members became disenchanted with Tsvangirai's leadership, especially his decision to boycott elections for the newly reinstated Senate, and a faction of the MDC, led by Arthur Mutambara, a former student protest leader, professor, and consultant, broke away. Harassment of the opposition continued, and in March 2007 Tsvangirai and several other members of the MDC were viciously beaten; the Mugabe administration drew international criticism after images of the injured circulated throughout the world. Increasing pressure to resolve the conflict between the MDC and ZANU-PF led to mediation efforts by the SADC, facilitated by South African president Thabo Mbeki (Mbeki, Thabo), but talks broke off in early 2008 without reaching a resolution.

Economic crisis
      Meanwhile, economic troubles continued as sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe and loans and economic aid from many donors, including the International Monetary Fund, were limited or completely withdrawn for various reasons, most notably in protest of the government's land-seizure program and because the country had fallen behind on repayments of previous loans. Inflation was rampant: the official government estimate reached nearly 8,000 percent in September 2007 (other, nongovernment estimates were up to several times that figure) before the government's Central Statistic Office stated that they were unable to continue calculating inflation rates, because of a lack of data; the basic consumer goods needed for the calculations could no longer be found in shops throughout the country. In early 2008, after government calculations had resumed, the official estimate had risen to more than 100,000 percent; by the end of the summer, it had surpassed 10 million percent. Economic problems also included an extremely high rate of unemployment, estimated at some four-fifths of the population and among the highest in the world. Employment did not guarantee financial security though, as the wages earned by those who were employed were unable to keep pace with inflation. Many Zimbabweans left the country—often going to South Africa—to find work; many of those who remained relied on relatives abroad to send remittances.

      In the midst of the country's worsening economic situation was the debate on the root causes of it. Some—primarily supporters of the government—blamed what they deemed to be unfair economic sanctions, the failure of the British government to honour the terms of the 1979 Lancaster House agreement regarding the transfer of land to black ownership, and a Western plot to oust Mugabe from power. Others, especially critics of the government, blamed the land-seizure program and the economic mismanagement under the Mugabe administration. Both groups acknowledged that corruption also played a role. Regardless of the reasons for the economic troubles, many Zimbabweans were adversely affected, lacking basic commodities and suffering from food insecurity, fuel shortages, record-high rates of unemployment, and hyperinflation.

2008 elections and aftermath
      Through all of Zimbabwe's political and economic troubles, Mugabe retained the support of many African heads of state and remained popular within ZANU-PF. In December 2007 the party endorsed Mugabe as its presidential candidate in the 2008 elections. However, as the country continued its downward spiral in the months leading up to the elections, support for Mugabe appeared to waver: former finance minister and ZANU-PF stalwart Simba Makoni announced that he was running against Mugabe for the presidency, and the MDC, with Tsvangirai as its presidential candidate once again, saw its popularity increase throughout the country, even in areas that were typically ZANU-PF strongholds. As the elections drew near, both opposition candidates and their followers were subject to harassment and attacks by the police and ZANU-PF loyalists.

      Presidential, parliamentary, and local elections were held on March 29, 2008. Unofficial preliminary results indicated a favourable outcome for Tsvangirai and the MDC, but, as days passed with only a slow, partial release of parliamentary results (and the complete absence of presidential results), many feared that Mugabe and ZANU-PF were manipulating the outcome of the elections in their favour. The MDC released its own accounting of the presidential election results on April 2, which indicated that Tsvangirai had captured slightly more than half the votes; the MDC's claims were dismissed by ZANU-PF, and the country continued to wait for official results. Later that day, results indicated that Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC had won the most seats in the House of Assembly. Senate results announced several days later revealed a split between the MDC and ZANU-PF, with the latter receiving an only slightly larger share of the votes. The final results for the presidential contest were not officially released until May 2, when it was announced that Tsvangirai had garnered more votes (47.9 percent) than Mugabe (43.2 percent), but, since Tsvangirai had not secured a majority of the votes, a runoff election would be necessary, which was later scheduled for June 27.

      In the weeks leading up to the runoff election, MDC supporters were harassed and victimized by violent attacks, which the MDC asserted were sponsored by the ZANU-PF-led government; the government in turn claimed that the MDC was responsible for the violence. An increasingly tense climate was further heightened by several government actions, including the detention of Mutambara, Tsvangirai, and several other MDC officials and supporters, as well as several diplomats from the United Kingdom and the United States who were in the midst of investigating reports of preelection violence, the suspension of all humanitarian aid operations in the country, and statements from Mugabe implying that he would not cede power to the opposition if he lost the runoff election. As the politically motivated violence, intimidation, and rhetoric continued, on June 22 Tsvangirai announced that he was withdrawing from the election, citing the impossibility of it being free and fair in the country's current political climate. Nevertheless, the election was still held, and Mugabe was declared the winner despite assertions from independent observers that the election was neither free nor fair.

      The fact that the election was even held—as well as the outcome—prompted widespread international condemnation, most notably from some of the governments of African countries that had previously supported Mugabe, and there were calls for the MDC and ZANU-PF to form a power-sharing government. To that end, SADC-led talks, again facilitated by Mbeki, were held with ZANU-PF and the two factions of the MDC. Although the parties were able to reach a consensus regarding the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to direct the terms and scope of the discussion, an agreement regarding a new power-sharing government did not progress as quickly. Meanwhile, Mugabe announced that he intended to convene parliament on August 26, 2008; this announcement was met with protest from the MDC and others who complained that doing so before a power-sharing agreement was reached contradicted the terms of the MOU. Nonetheless, parliament was convened per Mugabe's directive. Notably, however, the House of Assembly speaker was elected from Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC—the first time since the country's independence in 1980 that the speaker position was held by an opposition party member.

 SADC-led negotiations for a power-sharing government continued, and on September 15, 2008, Mugabe, Mutambara, and Tsvangirai signed a comprehensive power-sharing agreement. As part of the agreement, Mugabe would remain president but would cede some power to Tsvangirai, who would serve as prime minister; Mutambara would serve as a deputy prime minister. Initial jubilation quickly turned to disappointment in the following months when it became clear that Mugabe and Tsvangirai could not come to terms on how to implement the agreement, arguing over how to allocate the new government's key ministries between ZANU-PF and the MDC. Stalled talks and repeated attempts by the SADC to get discussions back on track continued against a backdrop of worsening economic and humanitarian conditions in the country. Rampant inflation continued, with official estimates at more than 200 million percent (unofficial estimates were much higher), and there were severe food shortages. The country's municipal and health services, lacking the funds and supplies to function adequately, rapidly deteriorated; this fueled a deadly cholera epidemic. (See also cholera: Modern epidemics in Africa (cholera) for more detail.) Dozens of MDC supporters, human rights activists, and reporters had disappeared; the MDC alleged that they had been abducted by ZANU-PF- and government-allied forces. International support for continued negotiations for the power-sharing government began to wane, with some critics calling for Mugabe to step down from power; he adamantly refused to do so.

      Robert Mugabe, the first prime minister of Zimbabwe, wrote an article for the 1982 Britannica Book of the Year (events of 1981) detailing the black majority's struggle for independence. See .

Additional Reading
Discussions of the country's geography, society, economy, and history are available in Harold D. Nelson, Zimbabwe, a Country Study, 2nd ed. (1983). Political economy is addressed by J.D.Y. Peel and T.O. Ranger (eds.), Past and Present in Zimbabwe (1983); Ibbo Mandaza (ed.), Zimbabwe: The Political Economy of Transition, 1980–1986 (1986); Ian Phimister, An Economic and Social History of Zimbabwe, 1890–1948: Capital Accumulation and Class Struggle (1987); and Christine Sylvester, Zimbabwe: The Terrain of Contradictory Development (1991).Robert Blake, A History of Rhodesia (1977), includes a commentary sympathetic to the white Rhodesian leaders. The early history of the country is detailed in D.N. Beach, The Shona & Zimbabwe, 900–1850: An Outline of Shona History (1980); S.I.G. Mudenge, A Political History of Munhumutapa, c. 1400–1902 (1988); Philip Mason, The Birth of a Dilemma: The Conquest and Settlement of Rhodesia (1958, reprinted 1982), the best account of the early days (up to 1918) of white settlement and race relations; T.O. Ranger, Revolt in Southern Rhodesia, 1896–97 (1967, reissued 1979), a full-length study, drawing from African sources, of the risings against white rule in 1896–97, with significance in terms of the modern liberation movement; Robin Palmer, Land and Racial Domination in Rhodesia (1977); Anthony Verrier, The Road to Zimbabwe, 1890–1980 (1986); T.O. Ranger, The African Voice in Southern Rhodesia, 1898–1930 (1970); and Charles Van Onselen, Chibaro: African Mine Labour in Southern Rhodesia, 1900–1933 (1976), a major pioneering study in social history. Lawrence Vambe, An Ill-Fated People: Zimbabwe Before and After Rhodes (1972), a family history portraying the humour and sadness of occupation, is continued by his From Rhodesia to Zimbabwe (1976), on the years from 1927 to the early 1960s. More recent history is studied by Nathan M. Shamuyarira, Crisis in Rhodesia (1965), a broad description of the racial disparities and political collisions that culminated in the Unilateral Declaration of Independence; Richard Hall, The High Price of Principles: Kaunda and the White South (1969); Martin Meredith, The Past Is Another Country: Rhodesia, UDI to Zimbabwe, rev. and extended ed. (1980), a detailed and objective account of political moves inside Rhodesia from 1965 to 1979; T.O. Ranger, Peasant Consciousness and Guerrilla War in Zimbabwe: A Comparative Study (1985); Norma J. Kriger, Zimbabwe's Guerrilla War: Peasant Voices (1992); David Martin and Phyllis Johnson, The Struggle for Zimbabwe: The Chimurenga War (1981), an authoritative account of the liberation movement; and W.H. Morris-Jones (ed.), From Rhodesia to Zimbabwe: Behind and Beyond Lancaster House (1980).Clyde William Sanger Sir Kenneth Bradley Kenneth Ingham Ed.

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Universalium. 2010.

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