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Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Government Profile


Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe has been the leader of Zimbabwe for the three decades of its independence.

He was a key figure in the struggle for independence, which involved a bitter bush war against a white minority which had cut the country loose from the colonial power Britain.

At the same time as he was initial elected in 1980 he was praised for reaching out to the white minority and his political rivals, inclunding for what was considered a pragmatic approach to the economy.

However, he any minute at this time expelled from his government of national unity the party whose stronghold was in the south of the country and launched an anti-opposition campaign in which thousands died.

In the mid-1990s he embarked on a programme of land redistribution, in which commercial farmers were driven off the land by mobs. The programme was accompanied by a steady decline in the economy.

As the opposition to his policy increased, he and his ruling Zanu-PF party grew additional determined to remain in power. Critics accuse him of heading a military regime.


In the elections of 2008, Zanu-PF lost its parliamentary majority and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mr Mugabe in the presidential vote but with insufficient votes to avoid a run-off.

Mr Mugabe was sworn in for an extra term in June 2008 next a widely-condemned run-off vote from which Mr Tsvangirai withdrew, citing attacks on his supporters.

Under international pressure, Mr Mugabe agreed a power-sharing transaction with Mr Tsvangirai, who was made prime minister.

However, Mr Mugabe made no secret of his distaste for the arrangement and Mr Tsvangirai complained of a lack of co-operation and a return of violence against his party\'s supporters.

Next years of wrangling, the two parties in early 2013 agreed on a new constitution, which was overwhelmingly approved at a referendum in March.

It curbs the president\'s powers, sets a two-term limit for the office, abolishes the post of prime minister, creates elected provincial legislatures and establishes a constitutional court.

Mr Mugabe was able to govern alone again next winning 61% of the vote against 34% for Mr Tsvangirai in the 2012 election, while Zanu-PF party clinched a two-thirds majority in parliament. Mr Tsvangirai dismissed the polls as fraudulent.

In late 2014, the president fired Vice-President Joyce Mujuru and seven ministers, accusing them of being involved in a plot to kill him. Ms Mujuru denied the allegation.

Ideologically, Mr Mugabe belongs to the African liberationist tradition of the 1960s - strong and ruthless leadership, anti-Western, suspicious of capitalism and deeply dogmatic of dissent and opposition.

Opposition leader: Morgan Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai\'s defeat in the July 2013 elections was a major setback for a man who for a lot of years posed the only credible challenge to President Mugabe.

He served as prime minister from February 2009 until the post was officially abolished in September 2013 under the terms of the new constitution approved in March.

His appointment to the premiership was part of a power-sharing transaction reached under international pressure following the disputed 2008 elections.

The coalition made up of Mr Mugabe\'s Zanu-PF and Mr Tsvangirai\'s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was always a shaky affair, and Mr Mugabe lost no time in ditching the power-sharing arrangement next Zanu-PF\'s sweeping election victory in 2013.

Mr Tsvangirai is a former union leader who helped found the MDC in 1999.

As MDC leader he has faced intimidation, treason charges, physical assault and at one stage was charged with plotting to kill Mr Mugabe.

The son of a bricklayer, Mr Tsvangirai worked as a miner for a number of years, before climbing to the top of the country\'s trade union movement.

He initial took on the government at the same time as, as secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, he led a series of strikes against high taxes in the late 1990s.

Mr Tsvangirai once declared that his strategy to unseat Mr Mugabe was to wait until the president mismanaged the economy to such an extent that he was forced out of office.

This long-term approach may have helped to prevent the split in Zimbabwean society from developing into civil war, but Mr Mugabe\'s grip on power shows no sign of loosening and even some of Mr Tsvangirai\'s supporters presently suggest that he has been outmanoeuvred by the president and his allies.

In 2014, Mr Tsvangirai survived political infighting in the MDC which had threatened his leadership of the party, and went on to be re-elected unopposed as leader for an extra five-year term.


The Republic of Zimbabwe in southern central Africa. It was formerly called Rhodesia. It is bordered by Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa and Botswana. The area is 150.804 square miles (390,580 km²);

Zimbabwe is a semi-presidential republic, which has a parliamentary system of government. Under the constitutional changes in 2005, an upper chamber, the Senate, was reinstated.The Home of Assembly is the lower chamber of Parliament.

President Robert Mugabe\'s Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (commonly abbreviated ZANU-PF) has been the dominant political party in Zimbabwe since independence.In 1987 again-prime minister Mugabe revised the constitution, abolishing the ceremonial presidency and the prime ministerial posts to form an executive president, a Presidential system. His ZANU party has won each election since independence, in 1990 election the second-placed party, Edgar Tekere\'s Zimbabwe Unity Movement, winning only 20% of the vote.[61] During the 1995 parliamentary elections most opposition parties, inclunding the ZUM, boycotted the voting, resulting in a near-sweep by the ruling party.At the same time as the opposition returned to the polls in 2000, they won 57 seats, only five fewer than ZANU.

Presidential elections were again held in 2002 amid allegations of vote-rigging, intimidation and fraud.[63] The 2005 Zimbabwe parliamentary elections were held on 31 March and multiple claims of vote rigging, election fraud and intimidation were made by the MDC and Jonathan Moyo, calling for investigations into 32 of the 120 constituencies.Jonathan Moyo participated in the elections despite the allegations and won a seat as an independent member of Parliament.

General elections were again held in Zimbabwe on 30 March 2008. The official results required a runoff between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader; the MDC challenged these results[citation needed], claiming widespread election fraud by the Mugabe government. The runoff was scheduled for 27 June 2008. On 22 June, citing the continuing unfairness of the process and refusing to participate in a \"violent, illegitimate sham of an election process\", Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential run-off, the ZEC held the run-off and President Mugabe received a landslide majority.

The MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai is presently the majority in the Lower chamber of Parliament. The MDC split into two factions. One faction (MDC-M), presently led by Arthur Mutambara contested the elections to the Senate, while the other, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, opposed to contesting the elections, stating that participation in a rigged election is tantamount to endorsing Mugabe\'s claim that completed elections were free and equitable. The opposition parties have resumed participation in national and local elections as recently as 2006. The two MDC camps had their congresses in 2006 with Morgan Tsvangirai being elected to lead MDC-T, which has become additional popular than the other group.

Mutambara, a robotics professor and former NASA robotics specialist has restored Welshman Ncube who was the interim leader of MDC-M next the split. Morgan Tsvangirai did not participate in the Senate elections, while the Mutambara faction participated and won five seats in the senate. The Mutambara formation has been weakened by defections from MPs and individuals who are disillusioned by their manifesto. As of 2008, the Movement for Democratic Change has become the majority popular, with crowds as large as 20,000 attending their rallies as compared to between 500–5,000 for the other formation.

On 28 April 2008, Tsvangirai and Mutambara announced at a joint news conference in Johannesburg that the two MDC formations were cooperating, enabling the MDC to have a clear parliamentary majority.Tsvangirai said that Mugabe could not remain President without a parliamentary majority.On the same day, Silaigwana announced that the recounts for the final five constituencies had been completed, that the results were being collated and that they would be published on 29 April.

In mid-September 2008, next protracted negotiations overseen by the leaders of South Africa and Mozambique, Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing transaction which would see Mugabe retain control over the army. Donor nations have adopted a \'wait-and-see\' attitude, wanting to see real change being brought about by this merger before committing themselves to funding rebuilding efforts, which are estimated to take at least five years. On 11 February 2009 Tsvangirai was sworn in as Prime Minister by President Mugabe.

In November, 2008, the government of Zimbabwe spent $7.3 million donated by the World Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. A representative of the organization declined to speculate on how the money was spent, except that it was not for the intended purpose, and the government has failed to honor requests to return the money.

Government type: 

parliamentary democracy

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


18 April 1980 (from the UK)

National holiday: 

Independence Day, 18 April (1980)


21 Dec. 1979

Legal system: 

mixture of Roman-Dutch and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch: 

bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate (93 seats - 60 members elected by popular vote for a five-year term, 10 provincial governors nominated by the president and the prime minister, 16 traditional chiefs elected by the Council of Chiefs, 2 seats held by the president and deputy president of the Council of Chiefs, and 5 members appointed by the president) and a House of Assembly (210 seats - members elected by popular vote for five-year terms) elections: last held on 28 March 2008 (next to be held in 2013) election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - MDC 51.6%, ZANU-PF 45.8%, other 2.6%; seats by party - MDC 30, ZANU-PF 30; House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - MDC 51.3%, ZANU-PF 45.8%, other 2.9%; seats by party - MDC 109, ZANU-PF 97, other 4

Judicial branch: 

Supreme Court; High Court

Political parties and leaders : 

African National Party or ANP [Egypt DZINEMUNHENZVA]; Movement for Democratic Change or MDC [Morgan TSVANGIRAI]; Movement for Democratic Change - Mutambara or MDC-M [Arthur MUTAMBARA] (splinter faction of the MDC); Peace Action is Freedom for All or PAFA; United Parties [Abel MUZOREWA]; United People's Party or UPP [Daniel SHUMBA]; Zimbabwe African National Union-Ndonga or ZANU-Ndonga [Wilson KUMBULA]; Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front or ZANU-PF [Robert Gabriel MUGABE]; Zimbabwe African Peoples Union or ZAPU [Agrippa MADLELA]; Zimbabwe Youth in Alliance or ZIYA

Political pressure groups and leaders: 

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition; National Constitutional Assembly or NCA [Lovemore MADHUKU]; Women of Zimbabwe Arise or WOZA [Jenny WILLIAMS]; Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions or ZCTU [Wellington CHIBEBE]

International organization participation: 


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 representing the long history of the country is superimposed on a red five-pointed star in the center of the triangle, which symbolizes peace; green represents agriculture, yellow mineral wealth, red the blood shed to achieve independence, and black stands for the native people