Zimbabwe. A proposal for a new constitution was rejected in a referendum in February. The Constitution would have given President Robert Mugabe increased power and the right to confiscate, without compensation, white-owned agriculture. The turnout was only 20%, which in itself was interpreted as a no for Mugabe.
Shortly thereafter, veterans of the Liberation War and landless farm workers began to occupy White’s farms. Mugabe supported the actions, and the police defied court orders to evict the occupants. In the spring, several white landowners and members of the new opposition party were murdered Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The occupants received further support when the Zanu-PF government used their large majority in Parliament to enforce confiscation rights in a constitutional amendment.
The campaign for the June parliamentary elections was characterized by the violence and threats of rural veterans and Zanu-PF activists in the countryside. In many places opposition candidates could not run any campaign at all. The result was that Zanu-PF’s power monopoly was broken. MDC received 57 of the 120 directly elected seats and Zanu-PF 62. MDC completely dominated the big cities and the Matabeleland region. Foreign observers, however, said that because of the violence, there had been no “free and honest choice”. The MDC appealed the findings in 39 constituencies and initiated a civil trial against the president.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Offers three letter and two letter abbreviations for the country of Zimbabwe. Also covers country profile such as geography, society and economy.
Occupations continued in the fall, and the list of farms to be confiscated was expanded from about 800 to over 3,000. New court orders to evict occupants were canceled, and in October, the government issued amnesty to those who committed violent crimes in connection with the occupations and the election campaign.
Zimbabwe’s already poor economy deteriorated dramatically. The World Bank interrupted lending since the government failed to pay off the repayments on previous loans. Thus, Zimbabwe was expected to find it very difficult to raise new credits elsewhere. The war in Congo-Kinshasa, which was estimated to cost at least SEK 300 million. of the month, was a root cause of the poor economy, as were the land occupations that threatened to hit hard on agricultural production. Finance Minister Simba Makoni, who was taken from business after the election, estimated in the 2001 budget that the economy would shrink by 4% and agriculture by 10%. The budget deficit rose to 25% of GDP. Both interest rates and inflation were around 60%, and half the population lacked work. Over the past ten years, purchasing power has decreased by 75%.
Opposition politicians arrested
21th of August
Job Sikhala, deputy chairman of the largest opposition party MDC, is arrested. He is accused of inciting violence in the public sphere and of having given his support to a demonstration that would have taken place on 31 July. Sikhala has been hidden since the end of July. The opposition politician, Jacob Ngarivhume, who called for the protest march, is still in custody (see July 31, 2020). This also applies to journalist Hopewell Chin’ono. Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, who represents Chin’ono, has been suspended from her job by a court in the capital Harare. Just over a month after the arrest, on September 22, Job Sikhala will be released on bail. The charges against him remain.
The Catholic Church is protesting against the country’s government
In a letter, the influential Catholic Church criticizes the increasingly harsh social climate. The church has great influence in the country but does not usually make political statements. In their letter, the bishops accuse the government of violating the human rights of citizens. The Zimbabwean government rejects the criticism and denies that the country is in crisis despite the fact that inflation has now reached over 800 percent. Neighboring South Africa, which has previously been questioned for its “silent diplomacy” vis-à-vis Zimbabwe (see Foreign Policy and Defense), has in recent days raised its voice, but before that South Africa’s handling of the situation provoked strong reactions when its envoys met neither opposition nor human rights activists. with the government’s version of the development of the social crisis.
In 1976, ZANU and ZAPU joined the Patriotic Front (Patriotic Front, PF). ZANLA and ZIPRA were put under one command but continued in practice as two separate forces. The pressure of the guerrilla’s progress and political pressure from the UK, South Africa and the United States agreed to find a solution to the conflict with other and more moderate African politicians than the PF. In 1978, Abel Muzorewa, Jeremiah Chirau and Ndabaningi Sithole adopted a new constitution that would still guarantee the white minority great economic and political power, but where ordinary voting and majority voting would be introduced. The 1979 election was boycotted by PF, and UANC won. Muzorewa became prime minister in what was called Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.
The new government received no international recognition and failed to end the war. In 1979 new negotiations started between the parties in London, and in December an agreement was signed which became the basis for the ceasefire and free elections. Muzorewa’s government resigned and a British governor, Christopher Soames, took over the board for a transitional period until the election and independence the following year.
According to COUNTRYAAH, the population of Zimbabwe in 2000 was 11,881,366, ranking number 65 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.810% yearly, and the population density was 30.7134 people per km2.