Zimbabwe Fact File:
Independence: 18 April, 1980
GDP: $17.85 billion
Population: 16.53 million
Zimbabwe is a country located in southern Africa. The country was previously called Rhodesia, but now officially the republic of Zimbabwe. Landlocked, the country is bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. Harare is the country’s capital and largest city.
Socially, Zimbabwe’s population roughly comprises two major groups: the Shona and the Ndebele. The Shona constitute over 71% of the population. The Ndebele constitute 16%. The rest of the population comprises people of foreign descent and black immigrants.
During colonial times, Zimbabwe was known as Southern Rhodesia. Under a white minority regime, Rhodesia declared unilateral independence from Britain in 1965. Due to its failure to institute reforms favouring Blacks, Britain rejected the declaration.
Black nationalists in the country began agitating for changes to be made in the country. Under parties such as the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), nationalists began to undertake violent forms of actions.
Following negotiations and mediations, majority rule was finally achieved for Zimbabwe in 1980. In the elections of 1980, liberation hero, Robert Mugabe won a landslide victory, and became the countries Prime Minister.
Mugabe remained Prime Minister till 1987 when the country switched to the presidential system of government. He ruled the country from 1980 to 2017, when he was forced to relinquish power following a military coup.
Zimbabwe continues to practice the presidential system of government. The country has only ever been ruled by one political party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Zimbabwe does have a very active opposition.
The country’s present leader is Emmanuel Mnangagwa. He was Vice President under Mugabe before the military coup.