Politics of Zimbabwe

From Academic Kids

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According to Zimbabwe's Constitution, the president is head of state and head of government, elected for a 6-year term by popular majority vote. Parliament consists of the House of Assembly and has up to a 5-year life span. The House of Assembly has 120 members elected by the common-roll electorate, eight governors, 10 chiefs, 12 presidential appointees, the Speaker, and the Attorney General.

The Zimbabwean Constitution, initially from the Lancaster House Agreement a few months before the 1980 elections, chaired by Lord Carrington and amended greatly by Robert Mugabe since, institutionalizes majority rule and protection of minority rights. The elected government controls senior appointments in the public service, including the military and police, and ensures that appointments at lower levels are made on an equitable basis by the independent Public Service Commission.

The judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who like the other justices is appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. The Constitution has a bill of rights containing extensive protection of human rights. The bill of rights could not be amended for the first 10 years of independence except by unanimous vote of the House of Assembly.

The ruling body of the ZANU-PF party outranks the cabinet as the nation's top policy making council. Its 26 members include veteran politicians, ministers and service chiefs appointed by Mugabe.

Zimbabwe is divided into eight provinces, each administered by a provincial governor appointed by the president. The provincial governor is assisted by the provincial administrator and representatives of several service ministries. Zimbabwe is governed by President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwean African National Union--Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), which has dominated the legislative and executive branches since independence in 1980.

Ethnic groups play a large part in Zimbabwe's politics. The two dominant groups, with a long history of rivalry in a country whose borders were set by colonial powers, are the Ndebele and the Shona. That battle was largely played out in the 1980s between Joshua Nkomo of ZAPU and Robert Mugabe of ZANU, with the Gukurahundi wars being the battleground, with Mugabe and the ZANU establishment being the inevitable winners. The result was the political merger of ZAPU and ZANU into Zanu-PF, sidelining of the ageing Nkomo.

As the question of Mugabe's future arises in 2005, factionalism within the Shona is becoming apparent. [1] (

March 2005 general elections

Main article: Zimbabwe parliamentary elections, 2005

In June, 2004 the politburo announced that the March 2005 general elections would conform to election guidelines drawn up by the 14 member Southern Africa Development Community. Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede will no longer run elections, which will instead be overseen by a five member electoral commission whose chairman would be appointed by Mugabe.

Elections were held on a single day, not two or three as before. Translucent ballot boxes were used to prevent "stuffing," and counting was done at polling centers rather than at a single, central location.


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Zimbabwe
conventional short form: Zimbabwe
former: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia

Data code: ZI

Government type: supposedly a multiparty parliamentary democracy, Zimbabwe is in reality a dictatorial single-party system.

Capital: Harare

Administrative divisions:

Zimbabwe is divided into 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. The legal system has come under increasing threat. The opposition MDC has repeatedly attempted to use the legal system to challenge the ruling ZANU-PF, but the courts rulings, often in favour of the MDC, have regularly been ignored by the police.

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Executive President Robert Gabriel Mugabe (since 31 December 1987); Vice President: Joseph MSIKA (since 23 December 1999) The second Vice President position has been vacant since the death of Simon Vengai MUZENDA, officially on the 20/9/2001; 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: president nominated by the House of Assembly for a six-year term (if more than one nomination, an electoral college consisting of members of the House of Assembly elects the president); election election last held 9-11 March 2002 (next to be held NA March 2008); 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 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 48.6%, MDC 47.0%, other 4.4%; seats by party - ZANU-PF 62, MDC 57, ZANU-Ndonga 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) [Morgan Tsvangirai]; National Alliance for Good Governance (NAGG) [Shakespeare MAYA]; United Parties [Abel MUZOREWA]; Zimbabwe African National Union-Ndonga (ZANU-Ndonga) [Wilson KUMBULA]; Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) [ Robert Gabriel Mugabe ]; Zimbabwe African Peoples Union or ZAPU [Agrippa MADLELA]; International Socialist Organisation (ISO) [?]

Political pressure groups and leaders: National Constitutional Assembly or NCA [Lovemore MADHUKU]; Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition [Brian KAGORO]

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, ECA, FAO, G-15, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIK, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

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


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