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Wikipedia: Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Republic of Zimbabwe
National motto: Unity, Freedom, Work
Official language English, Shona, Ndebele
Capital Harare
Harare's coordinates 17 50' S, 31 03' E
Executive President Robert Mugabe
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 59th
390,580 km²
1%
Population
 - Total (2003)
 - Density
Ranked 66th
12,576,742
32/km²
Independence
 - Declared
 - Recognised
Rhodesian civil war
(as Rhodesia) in 1965
(as Zimbabwe) in 1980
Currency Zimbabwe dollar (Z$)
Time zone UTC +2 (DST, yes or not)
National anthem Kalibusiswe Ilizwe leZimbabwe (Blessed be the land of Zimbabwe)
Internet TLD .ZW
Calling Code263

The Republic of Zimbabwe is a country located in the southern part of the continent of Africa, between the Victoria Falls, Zambesi river, Kariba Dam and Limpopo river. It is surrounded by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the west, Zambia to the north and Mozambique to the east.

History

Main article: History of Zimbabwe

After 33 years of administration by the British South Africa Company, from 1923 until 1980 the country was officially the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, though Ian Smith's white minority government proclaimed independence unilaterally in 1965 as the State (subsequently Republic) of Rhodesia.

After a brief period as Zimbabwe Rhodesia in 1979 under an internal settlement between the regime and part of the African opposition movement, the country was returned to British rule at the end of 1979 pending elections which led to legal independence under majority government on April 18, 1980. Since then, under the dictatorial regime of Robert Mugabe, the country has declined economically.

In 2002, Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations on charges of human rights abuses and of election tampering. In 2003 the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) upheld this suspension, leading Mugabe to heatedly withdraw Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Zimbabwe

The gross misuse of land, badly-managed resources and misappropriated donor funding (from organisations like the International Monetary Fund) have led the international community to forecast severe famine in the region by mid-2003. The ruling Zanu-PF elite continues with its controversial Land Reform policies, which have caught international attention because white farmers have been targeted. Observers such as the Southern African Bishops Conference, Amnesty International, Genocide Watch and others have reported that country is now on the verge of genocide. As former Speaker of Parliament, Didymus Mutasa, has put it: "We would be better off with only six million people, with our own people who support the liberation struggle. We don't want all these extra people". The government has been accused of a more subtle genocide by starving areas of opposition support in order to avoid the media interest that resulted from the images that came pouring out of Rwanda, and of withholding grain supplies from AIDS victims, speeding up their deaths and hiding the murder behind AIDS statistics. After a brief period of reconciliation, the government is attempting to exploit tribal and racial differences to gain support for its policies, focussing on the theme of colonial theft by whites of black land as it confiscates farms owned by mainly white farmers. The state-monopoly Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has prohibited the importation of food by private citizens.

However a growing opposition party called the Movement for Democratic change (MDC), led by Morgan Tsvangirai and growing to popular strength has led many people to believe that political change must come, hopefully through democratic process and the restoration of Zimbabwean rule of law. During 2002, the country's much-contested Presidential elections (many Zimbabweans considered Morgan Tsvangirai to be a clear winner) are believed to have been manipulated to deflect the winnings back to the ruling Zanu-PF government.

For the country once considered the bread basket of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, the future remains sad and uncertain. The international community believes that political decisions made both overseas and by Zimbabwe's southern-most neighbour South Africa are crucial to the balance of power in this sovereign state. Under the direction of South African President Thabo Mbeki it remains to be seen whether Mbeki's proposed plan for a true African Renaissance will include political freedom and the rule of law within Zimbabwe.

Provinces

Main article: Provinces of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is divided into 8 provinces and 2 cities with provincial status: Bulawayo (city), Harare (city), Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, and Midlands.

Geography

Main article: Geography of Zimbabwe

Economy

Main article: Economy of Zimbabwe

The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems as it struggles to consolidate earlier progress in developing 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 suffers delays in part because of the country's failure to meet budgetary goals. Inflation rose from an annual rate of 32% in 1998 to 59% in 1999 and to 208% in February 2003, expected to reach 350% by the end of the year. The economy is being steadily weakened by AIDS; Zimbabwe has the highest rate of infection in the world.

The destruction of much of Zimbabwe's agricultural base through the seizing of mainly white-owned farms throughout 1999 and 2000 has decimated the Zimbabwean economy. The political situation makes it unlikely that the West will be inclined to do much more than provide sustenance assistance.

The lack of foreign currency, as well as the difference between the official exchange rate (officially 55 to the US$, while 1600 to the dollar is available on the black market) have resulted in fuel shortages and a lack of basic supplies. Libya supplied fuel, partially in exchange for land, but Zimbabwe could not meet the basic payments, and supplies have been stopped. Without fuel, the demise of the economy continues apace.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Zimbabwe

Culture

Main article: Culture of Zimbabwe

Holidays
DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks

Miscellaneous topics

External Links


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