Information about Zimbabwe
The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the [British] South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated that favored whites in power. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded more complete voting rights for the black African majority in the country (then called Rhodesia). UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising finally led to free elections in 1979 and independence (as Zimbabwe) in 1980. Robert MUGABE, the nation's first prime minister, has been the country's only ruler (as president since 1987) and has dominated the country's political system since independence. His chaotic land redistribution campaign, which began in 1997 and intensified after 2000, caused an exodus of white farmers, crippled the economy, and ushered in widespread shortages of basic commodities. Ignoring international condemnation, MUGABE rigged the 2002 presidential election to ensure his reelection. In April 2005, the capital city of Harare embarked on Operation Restore Order, ostensibly an urban rationalization program, which resulted in the destruction of the homes or businesses of 700,000 mostly poor supporters of the opposition. President MUGABE in June 2007 instituted price controls on all basic commodities causing panic buying and leaving store shelves empty for months; a period of increasing hyperinflation ensued. General elections held in March 2008 contained irregularities but still amounted to a censure of the ZANU-PF-led government with the opposition winning a majority of seats in parliament. MDC-T opposition leader Morgan TSVANGIRAI won the most votes in the presidential polls, but not enough to win outright. In the lead up to a run-off election in late June 2008, considerable violence enacted against opposition party members led to the withdrawal of TSVANGIRAI from the ballot. Extensive evidence of violence and intimidation resulted in international condemnation of the process. Difficult negotiations over a power-sharing "government of national unity," in which MUGABE remained president and TSVANGIRAI became prime minister, were finally settled in February 2009, although the leaders failed to agree upon many key outstanding governmental issues. MUGABE was reelected president in June 2013 in balloting that was severely flawed and internationally condemned. As a prerequisite to holding the elections, Zimbabwe enacted a new constitution by referendum, although many provisions in the new constitution have yet to be codified in law.
Zimbabwe's economy is growing despite continuing political uncertainty. Following a decade of contraction from 1998 to 2008, Zimbabwe's economy recorded real growth of roughly 10% per year in 2010-11, before slowing in 2012-13 due poor harvests and low diamond revenues. The government of Zimbabwe faces a number of difficult economic problems, including infrastructure and regulatory deficiencies, ongoing indigenization pressure, policy uncertainty, a large external debt burden, and insufficient formal employment. Until early 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe routinely printed money to fund the budget deficit, causing hyperinflation. Dollarization in early 2009 - which allowed currencies such as the Botswana pula, the South Africa rand, and the US dollar to be used locally - ended hyperinflation and reduced inflation below 10% per year, but exposed structural weaknesses that continue to inhibit broad-based growth.
Issues in Zimbabwe
Namibia has supported, and in 2004 Zimbabwe dropped objections to, plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognizing a short, but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary in the river; South Africa has placed military units to assist police operations along the border of Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to control smuggling, poaching, and illegal migration
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
(political violence, human rights violations, land reform, and economic collapse) (2013)
Trafficking in persons:
Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Zimbabwean women and girls from towns bordering South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia are subjected to prostitution, sometimes being sold by their parents; Zimbabwean men, women, and children are subjected to forced labor in agriculture and domestic service in rural areas, as well as domestic servitude and sex trafficking in cities and towns; Zimbabwean women and men are lured into exploitative labor situations in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Nigeria, and South Africa with false job offers, while women and girls are lured to China, Egypt, the UK, and Canada and forced into prostitution; adults and children from Bangladesh, Somalia, India, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia are trafficked through Zimbabwe en route to South Africa
Tier 3 - Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; tangible efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, including those allegedly involving government officials, and to protect victims remain minimal; the government continues to rely on an international organization to provide law enforcement training and on NGOs to identify and assist victims without government support for such work; a national trafficking awareness campaign was launched in November 2012 (2013)
transit point for cannabis and South Asian heroin, mandrax, and methamphetamines en route to South Africa