Zimbabwe. The presidential election in March was disappointing for President Robert Mugabe since 1987. He was the only candidate and received 92.7% of the votes cast. But only about 30% of voters participated in the election. It was seen as an effective way to deny Mugabe the mandate he had wanted.
Originally, there were two more candidates for the election. One, Pastor Ndabaningi Sithole, resigned when he said he had been harassed by the state security forces. The other, Bishop Abel Muzorewa, withdrew his candidacy after the Supreme Court rejected his request for a revision of the country’s electoral laws. According to authorities, the announcement of Sitholes and Muzorewa’s withdrawal came too late for the election to be postponed.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does ZW stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Zimbabwe. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.
1991 ZANU-PF abandons scientific socialism
In June 91, the ruling ZANU-PF decided to abandon its previous Marxist-Leninist ideology and to remove any reference to this and scientific socialism from its statutes. However, this policy change was implemented without the party abandoning its socialist project, but this had to be adapted to the reality in Zimbabwe. Mugabe urged to downplay the doctrine of socialism in favor of social democracy and mixed economy.
In October 91, the opposition party ZUM was split. A wing led by its former Vice President Emmanuel Magoche broke out and formed the Democratic Party.
Despite the fact that Zimbabwe is formally democratic and constitutionally allows several parties, the reality is that the country functions as a one-party government. The lack of opposition to the ZANU-PF has led the government party to gradually control all levels of state apparatus, police and bureaucracy. Although there is consensus within the party to maintain the existing political system, the development of movements in South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and Zambia that put political pluralism on the agenda put Zimbabwe under pressure to allow the development of more parties.
At the end of 91, President Mugabe declared that the country’s GDP had increased 3.5% – 1.4% lower in the past year than in the previous year. But at the same time, inflation had almost doubled from 13.3% in 90 to 25% in 91. In January 92, the government declared it embarked on a five-year reform program aimed at liberalizing the economy, reducing the government deficit to 5% of GDP and drastically increasing employment. However, one of its first steps was the dismissal of 32,000 public sector employees. Mugabe had, following pressure from the IMF, initiated a reduction in the number of ministries.
As part of the cuts, the government in May reduced the scholarships, tuition expenses and abolished the free higher education. This move triggered extensive student protests, culminating when 10,000 students were expelled from the University of Zimbabwe in June. The protest demonstrations were subjected to violent police attacks. At the same time, the National Organization declared a general strike against economic policy. A demonstration of better living conditions by students, women and children in the gold mining area east of Harare ended with 3 being killed by police bullets.
United States elite forces conducted joint maneuvers with troops from Zimbabwe. Acc. the government was the maneuvers a part of training Zimbabwe’s troops for UN action in Somalia. Acc. the opposition was about training the forces of internal oppression.
In the middle of 93, the White Union of Commercial Farmers supported by the white minority political parties accused the government of expropriating productive land. Mugabe responded by threatening them with deportation if they did not submit to land reform, but he failed to make demands on them for proper treatment of the land workers. In 1994, a black land worker on the white estates earned $ 30 a month.
With a month’s delay, the countries that assisted Zimbabwe met in March 95 in Paris. The Mugabe government had not had the accounts ready on time. The country was afraid of reprisals as it lagged behind in implementing the reforms required by the IMF. Still, it received more assistance than originally intended. The country’s foreign debt was to the same extent as the National Product, and 23% of the state’s expenditure therefore went towards paying interest on the debt.
In October 95, Ndabaningi Sithole, chairman of ZANU-Ndonga and one of the only MPs who were not members of ZANU-PF, were arrested and charged with planning to assassinate the president. Mugabe’s critics linked the arrest with a previous statement by Sithole that he wanted to run for president. In the April 96 election, Mugabe received 93% of the vote, but the voting percentage dropped to 32%. because several opposition parties had questioned the electoral system.
In August, public servants went on strike after their real wages had dropped 40% over the previous 6 years. The government initially offered to raise wages 9%, but the strike was only put off when the government agreed to a 20% pay rise. In 97, 62% of the population lived below the poverty line – against 25% in the 1980s.
Following increases in basic consumer prices, thousands of residents of the capital’s suburbs in January 98 began looting shops and supermarkets. The looting was stopped only when the military was deployed. The price hikes were apparently a consequence of the November devaluation of Zimbabwe’s currency, but Information Minister Chen Mutengvende accused the business owners, predominantly of European descent, of raising prices unbridled, thus provoking a revolt against the government. Unemployment of more than 45% had already created a significant risk of a social explosion months in advance.
Due. pressure from, on the one hand, its own members, and on the other the EU and the IMF threatening to withdraw loans to Zimbabwe, the government took a staggering stance on the issue of confiscation of 1,500 white landowners’ property. During the period January to March, the proposal was repeatedly approved and rejected. In June, some landless former ZANU partisans occupied 6 land estates east of Harare, and in June the government announced a new plan to secure 100,000 families for $ 5 million. acres of land to be purchased from the white landowners. The IMF and the EU recognized the need for land reform, but still rejected the plan they considered ambitious and decided to support only a two-year pilot project. Mugabe once again changed his position and in November ordered the expropriation of 841 white country properties.settlers.
In October, a special tax on salaries of 3% was introduced, which according to. the government was to be used to treat AIDS patients, who make up 25% of the country’s adult population. Still, the tax was seen by many as an attempt to fund the 11,000 troops that Mugabe had sent in support of Laurent Kabila’s regime in the Democratic Congo.
According to Countryaah.com, the population of Zimbabwe in 1996 was 11,410,603, ranking number 64 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.810% yearly, and the population density was 29.4965 people per km2.