Brief History of Zimbabwe

According to localcollegeexplorer, the oldest population of Zimbabwe is the people of the Khoisan race (Bushmen). They were supplanted by the ancestors of modern Shona, who came from the north in the beginning. 2nd millennium AD In the 12th century in the east of present-day Zimbabwe, the state of Monomotapa arose, which existed for several centuries. In the 16th century the Portuguese tried to capture it, but were defeated. In the 17th century Monomotapa broke up. In 1837, a detachment of the militant South African Zulu state, created by Chaka, invaded the territory of Zimbabwe from the south. His commander Moselekatse conquered territory in the southwest of Zimbabwe and founded his own state. The conquered tribes were assimilated by the Zulus – the Ndebele people were formed. In 1890 the whole country was captured by the British and became the British colony of Rhodesia. A stream of white settlers poured into Rhodesia, driving Africans from the most fertile lands.

In 1923, Great Britain granted Rhodesia the status of a self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia, and only white citizens received self-government. The local parliament adopted in the 1930s. a number of racist laws that consolidated the lack of rights of the indigenous population. The first African political organization, the African National Congress of Southern Rhodesia (ANC), arose in 1934.

The rise of the anti-colonial struggle came after World War II. It was headed by the ANC, which was banned in 1959. The Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZA-PU), formed in 1962, became the successor to the banned ANC. in strengthening racist legislation. The main political requirement in con. 1950s – early. 1960s was the dissolution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland created by Great Britain, and in 1963 it was liquidated. In 1963, a split occurred in the underground ZAPU, and a group emerged from it to create the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).

In 1965, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia, J. Smith, introduced a state of emergency in the country, and then proclaimed the independence of Rhodesia. The entire world community regarded this act as illegal, and in 1966 the UN imposed sanctions against Rhodesia. ZAPU, and then ZANU, began an armed struggle to overthrow the racist regime. In 1976, both parties agreed to coordinate their actions within the country and on the international arena, creating the Patriotic Front (PF).

The government of the white minority was able to resist the pressure of internal and external forces for a long time thanks to the support of racist South Africa, but the situation worsened for it every year. In 1979, Smith made an attempt to give a more attractive appearance to his regime. After the abolition of the most odious racist laws and parliamentary elections with limited participation of Africans, the post of prime minister was given to an African, Bishop A. Muzorev. However, the puppet government stunt was condemned by the PF, the OAU and the UN, and Smith had no choice but to accept the British proposal for a conference with all parties to the Rhodesian conflict to consider granting independence to the colony.

Very difficult negotiations on the Constitution of Zimbabwe – that is the name Rhodesia was given – ended in a compromise. All citizens received the right to vote, but whites achieved a separate electoral curia and guaranteed representation in parliament (20 seats out of 100). The PF failed to include in the Constitution the right of Africans to return the land taken from them, but an agreement was reached to create a land redistribution fund to be funded by the UK, the government of Zimbabwe and international organizations.

In the general parliamentary elections held in 1980, the Patriotic Front won. Of the 80 seats reserved for Africans, ZANU received 57 and ZAPU 20. Three seats went to Muzorewa’s supporters. Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front won the 20 white seats.

On April 18, 1980, the independence of Zimbabwe was proclaimed. ZANU leader Robert Mugabe became the first prime minister. Mugabe proclaimed a policy of national reconciliation. He included the leaders of ZAPU and two whites in the government. However, in 1981–84, tension increased between the two main parties, ZANU and ZAPU, which threatened civil war. The parliamentary elections of 1985 did not significantly change the alignment of political forces and contributed to the stabilization of the internal political situation. Negotiations began between ZA-NU and ZAPU, which ended in 1988 with their merger into a single party, called ZANU-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). R. Mugabe became its president. In 1987, amendments to the Constitution were passed that abolished the guaranteed representation of whites in parliament, liquidating the upper house of parliament and turning Zimbabwe from a parliamentary to a presidential republic. The president became the head of state and executive power. December 31, 1987 Mugabe became officially President of Zimbabwe.

Since 1988, the manifestation of dissatisfaction of the urban population with unemployment, a decline in living standards, and corruption begins. The government responded to unrest, strikes, revelations in the press with repressions. Anti-government speeches did not stop after the parliamentary (1990) and presidential (1992) elections, which were won by ZANU-PF and Mugabe. In 1992, 10,000 students were expelled from universities. To bring down the wave of discontent, the authorities announced measures to accelerate the process of redistribution of land. Parliament passed the Land Acquisition Act (1992), giving the government the right to take, for compensation, unprofitable farms from their owners for land distribution to landless Africans. The implementation of the law caused a series of scandals, as it turned out that most of the nationalized farms were transferred to non-peasants, but to major party and government officials. Almost all opposition parties boycotted the 1995 elections, Mugabe became president again, and ZANU-PF won 118 out of 120 seats in parliament.

The next term of Mugabe’s rule (1996-2002) was marked by serious mistakes in economic policy, the flourishing of corruption, the growth of popular discontent, which led Zimbabwe to the brink of an economic disaster and an acute political crisis. After the election, Mugabe formed a new government, creating 13 new ministries, increasing the already largest expenditure item (public administration) in a chronically deficit budget. Fixed prices were introduced for the purchase and sale of grain, which led to a reduction in corn crops and lines for bread. Mugabe rejected the recommendation of the Minister of Finance to devalue the Zimbabwean dollar, and the result was a reduction in tobacco exports, which brought the country the main foreign exchange earnings. In 1998, there were demonstrations by veterans of the liberation war demanding land or work. It revealed, that the ministerial fund set up to assist them has been plundered. It was used for the construction of their houses by ministers, Mugabe’s wife, and high-ranking officials. Inflation, the introduction of new taxes led to unprecedented forms of protest in the country – food riots, when the crowd rushed to rob stores. The first of these riots coincided with the passage in Parliament of a bill for financial benefits for the president, vice presidents and their families.

In 1998, the president announced a new draft constitution that would, among other things, allow land to be taken from farmers without any redemption. In a plebiscite held in February 2000, 54.6% of those who voted rejected the draft Constitution. After such a serious defeat on the eve of the elections, Mugabe decided to use the land issue to maintain power. In February 2000, Africans seized several white farms, as it turned out later, at the instigation of the ruling party. When the court declared the takeover illegal, Mugabe gave a speech in which he called the white farmers “enemies of the state.” He called on the people to restore historical justice, promising to give land to 1 million people. The mass expulsion of whites from their possessions began, the taking away of farm property, several farmers and the Africans who worked for them were killed.

In June 2000 parliamentary elections were held. Foreign observers were not allowed to attend. The opposition presented documents on vote-rigging in 37 constituencies. Many of the documents were recognized by the Supreme Court as true, but the election results were not annulled. ZANU-PF barely won a majority – 62 out of 120 seats in parliament.

Presidential elections were scheduled for March 2002. In con. 2001, all opposition parties reached an agreement to nominate a single presidential candidate – trade unionist M. Tsvangrai. During the election campaign, opposition rallies were dispersed, and a criminal case was opened against Tsvangrai – he was accused of preparing an assassination attempt on the president. Mugabe won the election again. The opposition protested their result. The EU assessed the actions of the authorities as a violation of democracy and imposed restrictive sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The damage caused to the country by Mugabe’s policy in 1999-2001 resulted in a decline in GDP, triple-digit inflation, and an acute shortage of goods. In 2002, the situation in the country remained tense, and there was a threat of famine.

Brief History of Zimbabwe