In Summary
  • Many Zimbabweans have left the country in search of work in South Africa.

  • In December 2015, Mr Mugabe was endorsed once more as the ruling party candidate for the 2018 presidential elections but media continue to speculate about a potential successor.

The struggle for independence, land and power runs throughout Zimbabwe's history. Veteran President Robert Mugabe has dominated the country's political scene since independence from Britain in 1980.

Landlocked, the southern African country is bordered by Zambia in the north, Mozambique in the east, Botswana in the west and South Africa in the south.

Once the bread basket of the region, since 2000 Zimbabwe has struggled to feed its own people due to severe droughts and the effects of a land reform programme which saw the seizure of white-owned farms redistributed to landless black Zimbabweans which led to sharp falls in production.

ECONOMY

Cash-strapped and impoverished, Zimbabwe's economy faces severe challenges. Unemployment and poverty are endemic and political strife and repression commonplace.

Many Zimbabweans have left the country in search of work in South Africa.

Veteran leader Robert Mugabe has presided over Zimbabwe for the last three decades.

Born in 1924 in the village of Kutama, south-west of the capital Harare, he was educated by Jesuits and went on to become a teacher before joining the liberation struggle.

He became a key figure in the fight for independence from white minority-rule as leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union and spent 11 years in prison before becoming Zimbabwe's first post-independence prime minister in 1980.

2018 ELECTIONS

In December 2015, Mr Mugabe was endorsed once more as the ruling party candidate for the 2018 presidential elections but media continue to speculate about a potential successor.

All broadcasters in Zimbabwe, and many of the main newspapers, toe the government line.

Its draconian media laws require journalists to be accredited by a state-appointed commission. Police regularly arrest and deport foreign journalists for working in the country without clearance.

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