Zimbabwe. Concerns and frustration over the difficult economic situation in the country were expressed. In mid-January, a three-day general strike was announced and demonstrations were held across the country. The protests degenerated in their places in violence and looting. A few days earlier, a doubling of the gasoline price had been announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. At least 17 people were killed and hundreds injured when police and military attacked the protesters. The police and security forces were also charged with torture and rape. Over 1,100 people were arrested and brought to trial, in many cases without their defense attorneys being able to get involved in the case. Among the arrested were leaders of the Zimbabwe Trade Union Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), President Peter Mutasa and Secretary-General Japhet Moyo. They were prosecuted for undermining activities. By the end of the month, about 100 lawyers were demonstrating to restore legal certainty.
In February, the domestic currency Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) was launched, also known as zim dollars. This was achieved by combining the physical and electronic variance of so-called bond dollars. When the Zimbabwean dollar lost in 2009 in principle all its value, foreign currencies, mainly the US dollar and the South African rand, began to be used as means of payment. Bond dollars were introduced in 2016 with a formal value equivalent to US $ 1. Due to high inflation, the real value was quickly eroded. In June, the use of foreign currencies was banned, but the inflation problem remained. Data in October 2019 showed that inflation was 350%. Therefore, a new generation of zim dollars was launched in November.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of ZI in general and in geography as Zimbabwe in particular.
However, the country struggled with even deeper problems. The economy continued to shrink during the year and there was a shortage of basic commodities, electricity and fuel. In the half-year budget presented in August, increases in electricity prices were announced by 200-400% with the aim of reducing demand. At that time, power outages had been planned for up to 18 hours per day for several months. Protests against the difficult living conditions continued to be organized, prompting the authorities to ban demonstrations. The difficult situation was further exacerbated by a prolonged drought that affected not only people but also animals. In November it was reported that over 200 elephants died due to water shortages in the Mana Pools and Hwange National Parks. The drought caused the authorities in some cities to turn off the water for much of the day.
In his annual speech to the nation in October, President Mnangagwa urged the people to be patient with the difficulties the country is going through. Mnangagwa took over as President when Robert Mugabe was deposed in November 2017. Mugabe had long been criticized for his undemocratic rule, but unfortunately the situation has not improved during Mnangagwa’s time in power. In August, Amnesty International criticized the president for mercilessly and systematically violating human rights since he won the 2018 presidential election.
Robert Mugabe died in September at a hospital in Singapore at the age of 95. He was buried in the courtyard of his house in the hometown of Kutama. The funeral was preceded by a dispute between the family and the government, which instead wanted the president’s remains to be placed in a mausoleum on National Heroes Acre in the capital Harare.
The crisis was exacerbated by a widespread cholera epidemic in the fall of 2009, which claimed more than 4,000 lives and led to the introduction of an emergency state. Before that, the government had revoked the aid organizations’ aid to operate in the country when they were accused of working for the opposition. Declining food production and drought led to about five million people needing food aid. Despite good crops in 2009, three million carpet allocations still needed, according to the UN. The economic situation also improved throughout the year, as several countries also expressed their willingness to resume aid to Zimbabwe.
As in the 2000 election, MDC was a real challenger to ZANU-PF again in 2005, when the relatively clear victory of the ruling party was far from explained by widespread violence against MDC, which was in many ways prevented from running a normal election campaign. At the same time, ZANU-PF maintained much of its traditionally strong support in the countryside. ZANU-PF achieved 59.6 percent of the vote, MDC 39.5 percent – and an even larger majority in the subsequent Senate election. After several years of economic and social crisis, ZANU-PF lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in the 2008 elections: MDC-led by Tsvangirai gained 42.9 percent of the vote and a breakout group, MDC-M led by Arthur Mutambara gained 8.4 percent – against ZANU-PF’s 45.9 percent. This election was also characterized by irregularities and violence against the opposition, which claimed to have won the election.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Zimbabwe in 2019 was 14,645,357, ranking number 74 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.430% yearly, and the population density was 37.8583 people per km2.