Zimbabwe. The political year was dominated by the July
presidential and parliamentary elections, which once again
became a victory for incumbent President Robert Mugabe and
his party ZANUPF, which has ruled the country since 1980.
At the beginning of the year, a new draft constitution
was tabled by the President and the country's Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, who have formally shared power over the
last five years. In March, a referendum was held in which
95% of residents voted in favor of the change in the law,
which, among other things, limits the presidential power.
Although the new constitution does not allow a president
to govern the country for more than two terms of office for
a total of ten years, Mugabe, who has held the post for the
past 33 years, could stand in the presidential election at
the end of July. The reason was that the law did not apply
Prior to the election, 1st TV was launched, the first
independent TV channel aimed at a Zimbabwean audience.
channel is broadcast via satellite from South Africa as
independent media is banned by Zimbabwe's regime.
Just as in the 2008 elections, Mugabe's main challenger
became the incumbent Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who
belongs to the largest opposition party Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). Although many showed their support
for Tsvangirai and openly criticized Mugabe before the
election, the election results were once again to the
advantage of the incumbent president. The day after the
election, the State Election Commission announced that
Mugabe had won 61% of the vote against 34% for Tsvangirai.
In addition, according to the Commission, Mugabe's party
ZANU-PF had received 158 out of a total of 210 seats in
The election result was strongly questioned by both
domestic election observers and foreign assessors who
testified to widespread electoral fraud. Among other things,
there were reports that a large number of voters had been
denied voting while others were allowed to do so several
times. In addition, according to the opposition party MDC, a
large number of voters had been voted to vote for Mugabe and
ZANU-PF. As a protest against the victory, the opposition
announced that they would contest the election exit in court
and end its cooperation with the government.
Despite the many signs of election fraud, Robert Mugabe
was sworn in as president for the seventh time in
mid-August. Attending the ceremony were around 40 world
leaders, while MDC boycotted the event. Significant actors
such as the African Union (AU) and the South African
Cooperation Organization (SADC) had approved the elections,
while criticism from the European Union (EU), among others,
In an effort to strengthen state power and continue the
expropriation of white landowners' land without financial
compensation, Mugabe proposed a constitutional amendment,
which was put to a referendum in January 2000, however it
was rejected by 55% of the electorate. The result was seen
as a punishment for the government's inability to reduce
unemployment above 50% or inflation above 70%.
In March, 420 white goods were occupied by former ZANU
partisans. The landowners' association accused Mugabe of
organizing the occupations to act as a smokescreen for the
failed land distribution. At the same time, the association
pointed out that the government itself owns DKK 2 million.
acres of arable land that is not included in land reform but
is fallow. Mugabe replied that the country did not have the
funds to divide the land into smaller plots or to secure the
necessary infrastructure in the form of water and roads.
The violent occupations of the white estates continued in
the following months, and dozens of people were killed.
Lender organizations and countries such as the United States
and the United Kingdom increased pressure on the government
to stop it from expropriating. In May, as part of his
party's electoral program, Mugabe declared that the country
should not succumb to international pressure and that
expropriations would not be halted or abolished. "This land
is ours and we are taking it," the president declared.
A few weeks before the election, the government decided
to drastically reduce the number of local election observers
from the Commission to monitor the election. The number was
reduced from 16,000 to 4,000, equivalent to just 1 observer
for each of the country's 4,000 polling stations. Of the 500
foreign election observers who arrived in the country, only
200 were authorized as observers. Yet the ruling party
gained just a majority in the June 2000 elections. Mugabe's
party achieved 62 seats against 57 for the opposition, which
was unified in the Democratic Change Movement. A small
independent party conquered a place. Mugabe and his party
had ruled virtually without opposition since 1980.
In October, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi,
Mauritius, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe set up a Free Trade
Area under the designation of the East African Common Market
(COMESA). The signatory countries pledged to allow educated
labor to move freely across the borders of 2004, the
generally free movement of inhabitants of 2014 and a
currency union of 2025.
In 2001, Mugabe became the target of numerous allegations
of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe - including violations of
freedom of expression. British media and various NGOs
pointed out that lawyers and journalists had been forced to
leave the country and that several opposition politicians
had been murdered. The Congolese commission investigating
the assassination of Laurent Kabila in January 2001
identified Zimbabwe and Angola as the ideologically
responsible for the assassination.