Zimbabwe. It sparked doubt in government cooperation
between rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai. They both sometimes gave contradictory
information about the decisions the government had made. In
October, a frustrated Tsvangirai described the president as
a "traitor" who constantly made decisions on his own, and at
the end of the year, he sued Mugabe for having appointed
provincial governors without consulting him.
Zimbabwe has a population of 14.44 million (2018). The work of drafting a new constitution, which was the
main task of the unifying government when it took office in
2009, made hardly any progress during the year. In January,
the committee that would lead the work of consulting the
public suspended the process, both for lack of money and for
disagreement about how the work should be conducted. When
the public meetings got underway in the second half, they
were so often disturbed by riots between rival camps, or by
direct attacks by Mugabe supporters, that the process had to
The EU extended its sanctions against the country with
another year of dissatisfaction with the sluggish government
A Harare court in January dismissed a decision by the
SADC Regional Cooperation Organization's 2008 court ruling
that white farmers who had been evicted from their farms
would be allowed to take them back. Earlier, Mugabe had said
he ignored SADC's ruling. A South African court then decided
to confiscate a property in Cape Town owned by the
Zimbabwean state and to transfer ownership of the volatile
Zimbabwean white farmers as some financial compensation.
A law that forces foreign-owned companies above a certain
value to sell at least 51 percent of their shares to
"domestic" Zimbabweans within five years came into force in
March. Economic assessors were critical of the law, which
was seen as a continuation of the forced recovery of white
farmers' holdings in the early 2000s. These measures are
considered the beginning of Zimbabwe's economic collapse.
The so-called Kimberley Process, which oversees world
trade in diamonds, in July allowed Zimbabwe a limited sale
of stones from the Marange field. Sales had been temporarily
halted following reports of army abuse against the miners
and residents of the area. However, one of the world's
largest industry companies, the American Rapaport Group,
refused to deal with the Zimbabwean diamonds and criticized
the Kimberley Process for insufficient control of conditions
in the Marange field.
In April, Bishop Abel Muzorewa passed away. For a short
period of 1979-80, he led a transitional government in the
country temporarily named Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. In the first
free elections of 1980, his party got only three of
Parliament's 100 seats.
Faced with mounting pressure from the West and from
neighboring southern Africa, fearing the consequences for
their own economies of the Zimbabwe crisis, Mugabe decided
in September to put an end to the illegal land occupations
against important UK financial aid to be provided to the
white landowners who had their land expropriated. Foreign
companies remained reluctant to invest in the country,
causing unemployment to rise and by the end of the year
inflation was up 70%.
The government had already banned the broadcasting of TV
debates to prevent public criticism of the government, and
in January 2002 it tabled a bill entitled: Access to
information and privacy. The purpose was to close the mouth
of the independent press and to prevent foreign journalists
from working in the country up to the presidential election
approaching. However, national and international pressure
caused the government to pull the bill under the pretext
that it should be renegotiated and then resubmitted shortly.
For some analysts, it was a sign that Mugabe bowed to the
United States, the British Commonwealth and the EU
threatening sanctions against the country.
The March 2002 presidential election gave Mugabe 56.2% of
the vote, while opposition candidate Morgan Tsavangirai of
the MDC got 41.9%. However, the opposition, independent
observers and the international community declared the
choice marked by fraud. A few weeks later, the Commonwealth
decided to exclude Zimbabwe for a 1-year term, citing a
report by the association's teams of election observers,
which concluded that the election had been marked by a high
level of violence, politically motivated by the sitting
government and that "the situation in Zimbabwe was not
allowed a sufficient and free expression for voters ». The
exclusion decision would be reviewed after 12 months, after
examining the "progress" that had been made in the country.
The EU and the US declared that in 2002 they would adopt
strict sanctions against Zimbabwe. Denmark decided to close
its embassy in Harare and Switzerland decided to close any
accounts belonging to members of the government of Zimbabwe,
and at the same time deny them admission.
In August, 3,000 white landlords were told to leave their
lands, and in September Parliament passed a number of laws
that accelerated the expropriation of white landowners' land
with a view to ending the "land revolution" within a month.
2,500 landlords decided to defy the government and remain on
their estates. This gave rise to a number of serious
clashes. Inflation rose sharply at the prospect of
sanctions, prompting the trade union movement and the MDC to
resume opposition work despite the government's repressive
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made declared in November
that expropriations had ended, with the result that 35,000
acres had been withdrawn from the white estates.