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.
According to COUNTRYAAH, 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 be rescheduled.
The EU extended its sanctions against the country with another year of dissatisfaction with the sluggish government cooperation.
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 countermeasures.
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.