It was over twenty years ago when Zimbabwe received its independence, and the country had likelihood to become an African success story: “good soil, lots of mineral resources and a new government that spoke of modernization and reform.” Although today Zimbabwe looks to be caught in a downward fall in economics and politics (TIME).“In April 1980, the former British colony of Southern Rhodesia was internationally recognized as the independent state of Zimbabwe. The country's new government was headed by the Zimbabwe National African Union-Patriotic Front(ZANU-PF), a group of African nationalists that had fought for a different kind of independence from that declared by Ian Smith's white regime in 1965”(TIME).
Robert Mugabe, ZANU-PF's former leader, became the first head of
Zimbabwe, calling for "a new spirit that must unite and not divide." Although while Zimbabwe had a fresh name and a fresh leader, it still had its former problems.The racial inequalities induced by white rule continued in the feud between black and white incomes and black Zimbabweans wanted their fair share of the chief farming territory that had been previously owned by the white settlers from the
1890’s till today (TIME).
Zimbabwe went bankrupted after the long war for freedom and the
economy was even weakened by the huge emigration of Europeans and a drought in the early 1980’s (TIME). The slow pace land reform led to tension in Matabeleland in southwestern Zimbabw and Zanu. But now, they were rivals and
the tensions between them and their ethnic groups increased as the government
accused ZAPU's leader, Joshua Nkomo, of induced violence in the region. The
government began a military campaign against the dissidents that claimed
thousands of lives.
In 1987, Mugabe and Nkomo resolved there feud, agreeing to merge the
two factions into a single-party Marxist-Leninist government (TIME ). Mugabe
became Zimbabwe's first executive President and the larger ZANU-PF went on to
win the 1990 elections. After a decade in office Mugabe had come closer to his
vision of a one-party socialist rule, and he demonstrated this by cracking down on student protests in the early 1990s(TIME).
Constant food and fuel shortages, inflation, unemployment, corruption,
government inertia and the stalled program of land resettlement sparked
widespread discontent in 1992. Another drought in Southern Africa added to the
country's economic difficulties (TIME). Despite the continuing problems,
ZANU-PF won a fourth general election in 1995 and Mugabe was returned to
office as President in 1996. His government was not popular, although no other
opposing party was able to pose a serious challenge.
Mugabe is still holding onto power, perhaps by holding elections in May.
But he presides over a country in disorder. “After 20 years in power, Mugabe has
delivered neither the economic stability or the social unity he promised when he
first took office. The country is still plagued by chronic shortages of food and fueland white farmers live in fear that their farms will be seized. Mugabe's promise of "a new spirit that must unite and not divide" seems as distant as ever” (TIME).
Shields, Elinor. Mar 2000, TIME. http://www.time.com/time/europe/