Zimbabwe By | Sunday, September 9   2012 at  15:12

Full Name
Republic of Zimbabwe
Origins of the name: Zimbabwe literally means "House of Stone." This name comes from the 800-year-old stone ruins left by the Shona people

Formerly: Southern Rhodesia

Current Leader
Robert Gabriel Mugabe

Overview
Present day Zimbabwe was the site of a large and complex African civilisation (Mwene Mutapa empire) in the 13th and 14th centuries
It was populated by descendants of the Bantu tribes, who had migrated from the north around the 10th century
Heavily influenced by cultural impact of the British
Former British colony
Independent since April 18, 1980, from the British


Form of Government
Parliamentary Democracy
Head of State is the executive President
President is elected every five years (current president has been in power since independence with no term limits)

Government Structure
President, Prime Minister, Bicameral parliament

Military Statistics
Manpower fit for military service: 2,634,959
Expenditures: 3.8% of GDP per year
Branches: Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF): Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)

Former Rulers
11th - 15th Century AD Mapungubwe Kingdom
19th century AD The Ndebele Kingdom
AD 1871-1891 Cecil Rhodes
1970–1976 Clifford Dupont
1976–1978 John Wrathall
1978-1979 Henry Everard
1980-1987 Canaan Sodindo Banana
1987-present Robert Gabriel Mugabe

Capital
Harare
Altitude: 1,492m
Population: 1.5 million

Population
Size: 12,754,000 (2011)
Life expectancy: 45.8 years
Gender make-up: Male - 51.50 %, Female - 48.50 %

GDP per capita
$500 (2011)

$500 (2010)

Geography
Area: 1,219,090sqkm
Land Boundaries: Botswana 813km, Mozambique 1,231km, South Africa 225km, Zambia 797km

Major Languages
English, Shona, Ndebele

Religious Portfolio
Syncretic 50% (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs), Christian 25%, Indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%

National Make-up
African 98% (Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, other 2%), Mixed and Asian 1%, White less than 1%

Natural Resources
Coal, Chromium ore, Asbestos, Gold, Nickel, Copper, Iron ore, Vanadium, Lithium, Tin, Platinum group metals

Main exports
Platinum, Cotton, Tobacco, Gold, Ferroalloys, Textiles

Land Use
Arable land: 8.24%
Permanent crops: 0.33%
Other: 91.43% (2005)

Currency
Zimbabwean dollar

Dialling Code
+263

Internet Code
.zw

Transport
Main Airport: Harare International Airport located 12km from Harare city
Main Port: landlocked

Modern issues


Environmental
Deforestation
Soil erosion and land degradation
Air and water pollution
The black rhinoceros herd - once the largest concentration of the species in the world - has been significantly reduced by poaching
Poor mining practices have led to toxic waste and heavy metal pollution

Political
There has been an on-going political crisis between the main parties in the unity government: President Mugabe’s party, Zanu PF, and the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai.

Economic
Zimbabwe’s finance minister projected a 9% growth in the economy in 2012 “driven by stronger farm output and mine exports”, however, Zimbabwe continues to struggle to feed its population, and though the finance minster said food imports have dropped, the county is so cash-strapped that its election agency said it did not have money for the constitutional referendum

Mugabe’s decision to invoke an equity law which would transfer majority stakes to local blacks has caused anxiety among foreign investors and added to the divisions in the power-sharing government

Social
China’s good relations with Mugabe’s government has led to the construction of an orphanage for 1,000 children

Human rights abuses; cases where members of MDC party are arrested and tortured are on the rise
Censored press
Workers’ rights issues, low wages
Waterborne diseases outbreaks like cholera as a result of poor sanitation

Foreign Policy issues
Botswana built electric fences and South Africa has placed military along the border to stem the flow of thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing to find work and escape political persecution; Namibia has supported, and in 2004 Zimbabwe dropped objections to plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognising a short, but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary in the river.
The West slapped targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe


The Major Conflicts

1st Chimurenga (Shona -Ndebele uprising)
When: (1896-1897)
Who: Shona-Ndebele vs. British
Why: Revolt against colonial rule and labour
Outcome: British troops suppressed the natives and recaptured the territory

2nd Chimurenga War (Rhodesian Bush Bar)
When: (1966-1979) guerrilla type war mounted by native chiefs against colonialists
Who: Shona/Ndebele (led by Robert Mugabe in 1974) vs British
Why: Quest for freedom, human rights and self governance
Outcome: Led to the end of white-minority rule in Rhodesia to the de-facto independence
of Zimbabwe. Culminated in the Lancaster House Constitutional Agreement in 1979.

Third Chimurenga War
When: 2000
Who: Zanu PF administration vs. White farmers
Why: Colonial social and economic structures remained largely intact in the years after the end of Rhodesian rule, white farmers were still owning most of the country's arable land
Outcome: Mugabe administration seizing the land and redistributing it to native Zimbabweans. Has led to slap of sanctions and the West calling for Mugabe’s resignation

What to see?
Victoria Falls
The Great Zimbabwe National Monument
The mighty Zambezi River
Larvon Bird Gardens
Khami Ruins

Sports
Popular Sports
Soccer
Golf
Cricket
Rugby
Wrestling
Boxing
Netball (women's)
Tennis
Horse racing

Sportsmen and Sportswomen
Benjamin "Benjani" Mwaruwari: Played for Manchester City FC(England) as a striker
Bruce Grobbelaar: Goalkeeper, who played for the national team, but most notably for Liverpool FC from 1980 to 1994

Quirks
Grace Mugabe’s is fond of her lavish shopping sprees and there has also been an incident where she punched a journalist