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Zimbabwe, officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Having survived Doomsday unharmed; due to good governance, it has grown to become the most stable nation in this region of Africa, and a model for other countries in developing with a low financial base as well as maintaining peace between different ethinicities in a nation.
Zimbabwe, in 1983, was a mostly stable country controlled by the Zimbabwe African National Union, with Robert Mugabe as Prime Minister. Having only become an independent country four years before the event of Doomsday, it was relatively stable and was growing steadily as demand for its exports increased internationally, while domestically there was high unrest in the largely Ndebele regions where a few hundred disgruntled former Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) combatants were waging armed banditry against the civilians in Matabeleland, to which the Fifth Brigade responding by killing civilians. Such unrest was beginning to threaten Zimbabwe's stable growth, which had steadily been growing since the elections in 1980.
However, with the onset of Doomsday, Zimbabwe faced the loss of its international markets as most countries in the northern hemisphere was wiped out. Fighting on both sides in what would come to be known as Gukurahundi ground to a halt as party leaders became at a loss of what to do next. Within the next few months countries all around Zimbabwe suffered high unrest and/or collapsed, and it became clear to all the major parties in the nation that there would need to be discussions to ensure the unrest in the nation did not lead onto civil war. As a result, on May 14, 1984, the Zimbabwe African National Union and Zimbabwe African People's Union came together to discuss a compromise. Both parties' main supporters had been destroyed in the engulfing fire of Doomsday, removing any international support they enjoyed and loss of international markets meant that domestic stability was more important than ever.
Almost immediately there were disagreements between both parties. Joshua Nkomo believed it would be more beneficial to the nation to have two parties which could help to counterbalance each other while Robert Mugabe had made it clear be believed two fellow socialist parties should come together to ensure further ethnic violence in the country did not take place. This point remained a cause for heated debate, until Nkomo finally agree to merge both parties to form the Patriotic Front. However, Nkomo was able to secure greater power for individual provinces, which allowed for the Ndebele to have greater power in their day to day running of their lives. The result was looked upon favourably, and Nkomo's popularity increased, while he took the position of Deputy Prime Minister. Other points were agreed on relatively easily, such as entering discussions with all parties over a constitutional convention along with outlawing all paramilitary groups to ensure the stability of the nation and the creation of a strong judiciary system to make sure corruption did not become a major problem.
With the creation of the Patriotic Front in the Unity Agreement of 1984, new laws were able to be passed through parliament with ease. Anti-corruption laws were signed into place by 1985 and a minimum wage was established for those in the education and legislative sectors, allowing for the safeguarding of workers in education and law. The government also put into place laws supporting the creation of a better health care system, in the hopes of preventing outbreaks of diseases such as cholera. However, the main focus was shifting economic focus into a more domestic role to make sure the economy did not collapse in the volatile state the world was in for a couple of years after Doomsday, and to ensure that Zimbabwe managed to get through the drought of the following years with no major impact.
With the country stable by 1985, elections were called as the nation once again took to the voting booths to vote for the governing party. With the two largest parties from the previous elections united under the Patriotic Front, it was clear from the outset that the Patriotic Front was going to win the election. In their promises to the people, they had announced a constitutional convention would take place to engage with the white population of Zimbabwe and discuss things such as land ownership and representation in parliament. With this announcement, many whites in Zimbabwe grew worried and began to feel as if they would soon get sidelined from a country they could not leave.
However, things were not as one sided as they seemed. After elections in 1980, it soon became clear to many that the Rhodesian Front, which re-branded itself into the Conservative Alliance of Zimbabwe following Doomsday, that focusing on mainly white politics would not be enough and a much more bi-racial move was required to keep the party involved in politics. While unity talks had been ongoing between ZANU and ZAPU, the RF had been running its own talks of party unity with Muzorewa's United African National Council after remaining party members urged Ian Smith to reconsider his stance following the catastrophic events of Doomsday. Following discussions, both parties agreed to merge and form the United Conservative Alliance of Zimbabwe, often referred to the Conservative Alliance, which would come to contest the election between the 1st and 2nd of July.
Although the Patriotic Front won 67 seats, the Conservative Alliance still managed to pick up 13 seats in the common roll, a surprisingly good performance considering both major parties from the previous election had united into one. However the party only managed to take nine of the 20 white roll seats, mainly due to Muzorewa becoming the face of the new party and Ian Smith seemingly sidelined, leading to a loss of trust in white voting areas. The Conservative Alliance became the new opposition party, yet many white voters believed they would never be properly represented by the party.
Mugabe did good on his promise, and in mid-1987 he invited major white business leaders and politicians as well as other parties in a constitutional convention. The aim was to create a fairer constitution for all peoples of Zimbabwe, and end white monopoly over land control while ensuring the white population was not antagonised. Having come from a nationalistic background, it was important to him that blacks received a more fair share of the resources of their own country and thus discussions soon began over land control and parliamentary representation among other issues. In what was to take over three months, the details of the new constitution were ironed out along with a political agreement with the white representatives. As a result of it, the following were put into place:
- White landowners will be reduced to 35% of Zimbabwe's total farmland, with the rest coming under the control of the government to be subsequently allocated and sold, but as a result will enjoy utilities at no cost until 2000 due to land reallocation.
- White farmers will enjoy tax exemptions for two generations in the following process; current landholder, and their heir, but are non-applicable to any land purchased after the exchanges, and aren't transferred.
- White roll will be removed from elections after 1995, with all MPs competing on the common role. However no less than 15% of MPs have to be white, and 15% of cabinet posts must be held by white MPs, until the size of the cabinet and commons are altered.
- White experts are involved in land reform program to ensure that new farms don't fail and the maximum number of successful farms can be established, while subsidies are provided for whites trying to start new businesses.
The move was unpopular with whites in Zimbabwe, and many felt forced into something they wanted no part over. Yet most understood the necessity of such actions and although disliking the move, mostly tolerated it. It would also allow for the creation of a future entrepreneurial class in Zimbabwe, spearheaded by white businesses initially.
While the politics of Zimbabwe seemed to have stabilised by the late 1980s, it borders were much more volatile. To the south of it, South Africa had descended into chaos by 1985 and a large number of migrants began to flow into the country, including a significant number of whites from areas such as Durban (around 40,000) which had descended into civil war between local factions. Whites also came from Moçambique - which too had collapsed, with over 50,000 whites and Portuguese creoles reported to have entered Zimbabwe - the complete white population of Moçambique. More than 100,000 blacks also entered the country, and it soon became clear to the government that border controls would need to be established to ensure Zimbabwe was not overrun by refugees. By 1986, the military had been ordered to forcibly turn back any trying to get into the nation, with permission given to fire is necessary. Almost draconian border controls were seen as a necessity in a nation barely managing stability after Doomsday and it was supported by all fronts.
When news broke that Zimbabwe may allow in white Afrikaner refugees on humanitarian grounds, many protests were held in response, led by the white communities within Salisbury who feared their entrance would destroy their culture and damage the fragile process of peace and integration that was taking place. Many had grown up on stories of the Afrikaner government sidelining the Anglos of South Africa and feared the potential of the situation to occur again in the future. Such a strong response forced the government to order Afrikaner refugees be turned away or shot at if they avoided cooperation.
Refugee camps for the white population were established in regions such as Salisbury, a predominantly white region, and many refugees soon became employed or bought some farmland in a bid to earn money and keep their families fed. Camps for blacks were established in cities such as Harare, and many campsites would go on to become slums as they city expanded in the coming years. The influx of refugees forced the nation to feed more mouths, especially in the first few years as Zimbabwe experienced a nuclear summer on top of the ongoing drought, but also allowed for cheap labour in various construction projects. As rain patterns stabilised and Zimbabwe experienced the return of regular rainfall, the impact of the refugees was negated and food production began to return to normal levels. These slums would eventually become part of the fabric of these cities and often be both a source of cheap labour and resentment from the locals.
Change in Governance
Although Mugabe and the Patriotic Front handled the post-Doomsday situation well, there was growing resentment in whites over the fact that they were seemingly being sidelined. This was coupled with the fact that for most blacks in the nation socialist programs had not greatly impacted them. Popular opinion was shifting against Mugabe as businesses began to feel that not enough was being done to encourage trading. The Conservative Alliance saw its chance and once again Ian Smith became the leader of the party. Having worked hard to gain respect within the black majority population, he was seen as a strong alternative to Mugabe and the Patriotic Front. He managed to regain support of almost all white MPs that had become estranged from his party in previous years, and as the elections of 1990 arrived, he managed to lead his party into the elections with a good shot at victory.
In what would come to be known as the closest and most polarised election in the history of Zimbabwe, both the Patriotic Front and Conservative Alliance went into the elections with strong support. Booths were open for three days from the 21st to the 23rd of March due to the high turnout of the voters - calculated to be around 82%. Most newspapers in the country stated that although the Conservative Alliance had managed to garner large support in the black population due their biracial focus, Mugabe's Patriotic Front would clinch it.
Thus, when the Conservative Alliance won the elections with 51 seats out of the 100 in parliament, shock waves were sent throughout Zimbabwe. The Patriotic Front faced a reduction in support, losing 20 seats in parliament and only managing 47 seats in parliament, with smaller parties taking the two seats. Ian Smith was seen waving triumphantly to the crowds as he attended his swearing in ceremony and once again took the position of Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. An initial wave of anti-white sentiment followed Ian Smith's election fearing a move back to white rule, but following his cabinet announcement containing only the required 15% of cabinet positions held by whites, this sentiment slowly died to be followed by an acceptance of Smith's claims to be working only for the betterment of Zimbabwe. This was helped with the appointment of Muzorewa to both the positions of Minister for Education and Home Minister, and was seen as many as a statement of the promise to follow through on a competent bi-racial government.
Many within the political class, and indeed in the nation as a whole feared Mugabe's response to the result of the election. Mugabe was quick to arrange a meeting with Smith, and although the newspapers could only guess at the contents of what was discussed, Mugabe left the meeting and then proceeded to give a graceful concession speech to the reporters gathered outside the offices of the Conservative Alliance. It seemed that the new situation present in the post-Doomsday world and a greater spirit of cooperation now present within the races had made Mugabe more secure in his belief that Zimbabwe would survive and continue to work toward a brighter future, and as his speech was disseminated through newspapers the nation breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Smith led Zimbabwe out of a self imposed isolation as the nation began to try to establish communication with survivor states in South Africa. Contact had been somewhat maintained with Zimbabwe's neighbours and some trading had even taken place, yet there was no major trade links with any border country. Smith began to change that, looking to open up new routes and markets to sell Zimbabwe's main produce of crops and help Zimbabwean economy expand. In response, Mugabe took to his role as the leader of the opposition with gusto - forming a formidable shadow cabinet in an attempt to hold the government accountable. It was also during this time that a key policy of the party would develop; its focus on education. With his origins in teaching, Mugabe was quick to attack the government on the lack of a plan in the field of education. Arguably, he seemed to have a greater impact on the field of education as leader of the opposition compared to when he was in government as he forced the Smith government to establish plans to streamline education and create a new unified curriculum for the nation.
Another important hallmark of the Smith government was the reorganisation of the armed forces. He spearheaded the reversal of political appointments present within the armed forces and recreated the balance of Shona and Ndebele commanders as was being pioneered before 1981. It was also under his tenure that the Ministry of Defence was created from the already existing Zimbabwe Defense Forces Headquarters created by Mugabe's government in 1987. Efforts were also made to expand the size and increase the quality of training in the Zimbabwe Staff College, with the British Military Assistance and Training Team that had been stranded in the nation post-doomsday given prominent positions to help train the next generation of Zimbabwean officers and to create a class of "new Zimbabwe" officers who put their tribal loyalties of Shona, Ndebele or Anglo aside and held allegiance only to the nation of Zimbabwe. In essence, this was nothing more than formalising their current role, but with the additional caveat of military authority and incorporation into the Zimbabwean chain of command.
Under pressure from the opposition, more schools were built along with teaching colleges to ensure a steady stream of teaching professionals. This was combined with the focus on trying to change the attitude of the populace toward marriage, specifically reduce child marriages through highlighting the role of education as a worthwhile alternative, especially for girls. Here, both Mugabe and Smith agreed and were often seen giving joint speeches on the importance of this effort. Alongside the teaching colleges, agricultural colleges were also constructed to educate the new class of landowners on proper farming methods and land management. The latter did lead to some resentment as many proud new owners hesitated to listen to their predominantly white teachers; current and former farmers who had found employment in colleges. Here, too, Mugabe played a key role in soothing tempers and egos of both the black students and white staff.
It was, thus, almost a given that Mugabe would be back at the helm of the nation; having spent his time in opposition effectively visiting regions and drumming up support. In a major surprise, polls conducted by newspapers showed as much as 15% support for Mugabe within the Anglo population due to his efforts, although the number was usually closer to the 10% mark and the final percentage of white votes to him in the election standing at 8.9%.
A Triumphant Return, A New Crisis
The elections of June, 1995 heralded the return of Robert Mugabe's Patriotic Front. Although, by all accounts managing to have a successful tenure as Prime Minister, Ian Smith ran a lackluster re-election campaign, lacking the campaigning spirit present within Mugabe and his supporters. Claiming 57 seats, Mugabe returned as Prime Minister for his third term. This included picking up white roll seat in Harare, in what would be a major upset to the Conservative Alliance and give the Patriotic Front its first ever white MP. Many newspapers expressed hope that this could be the start of a new chapter in race relations within the nation, although such reporting would be a bit premature for the time. There was, however, no denying that democracy was beginning to become entrenched within the nation - with the third successful election carried out.
However, a crisis was soon to grip the nation, and the new government - the HIV epidemic. Although having known of the virus, Doomsday had meant the nation had closed its borders as it tried to survive and had indirectly slowed the spread of the disease drastically. This had meant the issue had become somewhat forgotten about by both the government and the people, although not by the medical apparatus as they dealt with cases reported. A large number of the cases began to appear as medical education and clinics became more widespread across the nation, and the matter soon spread and reached a crisis point. Mugabe and his government were unsure how to handle the issue, and in a bid to push politics to one side invited the leaders of the opposition to meet and try to discuss a solution to this. Top medical personnel too were invited in what would be a wide-ranging discussion behind closed doors.
It was clear that Zimbabwe lacked the resources or the facilities to treat this disease; the government needed a different solution. Prevention and quarantine were the only two real viable options available to the nation, and a public information campaign was going to be needed to prevent the spread of this disease. Although attitudes had grown more liberal over the last decade or so, Zimbabwe remained a conservative and religious nation and it was obvious that even though the church provided a good opportunity to spread information, the topics needed to be covered we going to be a problem.
Mugabe thus made the fateful decision of spending what spare surplus the nation had managed to gather into training up an army of nurses and professionals to try to contain the problem. The church would be used to emphasise that this new disease was no punishment from god, and the medical staff were on the side of the angels doing god's work. Along with this, the church would play the role of accepting people coming forward with the problems and sending them on the way to the new field clinics that would soon be popping up across the nation. On this front, Shadow Education Minister Abel Muzorewa would take the lead, using his influence and connections with the various Christian organisations within the nation to try to proceed with a united response. Knowing the dissemination of crucial information throughout the population, a multi-pronged effort was to be needed.
The leaders were quick to realise that the sexual component of the disease spread would be a tricky topic, and thus different methods would be used among the population. It also highlighted the need for proper sexual education, something which would prove to be a major stumbling block. For the youth still in school, sexual education would now become part of the curriculum with the subject being taught by nurses trained on how to teach, along with raising the awareness of HIV/AIDS. Of course, this would include a strong focus on abstinence until marriage and only having sexual relations with your spouse - but crucially would provide the information needed for an effective sexual education program.
For adults, there would have to be different approaches. Those within range of a school could be given the same sort of sexual education, with a pastor or vicar on hand to assure it was safe to know all this information and to encourage the single adults present to join in holy matrimony and not to pursue relations outside wedlock. Those without access to a school building may have to be called at community gathering locations such as churches or community fields to be educated. Another crucial aspect of this would be to present information to smaller groups of people, instead of the community as a whole to ensure better uptake of knowledge and to reduce any peer or societal pressure to disregard this information. The government also saw a golden opportunity to use these programs to help literacy among those who could not read or write. Zimbabwe historically had been a nation with one of the highest levels of literacy, standing at 78% in 1982. In the last 13 years, this had grown to bear 90%. However, there remained places and people who lacked the ability and this virus education drive gave an opportunity for literacy classes to be run alongside.
The last major component would be to change the image of how the virus spread. Many had previously referred it to the "gay plague", and for there to be a lasting change, a media campaign would be needed, to highlight the fact the virus also spread through heterosexual couples. Due to the support needed from the church, this would of course highlight the dangers present to your spouse and your children if you were to sleep around and not be faithful and of course some pastors would call this a response of god to people not being faithful, but in large part this too would have a positive impact. Ads in newspapers of "keep them safe, get tested" with a picture of either a mother or a father with children would become commonplace.
Zimbabwe is a Westminster-style parliamentary system, a legacy of it's past as a colony of the British Empire. Before the year 2000, the Zimbabwean electorate was divided up into 80 common roll seats and 20 white roll seats, but with the constituency restructuring of 1996, these were dissolved and constituency borders were reorganised, giving the parliament it's current makeup of 121 seats.
Dominated by two parties, these are the Patriotic Front or Patriots, and the Conservative Alliance or the Alliance respectively. These parties embody Zimbabwean socialism and Zimbabwean conservatism as can be seen by their track records in their time as government.
Very strong economy, based on resource extraction and agriculture. Has a very strong light manufacturing industrial base and a growing heavy manufacturing industry. International trade is now making up an increasing portion of their economy with efforts in Mozambique to create stability and growth beginning to pay off, allowing for revenue from investments in Mozambique to begin coming into Zimbabwean coffers.
Has access to the sea through Mozambique, one of the ports currently under a 99-year lease which is has lead to a booming emerging port city and growth in Mozambique itself.
Also has significant relations with Zambia, with significant investment in Zambian extraction industry as well as decent trade balance in regards to food.
Has decent energy production due to deals with neighbours which supply the nation with coal. Has done heavy work in completely electrifying its railways to allow for coal to be only used for energy generation.
May also potentially have a synthetic fuel industry but this is a push.
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces were set up by unifying three insurrectionist forces – the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA), the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), and the Rhodesian Security Forces (RSF) – after the Second Chimurenga and Zimbabwean independence in 1980. The integration period saw the formation of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) as separate entities under the command of Rtd General Solomon Mujuru and Air Marshal Norman Walsh who retired in 1982, and was replaced by Air Marshal Azim Daudpota who handed over command to Rtd Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai in 1985.
Military post DD has a rich history. Intervened in late stage of Mozambique civil war and put both sides to peace. Works with Zambian forces to the north to help streamline defense issues in the region. Has managed to create a successful small arms and light military vehicle industry for its army. Maintains its airforce but indigenous aircraft production remains a major challenge. However, by now definitely has the technical and manufacturing base to fully refit and maintain their aircraft fleet.
The military also plays a massive role in conservation.
Zimbabwe fields a strong and competitive cricket team. Although initially beginning as a sport with a following within the white minority, early attempts by the Alliance to introduce and spread the sport among the populace when building a bi-racial coalition lead to an increase in the popularity of the the sport among the majority of the nation. Under both Smith and Mugabe, cricket was given an emphasis as both men were fans of the sport; Mugabe was said to have never missed a domestic game played within Zimbabwe. Such support has lead it to become the main summer sport of the nation, frequently rivalling football in popularity, support and funding. Today, the national team stands as a statement of the new Zimbabwe, composed of 7 black and 4 white players.
Zimbabwe maintains a healthy relationship with most of its neighbours.