Portal:Zimbabwe

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Introduction

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Zimbabwe (/zɪmˈbɑːbw, -wi/), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. The capital and largest city is Harare. A country of roughly 16 million people, Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English, Shona, and Ndebele the most commonly used.

Since the 11th century, present-day Zimbabwe has been the site of several organised states and kingdoms as well as a major route for migration and trade. The British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes first demarcated the present territory during the 1890s; it became the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1923. In 1965, the conservative white minority government unilaterally declared independence as Rhodesia. The state endured international isolation and a 15-year guerrilla war with black nationalist forces; this culminated in a peace agreement that established universal enfranchisement and de jure sovereignty as Zimbabwe in April 1980. Zimbabwe then joined the Commonwealth of Nations, from which it was suspended in 2002 for breaches of international law by its then-government, and from which it withdrew in December 2003. The sovereign state is a member of the United Nations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). It was once known as the "Jewel of Africa" for its prosperity.

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Zimbabwe held a presidential election along with a parliamentary election on March 29, 2008. The three major candidates were incumbent President Robert Mugabe of the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and Simba Makoni, an independent. The election was expected, because of Zimbabwe's dire economic situation, to provide President Mugabe with his toughest electoral challenge to date. Mugabe's opponents have been critical of the handling of the electoral process, and the government has been accused of planning to rig the election; Human Rights Watch said that the election was likely to be "deeply flawed". However, after the election took place, Jose Marcos Barrica, the head of the Southern African Development Community observer mission, described the election as "a peaceful and credible expression of the will of the people of Zimbabwe."

No official results were announced for more than a month after the election. The failure to release results was strongly criticized by the MDC, which sought an order from the High Court that would force their release. An independent projection placed Tsvangirai in the lead, but without the majority needed to avoid a second round.

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The stone-carved Zimbabwe Bird is a national emblem of Zimbabwe, appearing on the national flags and coats of arms of both Zimbabwe and Rhodesia, as well as on banknotes and coins (first on Rhodesian pound and then Rhodesian dollar). It probably represents the bateleur eagle.

The famous soapstone bird carvings stood on walls and monoliths of the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe built, it is believed, sometime between the 12th and 15th centuries by ancestors of the Shona. The ruins, which gave their name to modern Zimbabwe, cover some 1,800 acres (7.3 km²) and are the largest ancient stone construction in Zimbabwe.

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Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa (born on 14 April 1925) served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia from the Internal Settlement to the Lancaster House Agreement in 1979. A Methodist bishop and nationalist leader, he held office for only a few months.[1]

In 1971 the British government struck a deal with Ian Smith that provided for a transition to majority rule in exchange for an end to sanctions against the government. Muzorewa joined with an inexperienced cleric, the Reverend Canaan Banana, to form the United African National Council (UANC) to oppose the settlement under the acronym No Independence Before Majority African Rule (NIBMAR).

The proposed referendum was withdrawn and Muzorewa found himself a national leader and an international personality. The liberation movements -- the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) of Joshua Nkomo -- both placed themselves under the UANC umbrella even though they had some doubts when Muzorewa founded a national party.

After ZANU, led by Robert Mugabe after disagreements with Sithole, and ZAPU undertook guerrilla warfare, the United African National Council was the only legal Black party since it rejected violence.

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  1. ^ Lebo Nkatazo (2007). "Zimbabwe: Muzorewa plots political comeback" (HTML). New Zimbabwe via allAfrica.com. Retrieved 2007-12-06.