President of Zimbabwe

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President of the
Republic of Zimbabwe
Flag of the President of Zimbabwe.svg
Presidential Standard
Emmerson Mnangagwa Official Portrait.jpg
Emmerson Mnangagwa

since 24 November 2017
StyleHis Excellency
(Formal, in international correspondence)
Comrade President
ResidenceState House
Appointerpopular vote
Term length5 years, renewable once[1]
Inaugural holderCanaan Banana
Formation18 April 1980; 40 years ago (1980-04-18)
DeputyVice-President of Zimbabwe
SalaryUS$200,000 (2014)[2]

The President of Zimbabwe is the highest office in the executive branch of the country's government. The president is head of state of Zimbabwe, elected by direct universal suffrage using a two-round system. Formerly a ceremonial role, the president is now also the head of government. The president serves a maximum of two five-year terms.

History of the office[edit]

The office of the president of Zimbabwe was established in 1980, when the country gained independence from the United Kingdom. Per the Lancaster House Agreement, Zimbabwe was originally a parliamentary republic, with the president serving in mostly a ceremonial role. Real power was vested in the prime minister, Robert Mugabe.

A Methodist minister, Canaan Banana, became the first president, serving until 1987. He resigned in 1987 shortly after the Constitution was amended to make the presidency an executive post, and the office of Prime Minister was abolished. Mugabe was appointed to succeed him, and was elected in his own right in 1990 and four more times thereafter.

The office of Prime Minister was restored as a result of the 2008–09 political negotiations, but abolished again following the 2013 constitutional referendum. Under the rules adopted by the same referendum, the president serves a maximum of two five-year terms.[1] This did not have a retroactive effect on past terms of office already served or currently being served as of 2013.[3]

2017 coup d'état and Mugabe's resignation[edit]

On 14 November 2017, armed military personnel from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces invaded the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation studios in Harare before Major General Sibusiso Moyo came out on a live television broadcast declaring that the army had activated an operation that would later be known as "Operation Restore Legacy." Moyo stated that President Mugabe and his family would be safe and their security would be guaranteed, as the operation was only targeting criminals around him. What followed thereafter was a well-planned and carefully executed crackdown on members of a faction within the ruling ZANU-PF party known as G40. The Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Central Intelligence Organisation, both deemed loyal to the president, were neutralised by the army, which arrested some of their top leaders.

On 21 November 2017, facing all-but certain impeachment from a combined session of the House of Assembly and Senate, Mugabe resigned as president. Former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as his replacement on 24 November 2017.

Presidents of Zimbabwe (1980–present)[edit]

No. President Took office Left office Time in office Party Election
Canaan Banana
Banana, CanaanCanaan Banana
18 April 198031 December 19877 years, 257 daysZANU1980
Robert Mugabe
Mugabe, RobertRobert Mugabe
31 December 198721 November 201729 years, 325 daysZANU–PF1990
Emmerson Mnangagwa
Mnangagwa, EmmersonEmmerson Mnangagwa
(born 1942)
24 November 2017Incumbent3 years, 103 daysZANU–PF2018

Phelekezela Mphoko was the second (and only sitting) vice-president at the time of Mugabe's resignation on 21 November 2017. Mphoko may have been acting president of Zimbabwe for three days until Mnangagwa's accession to the presidency. However, as Mphoko was not in the country at the time, and due to the unusual circumstances, any official standing on this is unclear and may never be known.[4][5][6][7]

Rank by time in office[edit]

Rank President Time in office
1 Robert Mugabe 29 years, 325 days
2 Canaan Banana 7 years, 257 days
3 Emmerson Mnangagwa 3 years, 103 days

Latest election[edit]

Mnangagwa ran for re-election in 2018 as the ZANU–PF candidate.[8] Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition party MDC-T, had died earlier in the year and been replaced by Nelson Chamisa. Chamisa ran as the MDC Alliance candidate against Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa was re-elected without the need for a runoff, winning 50.8% of the vote to Chamisa's 44.3%. The election result was disputed by the MDC Alliance.

Living former heads of state[edit]

Following the death of Robert Mugabe on 6 September 2019 there are currently no living former presidents of Zimbabwe.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Zimbabweans hope for democratic rebirth". BBC News. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  2. ^ Gumbo, Lloyd (22 April 2014). "President reveals monthly salary". The Herald. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  3. ^ Allison, Simon (26 March 2013). "Even Zimbabwe's constitution waits for Mugabe to pass the baton, or pass away". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Mphoko is the Acting President for now". Bulawayo 24. 22 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Experts clear the air on succession". The Herald. 22 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Zimbabwe has 'phantom-like' acting president". News 24. 23 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Where is Mphoko, legally the acting President?". The Zimbabwe Mail. 22 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Zanu-PF reveals Mnangagwa as 2018 presidential candidate". The Zimbabwean. AFP. 19 November 2017.