The African country of Zimbabwe, much like other African countries, has only attained
its independence in recent years. Having been dominated by colonial rule for centuries,
Zimbabwe finally declared its independence from its colonial masters in 1980, after years of civil
war. Since Zimbabwe’s independence, times have been rough. Human rights conditions have
worsened, land disputes have increased, food shortages are crippling the country, and economic
instability threatens everything Zimbabwe had fought to achieve. Zimbabwe has recently been in
international headlines for its numerous violations of voter rights in recent presidential voting.
This short summary will analyze human rights, especially political rights, in Zimbabwe as well
as try to explain why conditions are that way.
Robert Mugabe is the acting president of Zimbabwe and has been since independence.
After independence, the country was relatively stable and enjoyed many freedoms (Freedom).
However, from 1983 to 1987, the government violently began its suppression of any form of
opposition. A struggle between the nations’ largest minority group, the Ndebele, and Mugabe’s
ethnic Shona group, led the death of almost 20,000 civilians (Freedom). In 2000, the leading
oppositional group called the Movement for Democratic Change defeated a referendum that
would have greatly increased Mugabe’s power (Freedom). Since that victory, however, Mugabe
has done everything in his power to silence all opposition. According to the U.S. State
department, there were several reports of the government involved in murdering political
opponents in 2007 (U.S State Dept. 2008). Over 50 opposition and civil society activists were
assaulted and arrested in 2007 during a prayer meeting they were holding. The party leader,
, told the BBC he was beaten over the head, arms, knees, back and had lost a
significant amount of blood (Unbowed). Zimbabweans also have little freedom of assembly;
laws severely restrict this freedom. Politically motivated abductions occur throughout the