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Zimbabwe

Yearbook 2002

2002 ZimbabweZimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe was re-elected in March with just over 56% of the vote. According to Countryaah website, the election was preceded by violence, usually directed against the opposition, and political manipulation. By means of legislative changes, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's opportunities became more difficult.

In the cities, the opposition's strongholds, the number of polling stations was reduced so that not everyone could vote. In addition, city residents were required proof, in the form of e.g. electricity and water bills, having been resident in the district for at least one year. In the countryside, local leaders, almost all loyal to Mugabe, decided who could vote. The opposition had many elections stopped by police because of new security laws and the distribution of election material became more difficult. A new law also made it criminal to criticize the president, which in practice made opposition speech impossible.

2002 Zimbabwe

Of the 12,500 proposed local election observers from independent organizations, only 470 were approved. Journalists from Sweden was refused a visa during the election.

The election was approved by most African observers but was judged by Western organizations. The Commonwealth shut down Zimbabwe for a year due to all the irregularities. Morgan Tsvangirai's party MDC appealed the election results to the Supreme Court, claiming that over 400,000 votes - equivalent to Mugabe's victory margin - had either disappeared or changed afterwards.

Immediately after the election victory, Mugabe accelerated the confiscation of white-owned agriculture. Almost 5,000 farms were seized, but without any new owners. The crushing of white agriculture was considered to be an important factor behind the growing food shortage. Around six million Zimbabweans were estimated to be at risk of starvation. The United Nations Food Organization World Food Program (WFP) estimated that by the beginning of 2003, more than five million people would need food.

However, bureaucracy and political obstacles made deliveries more difficult. Private organizations were forbidden to distribute food. The government was accused of exploiting the state control of food aid to accelerate starvation in areas dominated by the opposition.

The economic situation deteriorated continuously. GDP fell by almost 12% during the year and during the autumn the inflation rate was up 140%. Almost 70% were unemployed. The value of the currency collapsed. Officially, a Zimbabwean dollar corresponded to US $ 55, but in the “parallel” market, a US dollar at the end of the year cost about 1,500 Zimbabwean dollars. The state budget for 2003 was based on the official rate, which prompted economic analysts to warn of worsening chaos.

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