Zimbabwe SSR Background Note


Key Statistics

Population: 15.25 million (World Bank, 2014)

Capital: Harare

Languages:  Shona and Ndebele (national languages), English (official), Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Khoisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangaan (Shangani), Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, and Xhosa

Major Ethnic Groups:  Shona and Ndebele

GDP per Capita (current US dollars): 896 (World Bank, 2015)

GDP per Capita PPP (current international dollars): 600 (CIA Factbook, 2013)

Security Sector Stats

Active Armed Forces: 50,800 (World Bank, 2015)

Small Arms: The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Zimbabwe is 400,000; the defence forces of Zimbabwe are reported to have 141,7406 firearms, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms and Police in Zimbabwe are reported to have 30,5208 firearms (Gun Policy, 2015)

Military Expenditure: 2.79% of GDP (SIPRI, 2014)

Table of contents

  1. Introduction and General Background
  2. Political Overview
  3. Security Sector Overview
  4. Security Sector Reform - Sectoral Overview
  5. Donor Relations
  6. Future Considerations

This country profile is also part of the ISSAT Case Study on the Zimbabwe Peace and Security Programme.

1. Introduction and General Background

Located in southern Africa, Zimbabwe, formerly known as Southern Rhodesia (1911-64) and officially known as the Republic of Zimbabwe, is landlocked and bordered by Zambia, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique. It is rich in some 30 different mineral deposits dispersed throughout the country, with considerable arable land in the north and the east. Of the 14 million people residing in Zimbabwe, almost 98% are related to the two major Bantu-speaking groups: the Shona (about 82% of the population) and the Ndebele (about 14%). There are 16 official languages[1] , and English is also widely spoken. Zimbabwe’s capital is Harare. The country covers 390,759 km2 across ten provinces: Harare, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands, Bulawayo, Matebeleland South, and Matebeland North.

Previously known as the “bread basket” of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe has struggled with a massive budget deficit and a very weak economy since the late 1980s. The early 2000s saw a pending land reform agenda materialised as a Fast Track Land Resettlement Programme (FTLRP) (2000-2003), in response to the crippling impact from the government-sponsored Economic Structural Adjustment Programmes (ESAP) of the 1990s. The new land reform shifted rich farmland, originally allocated to a small population of white farmers dating back to the colonial era, and apportioned under President Mugabe to a selection of black farmers.[2] This bottom up request from the Zimbabwe People has lead to varying degrees of impact.[3] In more recent years, mismanagement of funds and natural resources plunged the economy further, severely impacting public services, health and education. Hyperinflation plagues any potential economic stability of the country adding to the mounting challenges over the past decade.

2. Political Overview

Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia, was a British colony until 1964. It was first declared independent through the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) by the then ruling white-minority regime led by Ian Smith. Neither the British nor the international community officially recognised the UDI. Domestically, the declaration was strongly opposed by the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), formed in 1961 and 1963, respectively, paving the way to a liberation war. The principle actors of the armed conflict consisted of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) of the ZANU party, the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) of the ZAPU party and the security forces of Ian Smith’s regime. During this war, the Front Line States[4] urged more unity to counter Ian Smith’s forces, upon which the guerrilla armies joined to form the Patriotic Front (PF) in 1976 (Hendricks and Musavengana, 2010).

Following an abortive attempt at national reconciliation in 1978, the end of hostilities was finally achieved in 1979, after key mediation by the British under a Commonwealth mandate.  The Lancaster House Agreement transitioned the country to independence and Zimbabwe was born. During the negotiations, the issues of land, transitional arrangements, cease-fire, and elections were discussed, yet no reference was made to military reform. In spite of this, the new Independence Constitution did provide clauses to remove the white minority's monopoly of control on various government sectors – including the military (Lalá 2009, Chitiyo 2009).

On 18 April 1980, under British supervision, independent elections were held and ZANU-PF won the majority. Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister and included Joshua Nkomo (of ZAPU) in his cabinet. In 1982, however, Nkomo was accused of plans to overthrow Mugabe and was removed from the government. Nkomo’s stronghold was in Southern Zimbabwe, in the Matebeleland and Midlands region with a majority Ndebele population. Unresolved tensions between ZIPRA and ZANLA, and perceived threats and resistance to Mugabe’s leadership led to a dark event in the history of Zimbabwe. Thousands of civilians (some estimates are as high as 20,000) were killed in Matabeleland during “Gukurahundi”[5] , a state-led operation aimed at clamping down dissent in that area.[6] On 22 December 1987 a unity pact was signed, ending the violence and forming the current ZANU-PF (Zakeyo, 2012).

In the same year Mugabe changed the Constitution, abolishing allotted seats in government for the white minority, and became President with extensive executive powers. He has been serving as head of state and commander-in-chief of the country from 31 December 1987 to the present day.

In 1991 the implementation of a structural adjustment programme by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Zimbabwe resulted in high unemployment, which in turn favoured the creation of a politicised trade union. In 1999, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)[7] emerged as an opposition party to the ruling ZANU-PF. The following year, a ZANU-PF referendum on amending the Constitution to give the country’s President further executive power was rejected, accompanied by a surge in support for the MDC. In 2002, President Mugabe was reinstated amidst allegations of electoral fraud and EU sanctions were imposed.[8]

The 2008 elections marked the end of ZANU-PF’s one-party rule. Tsvangirai secured more votes than Mugabe in the first round of the presidential race, triggering the highest level of political violence since a decade. The results of the run-off secured President Mugabe’s rule, but the tension and unrest did not subside. South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediated a power-sharing agreement between the ZANU-PF and two other main parties, the MDC-T and the MDC-M. The outcome was the signing of a Global Political Agreement (GPA) between the parties, and the creation of Zimbabwe’s Government of National Unity (GNU) on 15 February 2009 (Human Rights Watch, 2013). 

A Government of National Unity

The GNU faced many challenges between 2008 and 2013. Notwithstanding the GPA provisions that recognised the two MDC factions as partners in the inclusive government, the state security sector remained opposed to the coalition government (Chitiyo, 2009). This show of resistance to the opposition goes back to 2002 when security chiefs made public statements that they would not acknowledge or support “politicians without liberation war credentials” (Chitiyo, 2009; Noyes, 2013; Hendricks and Musavengana, 2010).

In March 2009, a National Security Bill was passed establishing a National Security Council. Also that year, the coalition approved the Short Term Economic Recovery Programme (STERP), which set out a road map for stabilising and reconstructing Zimbabwe’s key agricultural, mining, manufacturing and tourism sectors. Furthermore, a referendum held in March 2013 approved a new Constitution that was implemented in May 2013.  It contained provisions for constitutional change including a wider bill of rights with socio-economic rights, obligatory sharing of executive powers between the cabinet and the president, and guidelines outlining the conduct of security services. The approval of the new Constitution was key to providing entry-points for upcoming reforms.

In the meantime, elections were held on 31 July 2013 and the country was commended for a “broadly peaceful election day”. However, results were postponed, and international pressure had to be applied for their earlier release (Ban, 2013). Mugabe was re-instated as President, ZANU-PF won a two-thirds majority in the parliament, and the power-sharing agreement came to an end, amidst speculation about the legitimacy of electoral results.

Overall political instability has been increasing since the ZANU-PF party congress was held on 27 December 2014. The Vice-President of ZANU-PF as well as of the government, Joice Mujuru, was removed from office, and current Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, replaced her.[9] Continuing ZANU-PF intra-party struggles have underpinned tensions during 2014 and 2015.

3. Security Sector Overview

The country has a unique security sector context given the fusion of three different rival armies (Rhodesian army, ZANLA and ZIPRA) into a unified armed force after independence. From the Liberation war to the present, Zimbabwe’s security sector has swung between professionalism and politicisation. ZANU-PF’s rule was anchored in the liberation struggle, where a key principle prevailed that political ideology had to drive military action. In addition, since the beginning of independence ZANU-PF implemented a de facto one-party rule, and ensured that opposition to its rule remained weak.[10] Security forces in Zimbabwe experienced an increase in the politicisation of the forces from 1981–87 when the now unified Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) fought on multiple fronts. This trend was linked to the national discourse that the security sector must protect national identity in order to protect the state of Zimbabwe.[11]

Integrating the three armies was an entry-point for security sector reform (SSR) in the post-Lancaster House Agreement period, but provisions for reform were not institutionalised in a way that committed the new state to longer-term reform. For example, the lack of integrated policies tackling disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) favoured the reinforcement of a militarised mind-set in society. In addition, it strengthened interconnectedness and operational linkages between the security forces and the ruling party representing the state (Lalá, 2009). In terms of politicisation, peaks occurred in 1997 and again after the constitutional referendum in 2000.  At this point the alliance between ZANU-PF and the security sector was reinforced to hinder MDC access to levers of state power.

Present Day Security Sector

The formal security sector consists of several actors, including the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO),[12] also known as the Department of State for National Security, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), and the Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS). Private security companies, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) and the ZANU-PF Youth League are also allied to the security sector as non-state actors.

Since 2000, the security sector has contributed to a generally hostile political landscape and to the insecurity of citizens especially during pre-election stages. The partisanship of the leadership of the security forces’ permeates the entire security apparatus and manifests itself inter alia in the use of violence against opposition supporters and the criminalisation of those actors. Throughout the last decade, the Joint Operations Command (JOC)[13] that includes the CIO, leaders of the ZDS and the ZPS, and other high-ranking ZANU-PF members have been known to engage in violent campaigns to suppress opposition and “guarantee ZANU-PF success” proceeding elections (Human Rights Watch, 2013). The 2013 elections were seen as yet another example of partisanship that “has translated into abuses by these forces against MDC members and supporters, and civil society organizations” (Human Rights Watch, 2013). Impunity for crimes committed by members of the security forces is common, and there seems to be a lack of internal disciplinary action, coupled with an absence of effective external oversight, which impedes the prevention of further violence (Chitiyo, 2009; Noyes, 2013; HumanRightsWatch, 2013). 

The GPA barely addressed issues of security and justice reforms. However, the ruling phase of the GNU provided a space, for the first time, for dialogue to emerge around potential pillars for future Security Sector Transformation (SST).  Entry-points for such process could possibly be found in the National Security Bill approved in March 2009, which established the NSC to oversee the military (Hendricks and Musavengana, 2010). In addition, with the approval of the new Constitution, some ground has been gained in creating a legal framework that can potentially keep checks and balances on the different security actors.

4. Security Sector Reform – Sectoral Overview

a) Oversight

Improving the system of governance in Zimbabwe has remained a challenge in the last 30 years. In 2014, Zimbabwe was ranked 156 out of 175 in terms of transparency, signalling the existence of widespread corruption (Transparency International, 2015). A number of frameworks are in place but lack implementation and independent oversight to ensure that laws are respected. Allegedly the CIO has been accused of human rights abuses against ZANU-PF’s political opponents. They work closely with the riot police and the Police Internal Security Intelligence (PISI) in the ZRP to enforce state security. Many of the 25,000 ZRP work outside traditional policing tasks, despite their civil status. The unit has a high turnover with many personnel being relocated if they are recognised to be vocal about the militarisation of the police force (Chitiyo, 2009). The National Security Council Act 2009 provides a framework for oversight of national policies on security, defence and law and order, but lacks implementation.

Despite provisions in the GPA requiring state institutions to “remain non-partisan and impartial” (Article 13), no clause provided for the inclusion of security sector reform in the constitutional review. Nevertheless, Zimbabwe’s Constitution of 2013 contained a number of provisions that can be regarded as a significant first step in attempting to create a framework for oversight at a higher level (Nyabeze, 2015). The new Constitution provided for example: a maximum threshold of two terms for Commanders of the Defence Forces or any of their branches; the establishment of an independent mechanism for handling complaints against members of the security services; emphasis on political neutrality of the Central Intelligence Organisation; proscribes the formation of armed militias and paramilitary groups outside the structures of established laws; and the prohibition of members of a security service from obeying an order that is manifestly illegal (Daily News, 2013). Hence, despite a certain degree of legal preconditions for SSR being in place, implementation has been deficient.

In addition, currently no committee exists to lead the implementation of the subsidiary Acts of Parliament with regards to the new Constitution. An Electoral Amendment Bill was passed in 2014 but fell short of aligning with the Constitution. Furthermore, it appears that the Government has not moved forward with executing provisions set out in the new Constitution, apart from passing two Bills through Parliament, which have not been made into Acts. The National Prosecuting Authority Bill is, however, a first step in legitimising the appointment of prosecutors (Veritas, 2015). Strengthening parliament, local authorities and the public sector in their capacity to deliver social services, access and delivery of justice, and institutional accountability remains, therefore, a challenge.

Civil Society Organisations

Civil society performs watchdog functions such as following public opinion and trends, monitoring elections, political violence, and corruption. Numerous organisations exist that facilitate services in rural areas and ensure that those who are under-represented, such as the elderly, women and those impacted by HIV-AIDs are included in national dialogue on policies. The two entities that act as umbrellas for CSOs are the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations of Zimbabwe (NANGO) and The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum), a coalition of twenty-one human rights NGOs in Zimbabwe (European Union, 2014).

Since the 2013 elections, CSOs have experienced a more flexible space to navigate in, including opportunities to enter into direct dialogue with the state. Examples of such interactions include dialogue during the drafting of the new Constitution in 2012 and 2013, and most recently, ZANU-PF’s engagement, to some level, with CSOs in preparation of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset). Furthermore, CSOs have gained basic legal rights under the new Constitution that would create a more secure environment to operate in, should the provision be implemented.

Whilst CSOs have built their capacity and increased their visibility over the last few years, they face issues related to transparency and accountability.  Another weakness derives from them being mainly supported by external funders, and from being perceived as close allies of the opposition.  Generally there is mutual mistrust between the state and CSOs and there is a dearth of organisations working directly on SSR issues, although several work on matters of human rights.  An exception has been the Zimbabwe Peace and Security Programme (ZPSP) (http://www.zpst.org), which has made inroads in creating space for dialogue around SST.  Such progress has relied on the legitimacy and national ownership of the programme, but the ZPSP remains vulnerable to the volatile political situation. Currently the climate is mixed; however, Zimbabwe has a robust civil society that has remained vocal even during tense periods. 

b) Justice

The justice arena presents a mix of soft justice processes from informal and formal reconciliation processes (Chitiyo, 2013). However, the justice sector faces numerous key tensions and challenges that currently lie in the discrepancy between adequate legislation and issues in implementation. Difficulties arise mainly in the inefficient administration of the legislative measures and criminal procedures. For example, 30% of prisoners have a pre- detainee status, a clear marker of the inefficacy of the system. Findings indicate that this is caused by political intolerance and ambivalence of key institutions, and such difficulties lead to varying degrees of unacceptable conditions for detainees and violation of human rights. Capacity is another challenge; the justice sector suffers from severe funding shortages and high turnover of human resources. There is a lack of neutrality, especially in key justice institutions such as the judiciary, the police, and the Attorney General’s office, with rulings affected by political dynamics hindering the delivery of justice (Chimbga, 2014).

Where there is a shortage of capacity, some grassroots organisations facilitate the capacity building and the delivery of justice and reconciliation services. This is in addition to the prominent role played by traditional chiefs in delivering justice. Much of the population lacks means to access state institutions due to social, geographical or financial constraints. Traditional courts continue to hold a strong position in Zimbabwean society and exist alongside formal state structures. Customary law adapts over time and depending on context. However, the existence of formal and informal justice systems poses challenges. An example is where constitutional provisions for general law are not the same as customary law for marriage, where a woman has the right to opt out (Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2014).  What remains to be seen, is how state institutions can hone in on customary law and traditions, and harness the status and power of traditional chiefs to implement general law that respects international human rights standards over time.

A disputed topic within discussions around justice in Zimbabwe is the issue of accountability and trial for past crimes. Mugabe proposed not to put Rhodesian soldiers who were involved in the massacres of Nyaadzonia and Chimoio under trial. Later, the GNU provided for the creation of the National Organ for Healing and Reconciliation to carry out healing and justice-related initiatives in light of past events.  However, since it has not been in operation, there is mounting pressure, especially with the new Constitution, to establish the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to deal with transitional justice. Suggestions have been made that establishing the NPRC would compound agreements made in the past during the early years of the state of Zimbabwe.[14] Nonetheless, the controversy around reconciliation remains also paramount to the issue of legislative reform, and inclusion and active participation of civil society organisations in law-making and implementation.

c) Police

The Zimbabwe Republic Police is one of the key national institutions that permeate the lives of the Zimbabwe People. Police reform was a pertinent debate during the negotiations on the Draft Constitution. This included discussion on creating an anti-corruption police body to curb much of the corruption that currently continues to occur. Furthermore, according to the Police Act, employees of the force are not allowed to take part in politics and act out of partisanship. In 2013, ahead of the elections, concerns were raised over police reform and police preparedness, given that the police had repeatedly failed to prevent violence escalation in 2008. The African Union Commission’s report recommendations on Zimbabwe’s 2013 elections, made explicit references to the role of the police in facilitating free and fair elections. With regards to community policing, positive developments seem to be occurring, with a number of cases where the police have engaged with civil society. What remains to be seen is if isolated incremental episodes of cooperation will become the norm, and what is the level of control that the central police service will play in provincial policing going forward.


d) Defence

During the guerrilla war, ZANLA and ZIPRA forces were provided with training principally by the Soviet Union and China, Cuba and the German Democratic Republic as well as several African countries including Libya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia. After independence the new ZANU(PF) government turned to North Korea to provide the training for the infamous Fifth Brigade which was engaged in the Gukurahundi Operation. Zimbabwean soldiers continue to be trained by China and North Korea (Hendricks and Musavengana, 2010). Suggestions have been made that the National Security Strategy and the National Defence Policy should be reviewed to boost oversight and transparency, as well as to ensure that the country focuses primarily on human security in lieu of state security (Mwanaka, 2015). In addition, the regional security environment has changed over the years, and therefore an update of these policies would also contribute towards an improvement in performance and professionalisation of the defence forces.

Despite the display of politicisation at home, the Zimbabwean military is generally seen as a key player in peace support operations. The country also provides peacekeeping officers from the ZRP who were/are seconded to the UN for various missions including AMISOM, Liberia, Sudan. It is the 30th largest contributor to the African Union and exceeds the UNDPKO minimum requirement for number of woman peacekeepers, which reached around 41% in December 2014 (Dzinesa, 2015).

Whilst this has been the motive of honour for the defence forces, one of the most controversial issues around their behaviour relates to the intervention made in the DRC.  At the time the mission was contested internally, given the budget deficit and the shortage of external funding. Allegations have been made that the ruling ZANU-PF leadership diverted resources from basic public health towards state security benefits and the enrichment of a selected few.  In the end, the peacekeeping mission became an example of how the military looked for alternative sources of revenue, through exploring the concessions on extractives awarded to the Zimbabwe state by Laurent-Désiré Kabila (Dietrich, 2000). Over time, the connections of the military to mining abroad and at home have built powerful personal networks of patronage and influence (Maley, 2015; Global Witness, 2012). Consequently, the interaction between the political elite, the security apparatus and the extractive industry indicates the existence of defence forces with capacity to “enable” or “spoil” the political transition in the years to come (Chitiyo, 2009).

5. Donor Relations

The European Union and other international donors partially lifted sanctions in November 2014 and continued their policy of reengagement with the government of Zimbabwe. In January 2015, Mugabe became the AU chair and bans on travel were lifted as he was invited to an EU Summit.[15] Despite this Mugabe, his wife and Zimbabwe Defence industries remain on the EU blacklist. The lifting of sanctions and more engagement from the international community, including Belgium’s interest in buying Zimbabwe diamonds have been perceived as a bid to normalise Zimbabwe-EU relations.

Multilateral engagement has increased and a multi-donor support programme for the Parliament and the Office of the Auditor General was launched on 8 May 2015, to ensure that all outstanding pieces of legislation are aligned to the provisions of the new Constitution. Funded initially with 1.8 million Euros from the EU, the programme aims to focus on the legislative and oversight roles of Parliament (UNDP, 2015). More recently, a 10 million dollar grant from multiple donors, including the EU and the UNDP, has boosted this initial support for Parliament to carry out key mandates hindered by the Government's failure to fund such activities.

Other pending challenges include the participation of women in political spaces, and UNDP has engaged recently to involve Zimbabwean women in discussions on peace-building and transformation. A recent discussion was guided by the findings of a UN WOMEN 2014 report Zimbabwean Women in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding: Past experience, Future opportunities (UNDP, 2015). These are still early days after lifting sanctions, and whilst dialogue between the EU and Zimbabwe has been evolving in the field of development, progress in political dialogue and human rights (Art 8 of the Cotonou Agreement) remains to be seen.

6. Future Considerations

Crucial for the 2018 elections—and the government that comes to power—will be the provisions set for the role played by Zimbabwe’s state security forces, particularly the Defence Forces, the Police, and the Central Intelligence Organization. The legacy of the partisanship of the security forces since independence will require increasing reform in order to meet the changing security and political environment especially as the current political climate remains unpredictable. The real tensions to keep in sight lie within the ruling party as President Mugabe’s health and age prompts decisions for a new leadership.



CIO                       Central Intelligence Organisation

ESAP                     Economic Structural Adjustment Programmes

FTLRP                    Fast Track Land resettlement Programme

GNU                      Zimbabwe’s Government of National Unity

IG                         Inclusive Government

IMF                       International Monetary Fund

JOC                       Joint Operations Command

MDC                     Movement for Democratic Change

NANGO                 Non-Governmental Organizations of Zimbabwe

NPRC                   National Peace and Reconciliation Commission

PF                        Patriotic Front

PISI                      Police Internal Security Intelligence

SADC                    Southern African Development Community

SST                      Security Sector Transformation

STERP                  Short Term Economic Recovery Programme

UDI                      Unilateral Declaration of Independence

ZANLA                  Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army

ZANU                   Zimbabwe African National Union

ZAPU                    Zimbabwe African People’s Union

ZDF                      Zimbabwe Defence Forces

ZIPRA                   Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army

ZNLWVA                Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association

ZPS                      Zimbabwe Prison Service

ZRP                      Zimbabwe Republic Police



“Ambitions, Profits and Loss: Zimbabwean Economic Involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” Michael Nest African Affairs, Volume 100, Issue 400 (2001).

“‘The Anatomy of the Resource Curse: Predatory Investment in Africa’s Extractive Industries,” J.R. Maley, Africa Centre for Strategic Studies special Report (2015).

“Boost to Parliament as EU Supports New Programme,” United Nations Development Programme (2015).

“The Case for Security Sector Reform in Zimbabwe,” Chitiyo, Knox, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (2009).

“The Church, Politics and the Future of Zimbabwe,” Zakeyo, Marion (2012).

“The commercialisation of military deployment in Africa,” Chris Dietrich African Security Review, Volume 9, Issue1, (2000).

“Constitution Watch Zimbabwe,” Veritas (2015).

“Diamonds: A Good Deal for Zimbabwe?”, Global Witness (2012).

“The Elephant in the Room.” Human Rights Watch (2013).

EU Country Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society 2014-2017, Zimbabwe,” European Union External Action Service (2014).

“New Constitution Ushers Security Sector Reforms,” Daily News (2013).

 “Perspectives Africa: Women, Custom and Access to Justice,” Heinrich Böll Foundation, Regional Office Southern Africa (2014).

“Pre-Trial Detention in Zimbabwe,” Chimbga, Dzimbabwe, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Law Society of Zimbabwe (2014).  

“Progressive Reform in the New Constitution of Zimbabwe: A Balance Between the Preservative and Transformative Constitution Making Process,” Nyabeze, Tawana H., Harare: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. (2015).

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“The Security Sector in Southern Africa,” Hendricks, Cheryl, and Takawira Musavengana, Institute for Security Studies (2010).

“Securing Reform? Power Sharing and Civil-Security Relations in Kenya and Zimbabwe,” Noyes, Alexander, African Studies Quarterly 13, no. 4 (2013).

“Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Elections in Zimbabwe,” Ban Ki-moon, (2013).

“Zimbabwe Case-Study,” Lalá, Anicia, African Security Sector Network, Research Project on SSR Provisions in Peace Agreements (2009).

“Zimbabwe,” Transparency International (2014).

“Zimbabwe:The Urgency of Now,” Mwanaka, Tendai R. (2015).


[1] Other languages spoken include: Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Khoisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangaan (Shangani), Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, and Xhosa

[2] There is some dispute as to whether this seizure and appropriation of land generated benefits for the majority of the Zimbabwean population. The dramatic social shift due to the modification of land ownership under the FTLRP has allegedly come under ZANU-PF favour. The FTLRP operated under two tracks: the ‘A1’ model designated 150,000 plots of six hectares to smallholders by dividing up large white farms, and the ‘A2’ model facilitated to create large black commercial farms by handing over larger areas of land to about 23,000 farmers.

[3] While many of Mugabe’s supporters have benefitted from this land shuffle, there is evidence of small-scale farmers who have developed their own non-commercial farms and so increasing food security, albeit to a small degree. Additionally, some commercial black farms are reaching similar levels of production as previous white farms. However, farm management has not been optimised and has resulted in massive job loss for black farmers under previous white commercial farmers.

[4] The Front Line States (FLS) consist of an alliance of several countries in the region that created a pact against the interventionist and violent policies of apartheid states. These countries were Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and, from 1980, Zimbabwe.

[5] In the Shona language: "the rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains".

[6] No official government report has been published, but the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe released their findings in “Report On The 1980’s Disturbances In Matabeleland and The Midlands”.

[7] In 2005, the MDC split into MDC-T under Morgan Tsvangirai, and MDC-M under Arthur Mutambara, the latter is now referred to as MDC-N under a newly elected leader, Welshman Ncube.  

[8] EU sanctions, including a ban on travel and an assets freeze, were lifted in February 2015 with an offer of €234m (£174m) in aid as a way to encourage progress and for EU to engage in relations with the government for positive change. The sanctions had had a marked impact on the state’s economy, and on its political choice of allies for external funding assistance, forcing Zimbabwe to turn to North Korea and China to help training Zimbabwe’s security forces.

[9] Emmerson Mnangagwa was also a former Defence Minister and a former Minister of Security.

[10] This has to be understood in particular taking into account the country’s colonial past and its legacy for the post-independence era, the liberation wars, its institutional paradigms and Zimbabwe‘s fears as a new state.

[11] The ideology of Black African Liberation conflated national security with the security of the state and led to the merging of the party, state and government. Therefore the discourse on protecting Zimbabwe's nationhood automatically tied the party to the government and the state, instead of being mutually exclusive.

[12] The CIO does not operate within a legislative framework to guide its institutional set up and procedures. It is part of the President’s Office—the Department for State Security—and has financial support directly from the executive branch, unlike other departments.

[13] The JOC has been implicated in act of violence in the past elections as well as appearing to be operating as a military junta, making decisions on the part of the Executive. Mugabe has recently set steps to dissolve the JOC and rename it the National Security Council through an Act of Parliament to enable the body to advise the government on national security policy and strategies. 

[14] The Clemency Order of 1988 following the Unity Accord of 1987 pardoned all human rights violations committed by political parties between 1982 and 1987. This was then followed by the 1995 presidential amnesty pardoning all politically motivated violence perpetrated during the 1995 general elections. This set precedence for the Clemency Order of 2000, and pardoned politically motivated violence and human rights violations committed during and after the parliamentary elections of June 2000.

[15] In 2014, however, Mugabe boycotted an EU-Africa Summit in Brussels after he was given a rare invitation—but his wife was still denied a visa. (http://www.news24.com/Africa/Zimbabwe/Robert-Mugabe-takes-over-as-new-AU-chair-20150130