Zimbabwe and its government, gaining majority rule in 1980, styles itself as a parliamentary democracy, when in actuality, it is a one party dictatorship. Robert Mugabe, head of government since independence (also President since 1987), has controlled policy in the country, singlehandedly for almost 30 years. There are claims that his ZANU-PF party has rigged elections in his favor using voter intimidation and violence. Mugabe’s domestic policies, namely his land reform initiatives, which have displaced revenue generating white farmers, are blamed for the current food shortage and runaway inflation of the Zim Dollar.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai is an opposition party that has faced persecution at the hands of Mugabe’s forces. Tsvangirai won the 2008 presidential election outright, but a run-off election was called, as the results were not recognized by Mugabe. Intimidation against MDC supporters caused Tsvangirai to back out of the run-off race, but showing in the polls prompted him to return from exile to contest the election and Mugabe would eventually be forced to submit to a coalition government. Mugabe is accused of stacking minister posts in his favor, retaining key cabinet positions.