President of Zimbabwe

The President of Zimbabwe is the head of state of Zimbabwe, elected by direct universal suffrage using a two-round system.

The President is also the head of government, as the office of Prime Minister was abolished in 1987. The office 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]

President of the
Republic of Zimbabwe
Emmerson Mnangagwa (2019-01-15)
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
DeputyVice-President of Zimbabwe
SalaryUS$200,000 (2014)[2]

History of the office

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 in a mostly ceremonial role. He resigned in 1987 shortly after the Constitution was amended to make the presidency an executive post. Mugabe was appointed to succeed him, and was elected in his own right in 1990 and four more times thereafter.

2017 coup d'état

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)

President Took office Left office Time in office Party Election
Canaan Banana
Canaan Banana
18 April 198031 December 19877 years, 257 daysZANU1980
Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
(born 1924)
31 December 198721 November 201729 years, 325 daysZANU-PF1990
Emmerson Mnangagwa
Emmerson Mnangagwa
(born 1942)
24 November 2017Incumbent1 year, 271 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

Rank President Time in office
1 Robert Mugabe 29 years, 325 days
2 Canaan Banana 7 years, 257 days
3 Emmerson Mnangagwa 1 year, 271 days

Living former heads of state

Excluding Mphoko (Vice President) and Joice Mujuru (Vice President) there is currently one living former President of Zimbabwe (as of 22 August 2019):

Robert Mugabe May 2015 (cropped)
Robert Mugabe
21 February 1924 (age 95)

See also


  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. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
1990s in Zimbabwe

General elections were held in March 1990. In July the government lifted the 25-year-old state of emergency. Zimbabwe became a republic on 17 April 1991. In November 1992 the first cases of a cholera epidemic were reported from within the Tongogara Refugee Camp in Manicaland. In June 1993 the government announced plans to downsize the 50,000-strong Zimbabwe National Army by 10,000 men over the next five years. The combined Zimbabwe Defense Forces Headquarters was formed in July 1994. In April 1995 parliamentary elections were held. The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) ran unopposed in 54 of the 120 electoral districts and a further 20 parliamentary seats were reserved. Zimbabwe sent delegates to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to discuss land mines and launch the Ottawa Treaty in October 1996. The government unilaterally banned anti-personnel mines on 15 May 1997, signing Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December. The government ratified the treaty on 18 June 1998. A court sentenced Canaan Banana, Methodist minister, theologian, and the former President of Zimbabwe to ten years imprisonment, nine years suspended for sodomy, on 18 January 1999. Major mine clearance operations started in three of Zimbabwe's seven, identified, contaminated areas in March.

The Movement for Democratic Change was formed in September.

Canaan Banana

Canaan Sodindo Banana (5 March 1936 – 10 November 2003) was a Zimbabwean Methodist minister, theologian, and politician who served as the first President of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987. He was Zimbabwe's first head of state after the Lancaster House Agreement that led to the country’s independence. In 1987, he stepped down as President and was succeeded by Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, who became the country's executive president. In 1997, Banana was outed as a homosexual, and after a highly publicised trial, was convicted of 11 counts of sodomy and "unnatural acts", serving six months in prison.

Banana was born in Essexvale (today Esigodini), a village in Matabeleland, Southern Rhodesia, to an Ndebele mother and a Mosotho father. He was educated at a mission school before studying at Epworth Theological College in Salisbury (today Harare). Ordained in 1962, he worked as a Methodist minister and a school administrator between 1963 and 1966. He was elected Chairman of the Bulawayo Council of Churches in 1969, holding that position until 1971. From 1971 to 1973, he worked for the All Africa Conference of Churches and was also a member of the Advisory Committee of the World Council of Churches. He became involved in anti-colonial politics, embracing black liberation theology and criticising the Rhodesian government under Ian Smith, which had declared the country independent under white-minority rule in 1965. He became Vice-President of the African National Congress, but soon was forced to flee Rhodesia. He first went to Japan, before moving to Washington, D.C., United States, where he studied at Wesley Theological Seminary.

Upon returning to Rhodesia in 1975, he was imprisoned until 1976. That year, he accompanied Mugabe to the Geneva Conference, and in 1979, he attended the Lancaster House Conference in London that resulted in Zimbabwe's independence as a majority-rule democracy. In 1980, he became the country's first President, stepping down in 1987 so that Mugabe, who reformed the presidency from ceremonial office into an executive one, could succeed him. Banana then worked as an Organisation of African Unity diplomat and also taught at the University of Zimbabwe. He also played a major role in arranging the union of the two main Zimbabwean revolutionary groups turned political parties, the ZAPU and his own ZANU, which merged in 1988 to form ZANU–PF, which is still the country's ruling party.

In 1997, Banana was arrested in Zimbabwe on charges of sodomy, following accusations made during the murder trial of his former bodyguard, who had killed another officer who had taunted him about being "Banana's homosexual wife". The charges related to allegations that Banana had misused his power while he was president to coerce numerous men into accepting sexual advances. Though he denied the accusations, he was found guilty of eleven charges of sodomy, attempted sodomy and indecent assault in 1998. He served eight months in prison, and was also defrocked. He died of cancer in 2003, with sources varying on his place of death.

Banana was a controversial figure, especially after his criminal conviction. As President, he did not always command respect (a law had to be passed in 1982 to prevent Zimbabweans from joking about his surname). Nevertheless, he was held in esteem by some for his involvement in Zimbabwe's liberation struggle and later for his role in uniting ZANU and ZAPU, which ended the Gukurahundi massacres. After his death, Mugabe called him a "rare gift to the nation."


Chirumanzu–Zibagwe is a constituency of the House of Assembly of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, located in the Chirumhanzu District in Midlands Province. Mvuma, a small mining town, is one of the largest commercial centers in the constituency. The constituency was created in 2008 from the old Chirumanzu and Zhombe constituencies. Emmerson Mnangagwa, now the President of Zimbabwe, was the inaugural member. Its current Member of Parliament is his wife, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa (ZANU–PF)

Constantino Chiwenga

Constantino Guveya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga (born Constantine Guveya Chiwenga; 25 August 1956) is a retired Zimbabwean general currently serving as Vice-President of Zimbabwe since December 2017. He has served as the Vice-President of the ruling ZANU-PF party since December 2017. He also served as the Minister of Defence, Security and War Veterans between December 2017 and September 2018, He is the former Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army.

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa (IPA: [m̩.na.ˈᵑɡa.ɡwa], US: (listen); born 15 September 1942) is a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who serves as the third and current President of Zimbabwe since 24 November 2017. A member of ZANU–PF and a longtime ally of former President Robert Mugabe, he held a series of Cabinet portfolios and was Vice-President of Zimbabwe under Mugabe until November 2017, when he was dismissed before coming to power in a coup d'état. He was officially inaugurated as the third President of Zimbabwe on 26 August 2018 after narrowly winning the 2018 Zimbabwean general election.

Mnangagwa was born in 1942 in Shabani, Southern Rhodesia, to a large Shona family. His parents were farmers, and in the 1950s he had to move with his family to Northern Rhodesia because of his father's political activism. There, he became active in anti-colonial politics, and in 1963, he joined the newly-formed Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army, the militant wing of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), and returned to Rhodesia in 1964. Leading a group called the "Crocodile Gang", he attacked white-owned farms in the Eastern Highlands. In 1965, he bombed a train near Fort Victoria (now Masvingo) and was imprisoned for ten years, after which he was released and deported back to Northern Rhodesia, by then independent as Zambia. He then studied law at the University of Zambia and later at the University of London, and practiced as an attorney. He soon left legal private practice and went to Portuguese Mozambique to rejoin ZANU. There he was assigned to be Robert Mugabe's assistant and bodyguard, accompanying him to the Lancaster House Agreement, which resulted in the recognised independence of Zimbabwe in 1980.

After independence, Mnangagwa held a series of senior Cabinet positions under Mugabe. From 1980 to 1988, he was the country's first Minister of State Security, and oversaw the Central Intelligence Organisation. His role in the Gukurahundi massacres, in which thousands of Ndebele civilians were killed and which occurred during his tenure, is controversial. Mnangagwa was Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs from 1989 to 2000 and then served as Speaker of the Parliament from 2000 to 2005, when he was demoted to Minister of Rural Housing for openly jockeying to succeed the aging Mugabe. He returned to favour during the 2008 general election, in which he ran Mugabe's campaign, orchestrating political violence against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai. Mnangagwa served as Minister of Defence from 2009 until 2013, when he became Minister of Justice again. He was also appointed First Vice-President in 2014 and was widely considered to be a leading candidate to succeed Mugabe.

Mnangagwa's ascendancy was opposed by the President's wife, Grace Mugabe, and her Generation 40 faction. He was dismissed from his positions by Mugabe in November 2017, and fled to South Africa. Soon after, General Constantino Chiwenga, backed by elements of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and members of Mnangagwa's Lacoste political faction, launched a coup. After losing the support of ZANU–PF, Mugabe resigned, and Mnangagwa returned to Zimbabwe to assume the presidency. He secured his first full term as President in the July 2018 election with 50.8% of the vote.

Mnangagwa is nicknamed "Garwe" or "Ngwena", which means "the crocodile" in the Shona language, initially because that was the name of the guerrilla group he founded, but later because of his political shrewdness. The faction within ZANU–PF that supports him is called Lacoste after the French clothing company whose logo is a crocodile.

First Lady of Zimbabwe

The First Lady of Zimbabwe is the title held by the wife of the President of Zimbabwe.

The current office holder is the wife of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Auxillia C. Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa also held the parliamentary seat of Chirumanzu-Zibagwe until the 10th of February 2018 Mnangagwa has not indicated whether she intends to contest the seat during the 2018 general election.

George Charamba

George Charamba is the Press Secretary in the Office of the President of Zimbabwe and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information of Zimbabwe. His position makes him the official spokesperson for President Emmerson Mnangagwa.


Gutu is the third largest district in Masvingo Province, southern Zimbabwe, after Chiredzi and Mwenezi. It is the northernmost district in the province. The name "Gutu" is historically reported to have emerged from "Chinomukutu wemiseve" – meaning, "the one with a load of arrows". This is according to oral historical folklore of the "Gumbo" clan who are said to have taken over the area from the "Shiri" clan through killing them by poisoning the fruit trees in the "Gona" area. Mupandawana is the largest district service centre. It was designated as a "growth point" during the early years of independent Zimbabwe together with such places as Gokwe in the Midlands Province and Juru in Mashonaland East province. Mpandawana gained town status in April 2014.

It was home to the late Oliver Munyaradzi, Simon Muzenda, former vice president of Zimbabwe as well as Vitalis Zvinavashe, a Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and politician. The late Air Vice Marshal Josiah Tungamirai was also a native of Gutu. Gutu Mission Hospital found in the district, is one of a number of centers for HIV/AIDS treatment in the province. The population is mostly the Karanga, a Shona sub-tribe. It is one of a few districts in the province where the standard of living is above average. Gutu Rural District council is in charge of the day-to-day running of the district.

John Nkomo

Dr. John Landa Nkomo (22 August 1934 – 17 January 2013) was a Zimbabwean politician who served as Vice President of Zimbabwe from 2009 to 2013. After serving for years as a minister in the government of Zimbabwe, he was the Speaker of Parliament from 2005 to 2008. He was then appointed to the Senate in 2008 and was Minister of State in the President's Office in 2009. Nkomo was also a key figure in the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF); he was National Chairman of ZANU–PF until December 2009, when he was elected as Vice President of ZANU–PF. As a consequence of his elevation to the party's vice presidency, he also became Vice President of Zimbabwe in December 2009.

Joice Mujuru

Joice "Teurai-Ropa" Mujuru (born Runaida Mugari; 15 April 1955) is a Zimbabwean politician who served as Vice-President of Zimbabwe from 2004 to 2014. Previously she had served as a government minister. She also served as Vice-President of ZANU-PF. She was married to Solomon Mujuru until his death in 2011 and was long considered a potential successor to President Robert Mugabe, but in 2014 she was denounced for allegedly plotting against Mugabe. As a result of the accusations against her, Mujuru lost both her post as Vice-President and her position in the party leadership. She was expelled from the party a few months later, after which she formed the new Zimbabwe People First party.

List of ambassadors of the United Kingdom to Zimbabwe

The Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Republic of Zimbabwe is the United Kingdom's foremost diplomatic representative in Zimbabwe, and head of the UK's diplomatic mission in Harare.

Zimbabwe (formerly the Republic of Rhodesia) became an independent nation in 1980 following the Lancaster House Agreement on 21 December 1979. Initially Zimbabwe was a member of the British Commonwealth so the UK's diplomatic representatives were High Commissioners. Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003, since when the UK's representatives have been Ambassadors.

Emmerson Mnagagwa, the President of Zimbabwe has stated that Zimbabwe will seek a return to its membership of the Commonwealth during 2018, following in the footsteps of The Gambia, which returned to its status as a Commonwealth republic on 8 February 2018. If this does occur, then the UK's head of mission in Zimbabwe will again be a High Commissioner.

Nelson Chamisa

Nelson Chamisa (born 2 February 1978) is a Zimbabwean politician, who is the President of the Movement for Democratic Change and previously served as Member of the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe from Kuwadzana, Harare. Chamisa was the MDC Alliance's candidate for president in the 2018 general election, having previously been the leader of the party's youth wing.

Phelekezela Mphoko

Report Phelekezela Mphoko (born 11 June 1940) is a Zimbabwean politician, diplomat, businessman and former military commander who served as Vice-President of Zimbabwe from 2014 until 2017, as well as Zimbabwe's ambassador to Russia, Botswana and South Africa. Legally, Mphoko was the acting President of Zimbabwe from 21–24 November 2017, however, as he was not in the country at the time, official standing on this is unclear. Mphoko's term as vice-president was ended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa following the dissolution of the cabinet on 27 November 2017.

President of Rhodesia

The President of Rhodesia was the head of state of Rhodesia from 1970 to 1979. As Rhodesia reckoned itself as a parliamentary republic rather than a presidential republic at the time, the president's post was almost entirely ceremonial, and the real power continued to be vested in Rhodesia's Prime Minister, Ian Smith. Two individuals held the office of president, while two others served as acting presidents. All were white people of British descent. As with Rhodesia itself, the position lacked international recognition for the entire period.

President of Zimbabwe Rhodesia

The President of Zimbabwe Rhodesia was the head of state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia. Like the country itself, it was never internationally recognized.

The only President of Zimbabwe Rhodesia was Josiah Zion Gumede.

Prime Minister of Zimbabwe

The Prime Minister of Zimbabwe was a political office in the government of Zimbabwe that existed on two separate occasions. The first person to hold the position was Robert Mugabe from 1980 to 1987 following independence from the United Kingdom. He took office when Southern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980. This position was abolished when the constitution was amended in 1987 and Mugabe became President of Zimbabwe, replacing Canaan Banana as the head of state while also remaining the head of government. The office of Prime Minister was restored in 2009 and held by Morgan Tsvangirai until the position was again abolished by the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Provinces of Zimbabwe

Provinces are constituent political entities of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe currently has ten provinces, two of which are cities with provincial status. Zimbabwe is a unitary state, and its provinces exercise only the powers that the central government chooses to delegate. Provinces are divided into districts, which are divided into wards.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe delineates provincial governance and powers. After constitutional amendments in 1988, provinces were administered by a governor directly appointed by the President of Zimbabwe. Since the 2013 constitutional changes, there are technically no longer provincial governors, though in practice they remain in place as Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs. The 2013 Constitution also calls for the devolution of governmental powers and responsibilities where appropriate, though Zimbabwean opposition parties argue that the central government has yet to comply.With the establishment of Company rule in Rhodesia in the 1890s, the country was divided into two provinces: Matabeleland in the west and Mashonaland in the east. Under British colonial rule as Southern Rhodesia, the colony was divided into five provinces. Later, the Rhodesian government expanded the number of provinces to seven: Manicaland, Matabeleland North and South, Mashonaland North and South, Midlands, and Victoria (today Masvingo). In the 1980s, Mashonaland North and South became three provinces, and the capital, Harare, was made a province. The youngest province, Bulawayo, was split from Matabeleland North in 1997.

Robert Mugabe

Robert Gabriel Mugabe (; Shona: [muɡaɓe]; born 21 February 1924) is a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as President from 1987 to 2017. He chaired the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) group from 1975 to 1980 and led its successor political party, the ZANU – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), from 1980 to 2017. Ideologically an African nationalist, during the 1970s and 1980s he identified as a Marxist–Leninist, although after the 1990s self-identified only as a socialist. His policies have been described as Mugabeism.

Mugabe was born to a poor Shona family in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia. Following an education at Kutama College and the University of Fort Hare, he worked as a school teacher in Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Ghana. Angered that Southern Rhodesia was a colony of the British Empire governed by its white minority, Mugabe embraced Marxism and joined African nationalist protests calling for an independent state led by representatives of the black majority. After making anti-government comments, he was convicted of sedition and imprisoned between 1964 and 1974. On release, he fled to Mozambique, established his leadership of ZANU, and oversaw ZANU's role in the Rhodesian Bush War, fighting Ian Smith's predominantly white government. He reluctantly took part in the peace negotiations brokered by the United Kingdom that resulted in the Lancaster House Agreement. The agreement ended the war and resulted in the 1980 general election, at which Mugabe led ZANU-PF to victory. As Prime Minister of the newly renamed Zimbabwe, Mugabe's administration expanded healthcare and education and—despite his professed Marxist desire for a socialist society—adhered largely to mainstream, conservative economic policies.

Mugabe's calls for racial reconciliation failed to stem growing white emigration, while relations with Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) also declined. In the Gukurahundi of 1982–1985, Mugabe's Fifth Brigade crushed ZAPU-linked opposition in Matabeleland in a campaign that killed at least 10,000 people, mostly Ndebele civilians. Internationally, he sent troops into the Second Congo War and chaired the Non-Aligned Movement (1986–89), the Organisation of African Unity (1997–98), and the African Union (2015–16). Pursuing decolonisation, Mugabe emphasised the redistribution of land controlled by white farmers to landless blacks, initially on a "willing seller–willing buyer" basis. Frustrated at the slow rate of redistribution, from 2000 he encouraged black Zimbabweans to violently seize white-owned farms. Food production was severely impacted, leading to famine, drastic economic decline, and international sanctions. Opposition to Mugabe grew, although he was re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2013 through campaigns dominated by violence, electoral fraud, and nationalistic appeals to his rural Shona voter base. In 2017, members of his own party ousted him in a coup, replacing him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Having dominated Zimbabwe's politics for nearly four decades, Mugabe is a controversial figure. He has been praised as a revolutionary hero of the African liberation struggle who helped to free Zimbabwe from British colonialism, imperialism, and white minority rule. Conversely, in governance he has been accused of being a dictator responsible for economic mismanagement, widespread corruption, anti-white racism, human rights abuses, and crimes against humanity.

Vice-President of Zimbabwe

The Vice-President of Zimbabwe is the second highest political position obtainable in Zimbabwe. Currently there is a provision for two Vice-Presidents, who are appointed by the President of Zimbabwe. The Vice-Presidents are designated as "First" and "Second" in the Constitution of Zimbabwe; the designation reflects their position in the presidential order of succession.

Under the ruling ZANU–PF party, the vice-presidential post ranked first in the order of succession has traditionally been reserved for a representative of the party's historical ZANU wing (mainly ethnic Shona), while the other vice-presidential post has gone to a representative of the party's historical ZAPU wing (mainly ethnic Northern Ndebele).

Heads of state of Zimbabwe and its antecedents
Rhodesia Flag of Rhodesia
(1970–1979, after UDI in 1965)
Zimbabwe Rhodesia Flag of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia
Zimbabwe Flag of Zimbabwe
(since 1980)
Heads of state and government of Africa
Heads of state
Heads of government
Defunct states
and governments


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