Countryaah official website, the economic and political crisis in the
country deepened during the year. Both foreign governments
and the opposition in the country criticized the corruption
and President Robert Mugabe's demand that the judiciary and
the media should submit to the government's political line.
Several countries, including Denmark, withdrew their aid.
Strikes broke out in June among the civil servants and
were followed by, among other things. a six-week medical
strike in the fall. The doctors demanded not only higher
wages, but also an upgrading of the entire healthcare
system, which was close to collapse. The health crisis
coincided with Mugabe recognizing for the first time that
AIDS has become a national disaster requiring approximately
1,200 deaths each week. The doctors' strike ended after the
government promised to double wages and better working
conditions. The entire public sector was promised better
conditions, and Mugabe also offered financial compensation
to the relatives of the thousands killed in the province of
Matabeleland during a civil conflict in the 1980s. Following
the death of Vice President Joshua Nkomo in July, Mugabe
asked at his funeral for forgiveness for the abuses that the
army's elite forces exposed to the Ndebel people.
Critics felt that Mugabe was trying to buy himself the
victory in the 2000 parliamentary elections. Growth has
virtually stopped, inflation is up 70% and every third adult
is unemployed. The war in Congo-Kinshasa was estimated to
cost the nearly ruined Zimbabwe upwards of $ 27 million a
month, but the government only admitted costs of three
million. In September, to finance the 11,000 soldiers'
presence in Congo, Zimbabwe signed an agreement with the
Kinshasa government on joint mining of Congo's gold and
diamonds. Critics saw the settlement as a form of
At the initiative of the national organization ZCTU, a
new opposition party was formed in September, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC). The party was at the forefront
of the protests against a constitutional change that was
tabled in November that, according to the opposition, does
not clearly limit the president's almost unrestricted power.
It is also not clear whether Mugabe must resign when his
term expires in 2002.