Under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe experienced the militarization of public institutions, a further shrinking of democratic space, and the failure to uphold constitutionalism. Increased repression led to the polarization of the political domain and a continued stalemate between the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change alliance.

Zimbabwe’s continued economic decline was characterized by high prices, cash shortages, and a huge debt overhang. The phased reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar led to record inflation, which peaked at over 700% in July 2020. The economic decline resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis, with over seven million Zimbabweans in need of food aid at the end of 2020. The impact of COVID-19 further exacerbated the economic crisis.

Many of the country’s challenges remained unaddressed or even intensified. The lack of reforms, continued repression, and increased confrontational rhetoric by the ZANU-PF has halted international re-engagement efforts with Zimbabwe.

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