From the beginning of the country’s independence, racial tensions

From the beginning of the country’s independence, racial tensions have run high between white inhabitants of British descent and native black Zimbabweans.  For example, during the 2000’s, the Zimbabwean government claimed much of the farmland owned by white farmers as eminent domain that disrupted the agricultural way of life for many white Zimbabwean families.  Since 1987, Zimbabwe has been governed by a presidential republic, with three branches: executive, legislative and judicial.  This three branch government system is similar to the United States in its construction and balance of power.  For the majority of the country’s history, Robert Mugabe has served as the Executive President.  Contrary to the U.S. government system, there were no term limits on the office of the Executive President until 2013, so President Mugabe has had many years of leadership influence over the nation.  After months of intense pressure, the former Vice President, Emerson Mnangagwa led a military to force the resignation of President Mugabe.  The President’s resignation came about on November 21, 2017 at the age of 93 and Emerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as the current Executive President of Zimbabwe.While the future political situation of Zimbabwe is continuing to unfold with the new President, it will be interesting to see if any changes are made that affect the political climate of doing business.  From 1996 to 2015, Zimbabwe has had an average political stability of -1.01 point, on a scale of -2.5 (weak) to 2.5 (strong), so the country is rather politically unstable.  While there is a relatively high amount of political instability, only a small percentage of the population takes part in the political process, which seems to suggest that citizens feel that the advantages of aligned with a specific party, with only about 13% of the population being classified as active members of a political party, according to the World Values Survey.For visitors traveling to Zimbabwe, the current political climate would be something to take into consideration.  According to a 2011 World Values Survey, when asked if inhabitants felt unsafe from crime in their own homes, only about 6.5% of respondents stated that they often felt unsafe in the presence of their own homes.  Compared to the United States percentage of the respondents who indicated that they often felt unsafe in their own homes, 1.6%, this percentage might seem high for some visitors, but considering the political constraints and acts of corruption that have taken place in this country, it is remarkable that just over 6% is exposed to crime on an annual basis.Much of the land in Zimbabwe is owned by the government, such as the farms seized from white farmers in the 2000’s, but also protected wildlife conservation areas.  While much of the land is patrolled by national park rangers, the government has not invested the funds needed to properly rid the land of large trophy hunting and poaching.  On top of poorly maintained game lands, much of the population was unemployed or underemployed during President Mugabe’s time in office, so park rangers were actually allowed to kill some of the protected wildlife in order to feed hungry Zimbabweans who could not afford food.  The government claimed that the hunger was due to immense droughts, but record rainfalls in the early 2000’s did not support these claims.  In 2005, to celebrate the country’s 25 year anniversary of independence, government officials were told to kill 10 elephants on one of the national game lands to celebrate.  Even with protective efforts in place, the government still has the authority to kill preserved wildlife for any reason deemed necessary.  In addition, there are laws in place that prevent poaching, however, rangers are often unable to keep up with the amount of illegal activity due to the lack of government funding that they receive.  For example, in 2006, one of the game lands in Matabeleland lost 6,000 animals to poachers, unable to be stopped because the park rangers were not given a large enough fuel budget to patrol the area.  Even the national parks that are able to protect the wildlife do not even have the funds to turn on the water pumps for the wildlife to drink.  If animals due decide to leave the protected areas, they will most likely be harvested by poachers.  Specifically, elephants that leave these protected areas are likely to be killed and their ivory tusks illegally harvested.  Since a controversial decision 1997, Zimbabwe has been given to sell only the ivory that has already been harvested, but this has led to an increase in the poaching of elephants so that these stockpiles of ivory are never depleted.  In the first half of 2006, Chinese ivory dealers purchased approximately 30 tons of ivory from harvested from 2,250 different elephants.