In February 2000, the government’s draft constitution was rejected by the majority of voters representing the first electoral challenge to the hegemonic and increasingly authoritarian rule of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling nationalist Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Zanu(PF) party’s twenty-year rule (Amanda & Raftopoulos 2003:10). This culminated in a wave of war veteran-led farm invasions that saw many white commercial farmers losing their farms in the violence that ensued. Thus, Zimbabwe’s economy mainly being agro-based, the farm invasions precipitated the deepening economic decline which resulted in the disintegration of commercial farming. This also led to the decline in tourism as a result of the country’s negative publicity, major losses in foreign currency earnings, a fall in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 24 percent and a significant rise in arrears of Zimbabwe’s foreign debt of US$3.4, the withdrawal of Western Aid and substantial loss of foreign investment, widespread business losses, drastic fall of the Zimbabwean dollar, crippling fuel shortages and a severe national shortage of food threatening to affect Zimbabwe’s estimated population of 13 million.( Amanda & Raftopoulos 2003).
Regardless of the negative publicity, Zimbabwe still maintains embassies in many countries across the world and more than sixty-six countries are represented in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city. It is also a member of various regional and international groupings such as the African Development Bank, The World Trade Organization, Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).