During local and parliamentary by-elections held during the year the voting process itself generally was peaceful; however, there were reports of violence in the pre-election periods and other irregularities, and the election processes overall had serious flaws. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, the Government installed judges sympathetic to government policies, sanctioned intimidation against sitting judges, and ignored or overturned judgments with which it did not agree.The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is responsible for maintaining law and order.

An estimated 60 percent of the population of approximately 12 million survived on subsistence agriculture, and approximately 75 percent relied directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihood; however, there were significant mining, manufacturing, and service sectors.

The political crisis, a drought, excessive government spending, manipulation of interest rates, money supply growth in excess of 100 percent, and government-sanctioned land occupations led to inflation; diminished agricultural harvests; reduced foreign investment and tourism; acute foreign exchange, fuel, and food shortages; accelerating unemployment; and shrinking real incomes.

During the year, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) dropped 14 percent from $4.2 billion to an estimated $3.6 billion.

The Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), under the Minister of State for National Security in the President's Office, is responsible for internal and external security and has powers of arrest.

While supposedly a youth service training program, National Youth Service (youth militia) graduates were used for many security-related activities.

Senior government and ruling party members tightly controlled the security forces and the youth militias.Members of the security forces and youth militias committed numerous, serious human rights abuses.Home » Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights » Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor » Releases » Human Rights Reports » 2003 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices » Africa » Zimbabwe Zimbabwe is a republic in which President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) have dominated the executive and legislative branches of the Government since independence in 1980.President Mugabe was reelected in March 2002 in elections that were deemed not free and fair, and which were preceded and followed by a government-sanctioned campaign of violence.Although the Constitution allows for multiple parties, opposition parties and their supporters were subjected to significant intimidation and violence by the ruling party and security forces, especially after successful opposition sponsored general strikes.In 1999, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) emerged as the country's only viable opposition party and holds 53 out of 120 parliamentary seats.