According to localcollegeexplorer, the social and economic decline represented the dominant note of the Zimbabwe between the 20th and the 21st century, in evident contrast with the signs of recovery coming from the other countries of southern Africa. This situation was marked by a general impoverishment, a worsening of health conditions linked above all to the spread of AIDS (life expectancy at birth had dropped to 37 years in 2005) and by the increasingly despotic and authoritarian power of RG Mugabe, president of the Zimbabwe since independence, who, with his party, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), continued to maintain control of Parliament and the government in the face of an opposition strongly repressed by the regime, but often unable to offer itself to growing popular dissatisfaction as a credible alternative. In February 2000 Mugabe, defeated in a referendum that rejected his request for new powers, including that of expropriating the land without any form of compensation, immediately took the initiative by openly supporting the occupation of commercial farms by veterans of the liberation war, with the start of a spiral of violence that caused victims among the white owners and among the militants of the opposition. At the end of June the legislative elections took place in a situation of growing social tension and in a climate of intimidation that forced the UN to withdraw its experts, after the government refused to accredit two hundred international observers.(MDC) 47 % of the votes and 57 seats. Despite allegations of fraud and the Supreme Court’s ruling to repeat elections in three constituencies, Mugabe increased scrutiny over the press and, in February 2001, MDC leader M. Tsvangirai was indicted for inciting violence. The attack on white farmers meanwhile became official government policy with the announcement that five hundred more farms would be requisitioned. Attempts by the judiciary to put a stop to the claims of expropriation without compensation caused disputes between it and the government, which led to the resignation of the president of the Supreme Court (March 2001) and the increase from 5 to 8 in the number of members of the Court, with the appointment of judges more favorable to the government. Farm occupations continued throughout 2001, as agricultural production collapsed and the expatriation of the white community intensified. New laws (Jan. 2002) further limited press freedom and the possibilities for international election observation, also hampering electoral propaganda. The repressive spiral, despite the sanctions decreed by the European Union and the United States (February), again led to the indictment of Tsvangirai on the eve of the presidential elections. The consultation, held in March 2002, again saw Mugabe win with 56 % of the vote, against 42 % of Tsvangirai, amid suspicions of fraud and appeals. The result was followed by the resumption of land occupations, as the government announced that the expropriation would eventually affect about 85 % of commercial farms and Mugabe ordered 2,900 white farmers to abandon their properties by 25 June. The exasperated climate of threats against the opposition and clashes with international organizations continued unabated until, in December 2003, the government unilaterally declared the country’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth, from which it had already been suspended. In spite of this dramatic situation and despite the differences that were also present within the ZANU-PF, no political and social mobilization took place and it was again the president who managed the crisis, modifying the electoral districts in December 2004 in order to penalize the opposition. In the legislative elections of March 2005, which saw the participation of 48 % of those eligible, ZANU-PF won the 59, 6 % of the vote and 78 seats out of 120, against 39, 5% of votes and the 41 seats of the MDC, for a long time uncertain about participation in elections which it considered lacking sufficient guarantees. Under the Constitution, however, it was up to the president to assign another 12 seats, while 10 were reserved for the heads of tribal groups, loyal to Mugabe, and 8 for the governors of the provinces. The overall result therefore gave the President the majority of 2 / 3 of the Parliament that it was necessary to change the Constitution in key authoritarian, guaranteeing the executive powers, allowing the nationalization of farms and restricting foreign travel and personal freedom. In April 2006,with an economy in increasingly precarious conditions and even with most of the expropriated farms still unproductive for lack of technical skills, seeds and fertilizers, the government offered white farmers to rent and manage part of the expropriated land clashing with the refusal of the few still left in the country (the white population had gone from over 200,000 to about 25,000 people). In May 2006, the central statistics office estimated the Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate at 1000 %, formalizing a situation increasingly close to bankruptcy.