President of the
Republic of Zimbabwe
Mutungamiri weNyika ye Zimbabwe (Shona)
Presidential Standard
Emmerson Mnangagwa
since 24 November 2017
Office of the President of Zimbabwe
Executive branch of the Zimbabwean Government
StyleHis Excellency
(Formal, in international correspondence)
Comrade President
ResidenceState House
Appointerpopular vote
Term length5 years, renewable once[1]
Inaugural holderCanaan Banana
Formation18 April 1980; 44 years ago (1980-04-18)
DeputyVice-President of Zimbabwe
SalaryUS$200,000 annually (2014)[2]

The president of Zimbabwe is the head of state of Zimbabwe and head of the executive branch of the government of Zimbabwe. The president chairs the national cabinet and is the chief commanding authority of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. The incumbent president is Emmerson Mnangagwa, installed on 24 November 2017 after his predecessor, Robert Mugabe resigned in the aftermath of a 2017 coup d'état.

History of the office

See also: President of Rhodesia and President of Zimbabwe Rhodesia

The office of the president of Zimbabwe was established in 1980, when the country gained independence from the United Kingdom. Per the Lancaster House Agreement, Zimbabwe was originally a parliamentary republic, with the president serving in mostly a ceremonial role. Real power was vested in the prime minister, Robert Mugabe.

A Methodist minister, Canaan Banana, became the first president, serving until 1987. He resigned in 1987 shortly after the Constitution was amended to make the presidency an executive post, and the office of Prime Minister was abolished. Mugabe was appointed to succeed him, and was elected in his own right in 1990 and four more times thereafter.

The office of Prime Minister was restored as a result of the 2008–09 political negotiations, but abolished again following the 2013 constitutional referendum. Under the rules adopted by the same referendum, the president serves a maximum of two five-year terms.[1] This did not have a retroactive effect on past terms of office already served or currently being served as of 2013.[3] As of 2021, there is a two-term limit for the president in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The term limit has not been met by any president yet.[4]

2017 coup d'état and Mugabe's resignation

Main article: 2017 Zimbabwean coup d'état

On 14 November 2017, armed military personnel from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces invaded the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation studios in Harare before Major General Sibusiso Moyo came out on a live television broadcast declaring that the army had activated an operation that would later be known as "Operation Restore Legacy." Moyo stated that President Mugabe and his family would be safe and their security would be guaranteed, as the operation was only targeting criminals around him. What followed thereafter was a well-planned and carefully executed crackdown on members of a faction within the ruling ZANU-PF party known as G40. The Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Central Intelligence Organisation, both deemed loyal to the president, were neutralised by the army, which arrested some of their top leaders.

On 21 November 2017, facing all-but certain impeachment from a combined session of the House of Assembly and Senate, Mugabe resigned as president. Former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as his replacement on 24 November 2017.

Presidents of Zimbabwe (1980–present)

No. Portrait President Took office Left office Time in office Party Election
Canaan Banana
Banana, CanaanCanaan Banana
18 April 198031 December 19877 years, 257 daysZANU
Robert Mugabe
Mugabe, RobertRobert Mugabe
31 December 198721 November 201729 years, 325 daysZANU–PF1990
Phelekezela Mphoko
Mphoko, PhelekezelaPhelekezela Mphoko
(born 1940)
21 November 201724 November 20173 daysZANU–PF
Emmerson Mnangagwa
Mnangagwa, EmmersonEmmerson Mnangagwa
(born 1942)
24 November 2017Incumbent6 years, 149 daysZANU–PF2018

Phelekezela Mphoko was the second (and only sitting) vice-president at the time of Mugabe's resignation on 21 November 2017. Mphoko may have been acting president of Zimbabwe for three days until Mnangagwa's accession to the presidency. However, as Mphoko was not in the country at the time, and due to the unusual circumstances, any official standing on this is unclear and may never be known.[5][6][7][8]

Rank by time in office

Rank President Time in office
1 Robert Mugabe 29 years, 325 days
2 Canaan Banana 7 years, 257 days
3 Emmerson Mnangagwa 6 years, 149 days

Latest election

Main article: 2023 Zimbabwean general election

Emmerson Mnangagwa ran for election in 2023 as the ZANU–PF candidate.[9] Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition party MDC-T, died in 2018 and was replaced by Nelson Chamisa. Chamisa ran as the MDC Alliance candidate against Emmerson Mnangagwa. Emmerson Mnangagwa was re-elected without the need for a runoff, winning 50.8% of the vote to Chamisa's 44.3%. The election result was disputed by the MDC Alliance.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Zimbabweans hope for democratic rebirth". BBC News. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  2. ^ Gumbo, Lloyd (22 April 2014). "President reveals monthly salary". The Herald. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  3. ^ Allison, Simon (26 March 2013). "Even Zimbabwe's constitution waits for Mugabe to pass the baton, or pass away". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  4. ^ Cook, Candace; Siegle, Joseph. "Circumvention of Term Limits Weakens Governance in Africa". Africa Center for Strategic Studies.
  5. ^ "Mphoko is the Acting President for now". Bulawayo 24. 22 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Experts clear the air on succession". The Herald. 22 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Zimbabwe has 'phantom-like' acting president". News 24. 23 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Where is Mphoko, legally the acting President?". The Zimbabwe Mail. 22 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Zanu-PF reveals Mnangagwa as 2018 presidential candidate". The Zimbabwean. AFP. 19 November 2017.