Robert G. Mugabe is currently the president of Zimbabwe, officially he is the head of state and government and the commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces. He leads a unity government with other political parties in the multi-party state that is Zimbabwe.
He works with the prime minister of the country, Morgan Tsvangirai, who ran against him in presidential elections in 2008 and lost. After loosing the election Morgan Tsvangirai alleged corruption. Pressure from countries - formerly allied with the pre-independence white minority government of the country then called Rhodesia, including the United Kingdom and the United States - for Mugabe to include Tsvangirai in government eventually led to Tsvangirai being appointed to the post of prime minister.
Tsvangirai gained the esteem of the United Kingdom and the United States when he opposed Robert Mugabe's program of redistributing land to Black Zimbabweans that was appropriated from white farmers. The United Kingdom and the United States who had supported the white minority government prior to Zimbabwean independence in 1980 alleged human rights abuses against Mugabe for his seizure of about 70% the nations arable land that had previously been under the control of about 4,500 farmers that were almost exclusively white Zimbabweans in a country with a population of about 12 million.
Robert Mugabe stated that his land reform policies were to address land ownership patterns that had not changed since Black Zimbabweans were not legally allowed to purchase most land during the days of apartheid-style minority governance. In response to these policies the United Kingdom and the United States stated that Robert Mugabe set an example of poor governance and should return the land to the approximatley 4500 white Zimbabwean farmers because it was unfair that they should loose their land that they had been on for over a generation because of the actions of the apartheid government that provided them with the right to purchase that land without compensation to Black Zimbabweans that had lived there previously.
To the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States it was innappropriate for the Zimbabwean government to deny the property rights of this group of farmers just because they may have acquired the land through means that are today recognized as racism, part of the argument stating that it was unfair to apply our current modern standards of equal opportunity for all races to the long-ago social environment prior to 1980, when racial discrimination was more widely accepted as legitimate in southern Africa.
As of September 2009 both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, once rivals and now partners in government, have been working to revive the battered Zimbabwean economy that has suffered from a decade of sanctions and hyperinflation. Whereas inflation has been arrested and is now better controlled, it has proven far more difficult to get the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries that formerly supported the apartheid government of pre-independence Zimbabwe to remove the economic santions they applied to Zimbabwe.
Both the UK and the USA have stated that despite the fact that the two political rivals, Mugabe and Tsvangirai, are working together they will not remove the economic sanctions until land reform is reversed and the 70% of Zimbabwe's arable land is handed back over to those farmers who were legally allowed to purchase the land by the apartheid government of Rhodesia (pre-independence Zimbabwe).
Currently the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, China, Russia, and the non-Aligned movement have called for the removal of sanctions to allow the Zimbabwean economy to recover and the Zimbabwean government to be able to purchase medicines and food and pay teachers and doctors.
Those countries that have applied the sanctions continue to refuse to remove sanctions citing concern for the return of property rights for farmers, and in the meantime pledge humanitarian aid in the form of shipments of corn meal to ease the suffering of certain segments of the Zimbabwean population who oppose President Robert Mugabe.