Government land seizures redistributed farmland to government supporters, practically destroying the whole agriculture industry, removing export ability, food security and much of the rural population’s jobs. Poor monetary policies and huge, unsustainable government spending produced massive budget deficits. The government tried to make up for the debt by printing off more money, leading to hyper inflation. They remained in power by using violence and intimidation.
Zimbabwe has had an economic meltdown since 2000. Food production declined ~1/3 from 2000 to 2005. 45% of Zimbabweans are malnourished.
Annual inflation in 2008 was 11,000,000%, so a loaf of bread ing Z$5 in 1998 would cost Z$1.6 x 10^12 in 2008.
Many skilled and highly educated workers have left the country, leading to a lack of doctors, nurses and farmers. Foreign aid has been suspended and few foreign investors are left. Poverty has become the norm. 30% lived in poverty (less than US$2 daily) in 1999 while 83% did in 2009.