This background briefing describes the situation in Zimbabwe with regard to the socialist politics of Prime Minister Mugabe, whose scientific socialism is moderated by practical constraints like the role of the Politburo and the upcoming elections, as well as the status of the country’s economy and agriculture, and its relations with South Africa. This presents a bleak picture of prospects for Zimbabwe, which has similar problems to South Africa, apart from the over-riding political difference. Zimbabwe’s problems often obscure its achievements, but neither capitalism nor pure socialism will resolve its problems. It has to take drastic action if the society is not to be permanently impoverished. Its emphasis on rural development is probably correct, but its agricultural strategy needs to present a mix between the needs of the landless or newly resettled, the communal farmers and the white commercial farmers. Much depends on the results of the 1985 election. The probability of further violence and the expectations of the people continue to create problems. An inclination towards authoritarian response will not help a government faced by these circumstances and choices.