Political power in Zimbabwe is split between three branches, the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches, with President as the head of the executive branch, the Prime Minister the head of the legislative branch and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe the head of the judicial branch.
Under Zimbabwe's Constitution, the president is the head of state and government, elected by popular majority vote. Prior to 2013, the president was elected for a 6-year term with no term limits. The new constitution approved in the 2013 constitutional referendum limits the president to two 5-year terms, but this does not take effect retrospectively (Robert Mugabe has held the office since 1987).
The Cabinet is appointed by the president and responsible to the House of Assembly.
Parliament (formerly known as the House of Assembly) has 120 members elected by the common-roll electorate, 10 tribal chiefs, 12 presidential appointees, eight presidentially appointed provincial governors, the Speaker, and the Attorney General. It may serve for a maximum of five years.
The judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe who, like their contemporaries, is appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. The Constitution has a Bill of Rights containing extensive protection of human rights. The Bill of Rights could not be amended for the first 10 years of independence except by unanimous vote of Parliament.
The Supreme Court is the highest court of order and the final court of appeal. The Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, is the senior judge. Others who sit on the bench of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe are Justice Paddington Garwe, former Judge-President of the High Court, Wilson Sandura, Vernanda Ziyambi and Luke Malaba.
The legal system is based on Roman-Dutch law with South African influences. A five member Supreme Court, headed by the Chief-Justice has original jurisdiction over alleged violations of fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution and appellate jurisdiction over other matters.
There is a High Court consisting of general and appellate divisions. Below the High Court are regional magistrate's courts with civil jurisdiction and magistrate's courts with both civil and criminal jurisdiction over cases involving traditional law and custom. Beginning in 1981, these courts were integrated into the national system.