President: Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe has been the leader of Zimbabwe for the three decades of its independence.
He was a key figure in the struggle for independence, which involved a bitter bush war against a white minority which had cut the country loose from the colonial power Britain.
When he was first elected in 1980 he was praised for reaching out to the white minority and his political rivals, as well as for what was considered a pragmatic approach to the economy.
However, he soon expelled from his government of national unity the party whose stronghold was in the south of the country and launched an anti-opposition campaign in which thousands died.
In the mid-1990s he embarked on a programme of land redistribution, in which commercial farmers were driven off the land by mobs. The programme was accompanied by a steady decline in the economy.
As the opposition to his rule increased, he and his ruling ZANU-PF party grew more determined to stay in power. Critics accuse him of heading a military regime.
In the elections of 2008, ZANU-PF lost its parliamentary majority and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mr Mugabe in the presidential vote but with insufficient votes to avoid a run-off.
Mr Mugabe was sworn in for another term in June 2008 after a widely-condemned run-off vote from which Mr Tsvangirai withdrew because of attacks on his supporters.
Under international pressure, Mr Mugabe agreed a power-sharing deal with Mr Tsvangirai, who was made prime minister.
However, Mr Mugabe has made no secret of his distaste for the arrangement and Mr Tsvangirai has complained of a lack of co-operation and a return of violence against his party's supporters.
After years on wrangling, the two parties in early 2013 agreed on a new constitution, which was overwhelmingly approved at a referendum in March.
It curbs the president's powers, sets a two-term limit for the office, creates elected provincial legislatures, establishes a constitutional court and provides for elections later in the year.
Ideologically, Mr Mugabe belongs to the African liberationist tradition of the 1960s - strong and ruthless leadership, anti-Western, suspicious of capitalism and deeply intolerant of dissent and opposition.
Prime Minister: Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister in February 2009, following months of wrangling over a power-sharing agreement originally signed in September 2008.
A final accord on power-sharing was reached in January, after Mr Tsvangirai returned to Zimbabwe following an absence of more than two months for fresh talks with President Mugabe.
Earlier negotiations had faltered after the MDC accused Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF of keeping the most powerful ministries - including the one that controls the police - to itself.
In a speech after his inauguration, Mr Tsvangirai called for an end to human rights abuses and political violence. He also pledged to do all in his power to help alleviate the suffering of Zimbabweans.
Mr Tsvangirai is a former union leader who helped found the Movement for Democratic Change in 1999.
As MDC leader he has faced intimidation, treason charges, physical assault and at one stage was charged with plotting to kill Mr Mugabe.
The son of a bricklayer, Mr Tsvangirai worked as a miner for a number of years, before climbing to the top of the country's trade union movement.
He first took on the government when, as secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, he led a series of strikes against high taxes in the late 1990s.
Soon after becoming PM, Mr Tsvangirai was hit by personal tragedy when his wife Susan died in a car crash in March 2009.