Zimbabwe marks first independence day without Mugabe

18 April 2018 - 18:33 By AFP
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa (C) greets the crowd as he arrives for Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium on April 18, 2018 in Harare. Zimbabwe on April 18 marked its first independence day without Robert Mugabe in power, with new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa vowing to hold "credible" elections and turn around the southern African country's moribund economy.
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa (C) greets the crowd as he arrives for Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium on April 18, 2018 in Harare. Zimbabwe on April 18 marked its first independence day without Robert Mugabe in power, with new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa vowing to hold "credible" elections and turn around the southern African country's moribund economy.
Image: Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

Zimbabwe on Wednesday marked its first independence day without Robert Mugabe in power, with new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa vowing to hold "credible" elections and turn around the southern African country's moribund economy.

Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe from independence in 1980 until last November when he was forced to resign under pressure from his party, the military and the street.

Presiding over Wednesday's celebrations at the national sports stadium in Harare, Mnangagwa said: "My government has put in place measures for the holding of transparent, free, fair and credible elections."

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa (C-R) inspects a military guard of honour during Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium on April 18, 2018 in Harare. Zimbabwe on April 18 marked its first independence day without Robert Mugabe in power, with new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa vowing to hold "credible" elections and turn around the southern African country's moribund economy.
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa (C-R) inspects a military guard of honour during Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium on April 18, 2018 in Harare. Zimbabwe on April 18 marked its first independence day without Robert Mugabe in power, with new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa vowing to hold "credible" elections and turn around the southern African country's moribund economy.
Image: Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

Admitting that the country's economic crisis was causing "great hardship", he added: "My administration's focus is on the pursuit of investment-led economic recovery, job creation (and) poverty reduction."

The celebrations came as the government fired thousands of nurses who kicked off a strike demanding higher pay on Monday amid growing labour unrest.

Mnangagwa, Mugabe's former deputy and a veteran loyalist in the ruling ZANU-PF, is widely expected to retain power along with the party in the elections expected in July or August.

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa lights the Eternal Flame of Freedom during Zimbabwe Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium on April 18, 2018 in Harare. Zimbabwe on April 18 marked its first independence day without Robert Mugabe in power, with new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa vowing to hold "credible" elections and turn around the southern African country's moribund economy.
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa lights the Eternal Flame of Freedom during Zimbabwe Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium on April 18, 2018 in Harare. Zimbabwe on April 18 marked its first independence day without Robert Mugabe in power, with new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa vowing to hold "credible" elections and turn around the southern African country's moribund economy.
Image: Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change party attended the independence day celebrations, ending a boycott they had observed over Mugabe's authoritarian rule.

The ousted leader often used the occasion of independence day to harangue the West and reaffirm his total control over the former British colony.

The army briefly took power in November before Mugabe, now 94, resigned when once-loyal ZANU-PF lawmakers started impeachment proceedings against him.

His reign left Zimbabwe in dire economic decline, triggering mass emigration and a widespread collapse of public services.

A placard reads 'Zimbabwe is open for business' as people cheer and dance during Zimbabwe Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium on April 18, 2018 in Harare. Zimbabwe on April 18 marked its first independence day without Robert Mugabe in power, with new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa vowing to hold "credible" elections and turn around the southern African country's moribund economy.
A placard reads 'Zimbabwe is open for business' as people cheer and dance during Zimbabwe Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium on April 18, 2018 in Harare. Zimbabwe on April 18 marked its first independence day without Robert Mugabe in power, with new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa vowing to hold "credible" elections and turn around the southern African country's moribund economy.
Image: Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP
X