Zimbabwe at a crossroads 44 years into independence


Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa join the nation to celebrate the country's Independence Day in Murambinda, Manicaland, Zimbabwe

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Bureau
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE has marked 44 years of independence amid typical political polarization, a message to so-called detractors and the impact of climate change-induced drought.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed the nation at a well-attended event in the Murambinda growth point in the eastern province of Manicaland on Thursday.

Speaking at the commemorations at this area approximately 250 kilometres from the capital, Harare, the president said the country was on a recovery path after years of inflation.

He said the Southern African country’s gross domestic product (GDP) had grown by US$16 billion to $47 billion between 2018, when he came to power, and now.

“In spite of COVID- 19 and attacks by our detractors, we continue to foster an environment that attracts investment in the country,” Mnangagwa said.

Mnangagwa, the second elected president since independence from Britain in 1980, has led an administration that has fragile relations with the ex-coloniser and the West.

These have maintained sanctions after accusations of human rights violations and vote rigging.

Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State, congratulated Zimbabweans on behalf of the administration of President Joe Biden.

He said America remained committed to partnering with the people of Zimbabwe as they endeavoured toward a more just, equitable and healthy society.

“The United States is pleased to support Zimbabwean efforts to promote democracy and respect for human rights,” Blinken stated on Thursday.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) congratulated Zimbabwe on its Independence Day on Thursday.

“SADC family joins the Government & people of Zimbabwe, in a happy & memorable 44th Independence Anniversary celebration. Zimbabwe gained its independence from British colonial rule on 18 April 1980. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY ZIMBABWE,” reads a statement from the SADC Executive Secretary Elias Magosi.

Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) congratulated its counterpart, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and Zimbabweans on Independence Day.

“The people of Tanzania and the CCM are deeply proud to have friends in the south with whom we fought shoulder to shoulder during the liberation struggles. Our shared history has solidified a bond of brotherhood that stands the test of time,” CCM stated.
On the occasion of the 44th Independence Day of #Zimbabwe & the 44th anniversary of diplomatic relations, President Xi Jinping sent warm congratulations to President E. D. Mnangagwa and reaffirmed our comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation.

Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zhou Ding, attended the Zimbabwe Independence celebrations in Murambinda, Buhera, Manicaland.

“What a joy to join in the celebration of the 44th Independence Day at Murambinda! My tribute to all who have fought for the hard won victory against colonialism, and who have safeguarded the unity and development of. Happy Independence Day, Zimbabwean brothers and sisters,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter

In the second city of Bulawayo, Mayor David Coltart, of the torn-apart Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) snubbed the local celebrations claiming while a general notice had been sent out to councilors, the office of Mayor had not been invited by government to attend.

“This is a basic courtesy which should be extended to the office, not me personally as such,” he said.

The ruling party-aligned ZANU-PF slammed him.

“David Coltart did well by not attending independence celebrations. He killed our people,” it said of the white mayor.

“We defeated him and other Smith regime soldiers. He is still bitter. We did not want bitter people at independence events today.”

Zimbabwe recently declared a state of emergency following its worst dry spell in years.

The government has also introduced a new gold-backed currency, Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG), after years of hyperinflation led to the demise of its dollar.

– CAJ News

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