HARARE – Zimbabwe marks the 30th anniversary of independence on Sunday. The following are some of the key dates since the ex-British colony’s independence:
April 18, 1980: Rhodesia gains independence after 90 years as a British colony, taking the new name Zimbabwe. The 1972-1979 war of independence between nationalist blacks and the minority white regime led by Ian Smith leaves 27,000 dead.
Robert Mugabe, head of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), takes power as prime minister. Joshua Nkomo, head of the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU), Mugabe’s partner in the armed struggle, becomes minister of the interior.
Feb 17, 1982: Nkomo, accused of plotting a coup, is dismissed. Armed resistance in his stronghold of Matabeleland, in the west, is met with bloody government repression. At least 20,000 die.
Dec 30, 1987: Mugabe becomes head of state after reforming the constitution to usher in a presidential regime.
Dec 19, 1989: Rival movements merge to become ZANU-PF.
March 16-17, 1996: Mugabe is re-elected with 92.7 percent of the vote, results contested by the opposition.
Feb 28, 2000: Hundreds of white-owned farms are seized by squatters and pro-Mugabe war veterans in a violent campaign.
June 24-25, 2000: Mugabe’s ZANU-PF barely keeps its hold on power in parliamentary polls against the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) launched the previous year.
March 9-11, 2002: Mugabe is re-elected president in a poll marked by violence and widely denounced as rigged. Western sanctions are imposed.
March 29, 2008: General elections. ZANU-PF’s defeat by the MDC in parliamentary polls, the first in by an opposition party, is only confirmed on April 26
May 2, 2008: Tsvangirai wins 47.9 percent of the presidential vote and Mugabe 43.2 percent. Neither has the requisite outright majority.
June 27, 2008 : Mugabe is the sole candidate in a one-man presidential run-off which Tsvangirai had withdrew from five days earlier, citing violence against his supporters.
June 29, 2008: Mugabe inaugurated for a new term.
July 10, 2008: Start of regionally mediated talks.
Sept 15, 2008: Mugabe and Tsvangirai sign a power-sharing pact.
Oct 9, 2008: Inflation rate of 231 million percent for July, is officially announced. Analysts say it is far higher.
Jan 29, 2009: Foreign currency adopted in favour of the worthless Zimbabwean dollar.
Feb 11, 2009: Unity government sworn in with Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and Mugabe retaining his office.
Oct 16, 2009: Tsvangirai suspends relations with ZANU-PF.
Feb 12, 2010: The MDC announces a deadlock and calls for fresh elections
Thursday 15 April 2010