Zimbabwe marks 37 years of independence

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has marked the country’s 37th anniversary of independence with a call for tranquility even as the economy has collapsed to the point where livestock is being accepted in place of cash.

The 93-year-old Mugabe broke his tradition of walking the 100 meters to the podium and instead was driven in his official car before soldiers helped him into place.

Mugabe has been in power since the end of British colonial rule.

This once-prosperous country now faces a cash crisis and high unemployment. A bill presented to parliament last week would have banks accept livestock as collateral for loans. And an education official has said livestock can be accepted as school fees. World leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin sent congratulatory messages to mark the independence anniversary.

Separately, Mugabe said on Tuesday the country’s mining industry needs to be “reorganized” so that it contributes more toward the African country’s economy.

Although Mugabe did not give details on what form the transformation would take, his government has, in recent years, pressured mining firms to transfer majority stakes to black ownership under a 2008 law and to cede some claims.

“There is a lot of work which is going on in that sector, not least the reorganisation whose completion we impatiently await,” he said.


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