Zimbabwe Independence Day
Zimbabwe Independence Day 18th April 1980
The Lancaster House Agreement, signed on 21st December 1979 by the leaders of the Patriotic Front ( Mugabe and Nkomo) and Muzorewa and British governments, called for a ceasefire, the drafting of a new constitution, and free universal elections within six months.
Joshua Nkomo (left) and Robert Mugabe (right), two of the leading figures in the bitter struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe from colonial white rule. If only we knew then what we know now.
The interim constitution provided for multi-party state with free elections on the basis of one man, one vote, but on two different electoral roles. Parliament was to have 100 seats, twenty of them reserved exclusively for the white minority during a ten-year transition period.
Elections were held in February 1980 and although the Patriotic Fronts Robert Mugabe did not return home until 27th January Zanu (PF) won a decisive victory and Mugabe became the first prime minister of Zimbabwe.
At the stroke of midnight on 18th April 1980, virtually two decades after the country’s Africans took up arms in the second chimurenga, just over a century after Cecil Rhodes landed in South Africa, and only eighty three years after the lands of the Ndebele and Shona were named Rhodesia by British Royal decree, Zimbabwe was born and Rhode’s statue was removed from the streets of the capital he named Salisbury, now Harare.
Raising of the New Independent Zimbabwe Flag at Rufaro Stadium at midnight on the 18th April 1980. The ceremony was attended by HRH Prince Charles.
Zimbabwe - the name is taken from zimbaramabwe, the Shona words meaning “big house of stone” – became a democratic republic headed by a President who administers government policy through a ministerial cabinet. General elections are held every five years. The two-house parliament – a senate and a house of assembly – were merged into one chamber in 1990.