Key dates in Zim's post-independence history

2013-07-29 09:00

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Harare - Zimbabwe holds crucial presidential elections on Wednesday, to end an uncomfortable power-sharing government formed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai after violent and disputed polls in 2008.

The following are some of the key dates since the ex-British colony's independence:

- 18 April 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.

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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.

- 17 February  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.

- 30 December 1987: Mugabe becomes head of state after reforming the constitution to usher in a presidential regime.

- December 19 1989: Rival movements merge to become Zanu-PF.

- 16-17 March 1996: Mugabe is re-elected with 92.7% of the vote, results contested by the opposition.

- 28 February 2000: Hundreds of white-owned farms are seized by squatters and pro-Mugabe war veterans in a violent campaign.

- 24-25 June 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.

- 9-11 March 2002: Mugabe is re-elected president in a poll marked by violence and widely denounced as rigged. Western sanctions are imposed.

- 29 March 2008: General elections. Zanu-PF is defeated by the MDC in parliamentary polls. Tsvangirai wins the first-round presidential vote, but then withdraws from the second round citing violence against his supporters. Mugabe is inaugurated for a new term.

- 15 September 2008: Mugabe and Tsvangirai sign a power-sharing pact.

- 9 October 2008: Inflation rate of 231 million percent for July, is officially announced.

- 29 January 2009: Foreign currency adopted in favour of the worthless Zimbabwean dollar.

- 11 February 2009: Unity government sworn in with Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and Mugabe retaining his office.

- 6 May 2009: The International Monetary Fund announces the resumption of its technical assistance.

- 17 February 2012: The European Union agrees to lift some of its sanctions.

- 16 March 2013: Zimbabweans overwhelmingly approve a new constitution at a referendum, paving the way for elections.

- 25 March: The EU lifts most of its sanctions.

- 5-7 July: Mugabe and Tsvangirai launch their campaigns for the 31 July polls.

For all Zimbabwe election stories please visit our Zimbabwe Special Report Page.

Read more on:    zapu  |  mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  ian smith  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  zimbabwe elections 2013  |  southern africa

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