British Empire’s Rhodesia to Zimbabwe: 90 years of freedom struggle amid military coup d’etat

Indian EAM Dr. S Jaishankar, wished Zimbabwe on the 42nd anniversary of its freedom struggle. He congratulated Fredrick MM Shava, Zimbabwean counterpart on Sunday. Zimbabwe and India have shared close ties right from Zimbabwe’s freedom struggle to achieve it.

India’s External Affairs Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar, wished Zimbabwe on the 42nd anniversary of its freedom struggle. He congratulated Fredrick MM Shava, Zimbabwean counterpart on Sunday. Zimbabwe and India have shared close ties right from Zimbabwe’s freedom struggle to achieve it. India had invited former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, after the landlocked country in Southern Africa had achieved independence from the colonial rule on 18 April 1980.

The freedom struggle was celebrated in a concert where many important international figures attended the event. Alongside the dignitaries such as Prince Charles, the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, attended the event. Robert Mugabe was a part of the freedom struggle from 1960. Four years later, he was jailed for nearly ten years for being a staunch opposition to the white minority rule, which Mugabe often criticized and valiantly fought. But, for nearly 90 years, the freedom struggle claimed millions of lives, and contrastingly it made the opposition against colonial rule even strong.

How was Mugabe elected as the first Prime Minister of the country?

In 1965, Ian Douglas, who was the first Prime Minister of Rhodesia. Zimbabwe, then being referred to as Rhodesia – a term used after British Colonial administrator, Cecil Rhodes – was ruled earlier by the British South African Company (BSAC). In 1965, the freedom movement started catching fire in Rhodesia but caved under the condition of obtaining ‘majority votes’ to gain freedom from Britain. It was initiated by the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) made by Ian Douglas Smith. But Ian Douglas suffered a backlog when he couldn’t earn International recognition for Zimbabwe – Rhodesia that replaced Southern Rhodesia only after Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa swept the first elections of the country but still lacked International recognition and majority.

Three months later, the country was again taken back into the hands of colonial rule. As it was conveyed under the Lancaster House Agreement. The agreement was used for the transition of power. The colonial rule continued until Robert Mugabe who was the head of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), swept elections with the majority and became the first Prime Minister of India to achieve International recognition. On 18 April 1980, Southern Rhodesia achieved international recognition and majority. A ceremony was arranged to make Robert Mugabe the Prime Minister of the country. And nearly 35, 000 people were present for the event.

Political turmoil in the country

In 2017, Robert Mugabe, 93, resigned as the oldest Prime Minister in the world. He was often criticized by the world leaders for his attitude that carried oppression towards his country’s people. He was placed under house arrest by the Military in Harare. Later, Mnangagwa became the president in November 2017. Amidst the reports of blasts and growing criminal conspiracies against Robert Mugabe, the Military had taken over the country. Nearly, all the access points to parliament and the president’s residences were sealed.

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