Zimbabwe's economy is in ruins, with hyperinflation and unemployment at around 90 percent. Millions are in need of food aid, and the country's infrastructure and institutions in shambles. Nonetheless, the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of independence from Britain are likely to be lavish. The line-up of dignitaries at the official events can be taken as a guide to the success or failure of President Robert Mugabe's plan to end the isolation of the country formerly known as Rhodesia.
According to the Pan-African News Wire, the family of the late reggae legend Bob Marley is expected to grace a concert to commemorate Zimbabwe's 30th Independence anniversary at the Glamis Stadium in Harare on April 17. Their father was part of the festivities at the birth of an independent Zimbabwe in 1980. The entertainment also includes a soccer match between Zimbabwe's Warriors and the Chinese national team. ; In 29th anniversary celebrations were held at the National Sports Stadium, and included a parade of uniformed forces, and massed entertainers. They were the first presided over by the unity government. The 30th anniversary is likely to see something of the kind. Mugabe agreed to the unity government with his long-time rival, the new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in hopes of convincing his critics in the West that he is really sharing power. If representatives of the British-led Commonwealth of Nations or the European Union or the United States are present at the celebrations, he will have gone some way to convincing them. Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in Mar 2002, following the country's flawed presidential election and Mugabe's campaign of intimidation against judges, journalists and the opposition. Mugabe withdrew from the organization shortly afterwards. UPDATED Mar/10
Date written/update: 2010-04-17