Mozambique marks 40 years of independence with pomp and parades

25th June 2015, Comments 0 comments

Mozambique on Thursday marked 40 years of independence from Portugal with military parades and displays in extravagant ceremonies that were shunned by the opposition.

Some 40,000 people attended the festivities in the seaside capital Maputo. Several heads of state also attended, including Zimbabwe's President and African Union Chair Robert Mugabe.

"It is in this stadium, with emotionally charged words, that (independence leader) Samora Machel proclaimed national independence," President Filipe Nyusi declared.

"As we did 40 years ago, today we cry loudly 'down with divisions'," he added.

Sporting brand-new uniforms for the occasion, the military staged a parade, with paratroopers making a spectacular landing, and fighter jets flying above the Machava Stadium in Maputo's outskirts.

The main event was the arrival of the "flame of unity", a torch symbolising togetherness that has been carried across the southern African country since April 7.

But conspicuously absent from the celebrations was former rebel commander and now opposition Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, who claims the October elections that brought the ruling Frelimo party back to power were rigged.

Renamo waged a 16-year war against Frelimo before signing a peace deal in 1992, and ended a renewed low-level insurgency just weeks ahead of last October's election.

Mozambique has recently become a prime investment destination following the recent discovery of huge natural gas and coal deposits.


© 2015 AFP

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