Zimbabwe recently marked its 36th independence anniversary from British colonial rule but for many there was little to celebrate. As Kirsty Basset reports, poverty and unemployment are everywhere thanks to a prolonged economic meltdown.
Ninety-two year old Robert Mugabe has been in power in Zimbabwe since the end of British colonial rule in 1980. He recently led the country's independence day celebrations. But for many, there's little to celebrate. A battered economy and unemployment rate analysts say is at more than 80 per cent has left many just scraping by. (SOUNDBITE) (Shona) PATRICK MAZARURA, HARARE RESIDENT, SAYING: "I make a living filling potholes on the roads in Harare and that is how I manage to take care of my family. Sometimes I get 5, sometimes 10 US dollars or even 15 US dollars in a day. It is better than nothing." Zimbabwe's economy shrank 45 per cent in the decade to 2009 due to plummeting farming output and hyper-inflation. And more recently an El-Nino triggered drought has hit the country hard, leaving four million people hungry, and needing food aid. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TAKURA ZHANGAZHA, POLITICAL ANALYST, SAYING: "When you look at the last 36 years you are going to see a lot more negatives than positives to our national independence, the negative being centred on the plummeting economy which has failed to serve the needs of the people." Many blame Mugabe for the state of the nation. In what was the biggest rally in over a decade, close to 2000 people marched through central Harare recently, calling for him to step down. And with the economic situation unlikely to change anytime soon, more protests are planned.