Zimbabwe’s president says his party’s symbol of a raised fist was used to fight colonial-era white rule and is not a gesture of violence toward fellow Zimbabweans.
President Robert Mugabe said Monday that the power of the fist symbol helped the party defeat colonial oppression and urged the nation to prepare peacefully for a referendum on a new constitution and elections afterward.
Brandishing his trade-mark clenched fist salute at a ceremony honoring guerrillas who died in the bush war that ended white rule in 1980, Mugabe described it as “the punch that knocked them down.”
He said: “It was not for violence against our own kind.”
The last disputed elections in 2008 were marred by violence blamed mainly on Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and led to a power sharing coalition with the former opposition brokered by regional leaders.