Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Thousands Mark Zimbabwe Defense Forces Anniversary
This picture collage shows Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces President Mugabe presenting colours to various military units and formations and the capacity crowd at the 60 000-seater National Sports Stadium where the 36th anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces was commemorated in Harare yesterday

Herald Reporters

Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans from all walks of life yesterday thronged different venues countrywide to celebrate the 36th anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day, with the main event being held at the National Sports Stadium in Harare. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces were formed just after independence in 1980 through the amalgamation of the victorious revolutionary Zanla and Zipra forces as well as the vanquished Rhodesian Front.Provincial ministers and senior civil servants read the President’s speech in events held in the country’s other nine provinces.

It was a colourful event in Harare at the 60 000-seater National Sports Stadium that was punctuated with entertainment from Mbare Chimurenga Choir, and sungura musician Alick Macheso and parachute jumping from members of the Air Force of Zimbabwe.

Soccer fans were treated to a match between CAPS United and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Select.

Official proceedings started after the arrival of President Mugabe, First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe and Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko at the venue together with other senior officials at around 10am.

Soon after his arrival, President Mugabe, who is the Commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, rode the command rover and inspected the guard of honour in the company of ZDF Commander General Constantino Guvheya Chiwenga.

The inspection was followed by the presentation of colours to various regiments by President Mugabe.

In military terms, the word “colours” is used to describe different flags of various brigades, regiments and independent units.

Traditionally, colours were carried into battlefields for location purposes by soldiers of a particular regiment or unit, but now they constitute symbols of the regiment’s honour and signify its devotion to duty.

The occasion, which was the centre of attraction at the main celebrations at the National Sports Stadium, started with the piling of the flags after which representatives from the Zimbabwe National Army delivered a powerful national prayer in Shona and Ndebele.

The colours were then consecrated and the ceremony was signed off by a flyover by an AFZ Cassa aircraft amid wild cheers from the capacity crowd.

Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi said in military circles, colours were important to instil discipline and loyalty.

He gave a brief account of corporate social responsibility works being undertaken by the ZDF in various parts of the country.

Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba said yesterday’s event was an historic one.

“The colours are regarded with great reverence, hence represent the heart and spirit of the formation,” he said.

“These colours are not ordinary flags but are unique significant symbols of honour, which are commissioned and presented by none other than the Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces.”

Maj Gen Nyikayamba said the first colours in independent Zimbabwe were presented to the Zimbabwe National Army and the Airforce of Zimbabwe after the attainment of Independence in 1980.

He said the second conferment of colours was on 0ctober 30, 1981 to the commando battalion and the third was during the fifth anniversary of the Force in 1986.

Said Maj Gen Nyikayaramba: “The newly formed brigades, with units under their command and other independent units could not be conferred their respective colours due to some pressing operational commitments.

“Today, all the formations of the ZNA including units under command and two regiments are paraded before us to receive their colours in style.”

The colours were presented to 1 to 5 Infantry brigades, the Presidential Guards Brigade, Mechanised Infantry Brigade, Artillery Brigade, Harare and Bulawayo districts, Parachute regiment and the Mounted Infantry regiment.

Maj Gen Nyikayaramba said the second phase of the presentation would be held during the commissioning of the parade at the Zimbabwe Military Academy in May next year where one air defence regiment and the major training schools of the Zimbabwe National Army would also be presented their colours.

Maj Gen Nyikayaramba added: “Your Excellency, we humbly assure you that by committing these colours to our charge, they will be jealously guarded, revered and that we will be faithful to the spirit and tradition to which they are enshrined both during peace time and in war.”

After the presentation, the parade marched in slow and quick time before Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi introduced President Mugabe to deliver his keynote address.

In Chinhoyi, a bumper crowd gathered at Chinhoyi Stadium to mark Defence Forces Day amid pomp and fanfare.

Mashonaland West Minister of State Cde Faber Chidarikire led proceedings by first inspecting a parade and later reading the President’s speech.

People were treated to drill and mock battle displays by the soldiers and the stadium was full by 10 am.

Service chiefs including Group Captain Patrick Temba Moyo from the Air force of Zimbabwe, Lieutenant Colonel Julias Mupa from 2-3 Combat group of the Zimbabwe National Army, Snr Asst Commissioner George Dhenya from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services and police officer commanding Mashonaland West province Snr Asst Commissioner Rangarirayi Mushaurwa attended the celebrations.

More than 15 000 people from all walks of life thronged Sakubva Stadium in Mutare to commemorate the 36th anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

Scores of people started trickling in around 8am before Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Cde Mandi Chimene read President Mugabe’s speech.

The Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police and local traditional dance groups such as Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services outfit, Mansa and Chinyauhwera showcased some captivating drills, displays and music as well as energetic dances that left the gathering clamouring for more.

Those interviewed during the commemorations attributed the peace in Zimbabwe to the disciplined, dedicated, hardworking and honest uniformed forces.

“I came here with my whole family to commemorate this special day to us as Zimbabweans. We feel secure with security forces such as these. We believe they will continue to protect us and maintaining peace,” said Mrs Chiba of Chikanga high-density suburb.

Dangamvura – Chikanga National Assembly member, Dr Isau Mupfumi, Manicaland Senator, Sen Judith Mawire, Provincial Administrator Fungai Mbetsa and service chiefs were among those who attended the commemorations.

Eastern Region Division One soccer outfits, Buffaloes and Africa Trust wrapped up the fun-filled day with a soccer match.

In Masvingo thousands of people braved the cold weather to pack Mucheke Stadium where a number of entertainment activities were lined up.

Proceedings started after 9 am with the mass parade comprising soldiers from 4 Infantry Brigade accompanied by drum majorettes marching from Chikato Police Station to the stadium.

Service Chiefs led by 4 Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier General Exesbios Tshuma then arrived at Mucheke Stadium just before 11 am with Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Shuvai Mahofa accompanied by Psychomotor Activities Minister Josaya Hungwe arriving later.

Minister Hungwe inspected the parade in place of Sen Mahofa accompanied by Brig Gen Tshuma.

The capacity crowd was then entertained by the parade, which conducted marches in quick and slow time before Sen Mahofa proceeded to read President Mugabe’s speech.

In Bindura some rainy showers did not deter thousands who assembled at Chipadze Stadium to join the nation in celebrating the Defence Forces Day.

Thousands of people braved the chilly weather as Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and MP for Mazowe North Advocate Martin Dinha read the President’s speech.

Deputy Commander Artillery Brigade Colonel Everson Nyamangodo, said the army was there to protect the people and uphold the constitution.

“We are happy with the turnout and the cooperation by the Minister and Government. Our army is fearless, strong and loved by many countries. Let’s continue to defend our borders,” he said.

Gushungo Magamba, Bindura Urban and Chengerai Hunzvi Chimurenga choirs provided entertainment.

Scores of people from Matabeleland South province gathered at Pelandaba Stadium in Gwanda to commemorate this year’s Defence Forces Day.

Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of Culture and Heritage Minister who is also the Acting Minster of State for Matabeleland South, Abednico Ncube, led the celebrations and read the President’s speech.

The Zimbabwe National Army’s 1-1 Combat group entertained the crowd with colourful displays.

In Bulawayo, thousands gathered at White City stadium to mark the day and were treated to entertainment by the military band and other entertainment groups.

People started gathering at the stadium from as early as 8AM.

Before the official proceedings began, the military band and other music groups kept the crowds, both young and old, on their feet.

Service chiefs arrived at the venue at about 12.45PM before the arrival of the Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs, Cde Nomthandazo Moyo about 10 minutes later.

Cde Moyo read President Mugabe’s speech.

In Matabeleland North, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Cde Can Mathema, inspected the guard of honour and read the President’s speech at Somhlolo Stadium in Lupane. In attendance were service chiefs as well as the Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Cde Thokozile Mathuthu, Bubi senator Madeline Bhebhe among others.

In the Midlands province, all roads led to Mkoba Stadium. Provincial Administrator Mrs Cecilia Chitiyo represented Midlands Minister of State Cde Jason Machaya who is recuperatingfroma horrific accident.

Mrs Chitiyo was accompanied by Commandant Zimbabwe Military Academy Colonel Steven Gwekwerere, Thornhill Airbase Commander Group Captain Ellisha Masakadza, 5 Infantry Brigade Colonel Svitswa and Prisons and Correctional Services Officer Commanding Midlands and Masvingo Provinces Senior Assistant Commissioner Celesina Mupfarinya.

The army among others provided the entertainment.

Thousands honour Zim’s fallen heroes

August 9, 2016
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—

THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans yesterday thronged the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare and provincial shrines in the other nine provinces to commemorate Heroes’ Day in honour of fallen heroes who fought to liberate Zimbabwe from the shackles of colonial rule.It was a 90-year struggle that culminated in independence and majority rule on April 18, 1980.

While there were celebrations in other parts of the country, President Mugabe presided over the main event in Harare where he delivered the keynote address.

Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa, Phelekezela Mphoko and their spouses, Government ministers, Members of Parliament, traditional leaders, service chiefs, senior Government officials, Zanu-PF supporters, diplomats, members of the Apostolic sect and members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces were among multitudes that attended yesterday’s event.

Proceedings started with bus-loads of people from different parts of the city and it’s environs thronging the national shrine.

There were thick columns stretching several kilometres along Bulawayo Road as people walked to the national shrine for the event. There was an overflow of people with those who failed to secure places in the terraces, perching themselves on trees, Zaccheus-style, to follow proceedings.

Proceedings started after President Mugabe, accompanied by First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, arrived just before midday. He immediately inspected a quarter guard of honour mounted by the Presidential Guard before the Zimbabwe Republic Police band led the crowd in singing the National Anthem.

Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo was the director of ceremony. There were two fly-pasts during the National Anthem by the Air Force of Zimbabwe, the first by three fighter jets immediately followed by three helicopters.

Thereafter, the Zimbabwe Republic Police chaplin general, Assistant Commissioner Jeremiah Doyce delivered a sermon which castigated some church leaders for dabbling in politics instead of spreading the word.

Suluman Chimbetu and Orchestra Dendera Kings entertain the crowd at Chinhoyi Provincial Heroes Acre where his father and founder of the group Simon “Chopper” Chimbetu lies buried yesterday
Asst Comm Doyce, who based his sermon on Ezekiel 22 v 30 and Isaiah 32 v 22, urged religious leaders to stick to ministering religion and not stray into politics while preaching.

Reverend Paul Damasane recited a revolutionary poem thereafter as President Mugabe to his place in the VVIP tent. President Mugabe got a standing ovation when he rose to deliver his wide-ranging keynote address that centred on keeping the legacy of the revolution alive and defending the gains of independence and sovereignty.

The President, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the ZDF, paid tribute to the security services for ensuring that Zimbabwe remained peaceful. The crowd was treated to entertainment by several choral groups.

The United Methodist Choir put up a sterling performance with its hit song “Mazambara” which brought several people including dignitaries on their feet and singing along. Members of the group left the crowd crying for more with their scintillating dancing routine.

Leaders of the opposition parties serve for Harare Mayor Cllr Bernard Manyenyeni were, however, conspicuous by their absence despite the commemoration being a national event which should ordinarily draw everyone across the political divide.

After his speech, President Mugabe led leaders of Government arms in laying wreaths on the Tomb of the Unknown soldier before he visited some graves of fallen heroes among them his first wife, Sally Heyfron Mugabe and Sister Sabina who are among the eight women intered at the national shrine.

Some of those that laid wreaths were National Assembly Speaker Advocate Jacob Mudenda, Senate president Cde Edna Madzongwe, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, former Political detainees and Restrictees Tshinga Dube, service chiefs, among others.

Relatives of national heroes stood by the graves of their dear departed laying wreaths.

But relatives of the late General Solomon Mujuru were conspicouos by their absence even though the late general’s widow, Dr Joice Mujuru, yesterday issued a statement on the occasion of Heroes Day in wihich she sought to cast aspersions on the Government from her trench as leader of the opposition Zimbabwe People First party.

Leaders of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association led by Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa, who has of late been consorting with opposition groups following his expulsion from Zanu-PF, were also conspicuous by their absence.

There were several colourful banners with a number of messages among them, “No to Abuse of Social Media,” Residential Stands to the People,” “Sando Dzenyu Magamba,” Ma inputs Kuvanhu Tirime.” Others included “Unity, Peace and Development, Fruits of our Liberation struggle,” You Fought, You Won, Now We Defend,” and “Zimbabwe Ngeyegazi.”

Zimbabweans, diplomats hail ZDF for keeping the peace

August 10, 2016
Elita Chikwati
Senior Reporter

Zimbabweans and diplomats accredited to the country, yesterday applauded the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for maintaining peace and stability in the country for the past 36 years, despite the sanctions-induced economic hardships the country is experiencing. Diplomats, local leaders and members of the public who attended the Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ 36th anniversary at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday, cherished the peace and stability Zimbabwe has enjoyed over the years.Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mohamed Cheij Saleh, congratulated Zimbabweans for maintaining peace for the past 36 years.

He said the maintenance of peace was one of the greatest achievements of the liberation struggle.

“This is a great achievement for Zimbabwe after its independence. This achievement is a result of love and the sacrifice of the people of Zimbabwe.

“As a representative of the Republic of Saharawi, the people who are still fighting for independence and the last colony in Africa, I am so proud to see and witness the peace in Zimbabwe. This shows there is capacity in Africa. Zimbabwe has made progress even in its Constitution. I hope this will lead to more progress in the country,” he said.

The United Nations resident coordinator Bishow Parajuli, applauded Zimbabwe for its contributions towards the maintenance of peace internationally.

“The ZDF is an important division that has contributed to international peace. The army is important for peace and tranquillity and security for every country,” he said.

French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Laurent Delahousse said, Zimbabweans were blessed to live in a peaceful country since Independence.

He expressed gratitude to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for participating in international peace keeping missions and urged them to continue abiding by the Constitution even under economic hardships.

“Zimbabwe has been blessed in the past 36 years not to experience outside aggression. As France, we have been grateful to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for participating in international peacekeeping operations. Zimbabwe is very active.

“It is true that today we have budgetary constraints, and it is more difficult, but I hope that Zimbabwe will maintain peace and will continue to contribute to peacekeeping in Africa, and all over the world.

“The army in any country is a very important institution. The army keeps peace, order and also contributes to peace- keeping inside the country. The army should be a constitutional organisation that abides by the law and that is not supposed to be involved in political matters. The army is a State institution and not a party institution and I hope the army will continue in the same spirit of maintaining peace in Zimbabwe,” he said.

The country’s traditional leadership said Zimbabweans were now living peacefully in the country because of the Defence Forces.

They said people were independent to participate in different activities unlike during the colonial regime where they were restricted even to walk in some areas.

Chief Chimukoko of Mudzi said she was grateful for the peace that was prevailing in the country because of the efforts of the Defence Forces.

“We hope we will maintain this peace. Freedom fighters and the defence forces are important and we should cherish their contributions,” she said.

Chief Chundu of Hurungwe said Zimbabweans now had the freedom to freely walk in their country and participate in economic activities.

“We were in bondage before Independence, but because of other people’s sacrifices we now enjoy peace,” he said.

Harare resident, Mrs Lorene Magadu, said Zimbabwe was peaceful unlike other countries that were always at war.

“I was born just before Independence, and I have enjoyed peace. I hope we will not experience any civil unrest or wars in future. Some countries are not stable and people are perishing because of the wars and unrest. This is different from Zimbabwe where we carry out our daily routines without fear,” she said.

Mr Phineas Mungava said he was grateful to the ZDF not only for maintaining peace, but also for engaging in other non military activities.

“The army is also assisting the less privileged, and building schools in different areas. Even during strikes, we see them at hospitals saving lives. I am grateful to the forces and I hope Zimbabweans will give them due respect,” he said.

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