Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Thousands Mark Zimbabwe Uhuru Nationwide
19 APR, 2018
Herald Reporters

Thousands of Zimbabweans from all callings, political parties and religious groups thronged the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday as the country celebrated its 38th independence anniversary. It was the first independence celebrations to be officiated by President Mnangagwa following the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe in November last year.

People started gathering at the giant 60 000-seater stadium as early as 6am and by 10am, the venue was full to capacity.

The celebrations brought together Government ministers, Zanu-PF senior officials, MDC-T officials led by Mr Nelson Chamisa, diplomats, service chiefs and ordinary Zimbabweans.

Official proceedings began with the arrival of dignitaries followed by the National Anthem and subsequent flypast by Air Force of Zimbabwe jets and helicopters.

President Mnangagwa then inspected a parade mounted by members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.

This was followed by a march in slow and quick time as the Guard of Honour advanced in review order before torch bearers entered the stadium and handed the torch to President Mnangagwa who then lit the Independence Flame.

First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa released pigeons into the sky as a symbol of peace and love — a message that has defined the new dispensation.

Bishop Trevor Manhanga took to the podium to bless the proceedings and was followed by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo who paid tribute to diverse people who came for the event and then invited President Mnangagwa to give his keynote address.

Soon after President Mnangagwa’s address, people were treated to scintillating displays by the ZDF, the police and mass displays from schoolchildren.
Some of the displays by the ZDF included parachute and helicopter displays.

It was the police displays that mesmerised the crowd, with dogs and gymnastics displays drawing loud cheers.

Earlier on, sungura musician Alick Macheso and his Orchestra Mberikwazvo Band, together with Jah Prayzah, entertained the crowd.

Jah Prayzah’s hit song Kutonga Kwaro was belted as President Mnangagwa and the First Lady entered the stadium sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Outside the stadium, there were long and winding queues of people who wanted to be part of the celebrations.

In Bulawayo, thousands thronged White City Stadium, the venue of the main celebrations in the metropolitan province. The event officially started shortly after noon after the arrival of service chiefs and the Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs, Angeline Masuku.

Minister Masuku, who was the guest of honour, inspected the guard of honour mounted by members of the ZNA, ZPCS and the ZRP before she read the President’s speech shortly after 1pm.

The speech was, however, disrupted after Minister Masuku fell ill while addressing the gathering due to fatigue.

She resumed reading the President’s speech a few minutes later from her chair.

“I would like to apologise to you all for this minor setback,” she said.

“The devil is a liar and of course, I must say that the doctors had actually advised me that I should take a rest, but I opted to join you in celebrating this day because of my commitment and dedication.”

The colourful event was punctuated by captivating drills from the police, while members of the ZNA, ZPCS and ZRP also put up scintillating performances when they displayed their brilliant marching skills.

The military brass band kept the crowd continuously entertained with its music, which depicted the mood of the occasion.

In Mashonaland West, thousands of people gathered at Chinhoyi Stadium for the celebrations led by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Webster Shamu.

He later read the President’s speech before the crowd was treated to combined displays by the security forces and drum majorettes from Nemakonde High school.

The celebrations were characterised by poetry, traditional dance groups and a football match later in the afternoon.

Service chiefs, officials from across the political divide including Zanu-PF provincial chairman Ziyambi Ziyambi and MDC-T’s Gift Chimanikire attended the celebrations.

In Manicaland, the colourful event started with the Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Monica Mutsvangwa inspecting the Guard of Honour at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare around mid-morning before reading President Mnangagwa’s speech before thousands of people.

A high-powered delegation led by Mozambique’s Manica provincial governor, Mr Alberto Ricardo Mondlane, spiced the event.

Mutare City mayor councillor Tatenda Nhamarare represented the MDC-T.

A capacity crowd thronged Mucheke Stadium where Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Senator Josaya Hungwe inspected a guard of honour mounted by the uniformed forces from ZNA, ZRP and ZPCS, before reading the President ’s speech.

The swelling crowd was entertained by exhilarating, slow and quick marches from the uniformed forces. MDC-T member and Masvingo mayor, councillor Hubert Fidze attended the event.

In an interview on the sidelines of the celebrations Zanu-PF chairman, Cde Ezra Chadzamira hailed people of Masvingo for attending the celebrations in their numbers, saying it showed the citizens were happy with the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa.

Clr Fidze hailed President Mnangagwa’s all-embracing speech and said it was not divisive in nature and was extending an olive branch to members of the opposition.

Over 3 000 people from across the political divide gathered at Pelandaba Stadium in Gwanda for the independence celebrations.

Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Abedneco Ncube led the celebrations and read the President’s speech.

In Mashonaland Central, thousands of people from all ages thronged Chipadze Stadium for the celebrations, creating a carnival atmosphere in the process.

The celebrations dovetailed with this year’s national theme: “Zimbabwe@38: Socio-Economic Restoration and International Re-engagement” as the province hosted the Governor of Tete Province in Mozambique, Cde Paulo Auade, and his high-powered delegation, which included the neighbouring country’s captains of industries and heads of key government departments.

Cde Paulo said the historic event came about through the sacrifices of the people of Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

“Through the support our country gave to Zimbabwe liberation forces, we suffered a lot of bloodshed and destruction of infrastructure at the hands of the minority white government in Zimbabwe,” he said. “They created a banditry movement that waged a civil war that caused economic stagnation in Mozambique.”

The Mozambican delegation was invited to this year’s celebrations by the Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs, Advocate Martin Dinha during his tour of the province last month.

In Matabeleland North, celebrations kicked off with the arrival of the Minister of State for Matabeleland North province Ambassador Cain Mathema, shortly after the arrival of service chiefs. Ambassador Mathema delivered the presidential speech.

In Mashonaland East, the main celebrations were held at Rudhaka Stadium where provincial minister David Musabayana read the President’s speech before thousands of people. Minister Musabayana also inspected a guard of honour mounted by members of the security service sector.

Meanwhile, in the Midlands province, thousands thronged Gweru’s Mkoba stadium for the commemorations which were led by Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Owen Ncube.

Midlands Chimurenga Choir, choral groups and the Midlands State University Musicology Department’s Mbira Ensemble provided entertainment, belting scintillating tunes, which kept the crowd on their feet.

The Air Force of Zimbabwe dance group also entertained the crowd with its scintillating performance before the number Two Squadron did a fly past during the singing of the national anthem, amid wild cheers from the crowd.

In Beitbridge, over 4 000 people converged at Dulivhadzimo Stadium where district administrator Mrs Kiliboni Ndou-Mbedzi led the proceedings.

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