Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Zimbabwe Celebrates 26 Years of National Independence

Robert Mugabe
Originally uploaded by Samuel Adanu.
Children urged to set goals

Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN children must make use of the educational facilities established by the Government since independence in 1980 to develop themselves and the nation, President Mugabe said yesterday.

Cde Mugabe urged schoolchildren to set themselves goals of what they want to achieve professionally and make use of the facilities at their disposal. "Take advantage of the facilities you have and pass your O-Level, A-Level and Grade Seven.

We are proud of our students, they have taken advantage of the facilities we have put in place since 1980 to improve themselves," he said. The President was addressing schoolchildren from the country’s 10 provinces at the party he and the First Lady, Cde Grace Mugabe, traditionally host on Independence Eve, at the City Sports Centre in Harare.

He implored the youths to work hard in school and advised those who were not academically gifted to pursue practical subjects such as carpentry and building. Cde Mugabe said Zimbabwe’s leaders — living and dead — who fought to liberate the country did so to ensure Zimbabweans could rule themselves and have access to educational and health facilities.

"This is your occasion, celebrate it. This is your anniversary, therefore enjoy it, dance, sing, eat and play for this is the day freedom fighters fought for, died for and suffered for. It is our national day. We must treasure this day," said President Mugabe.

Cde Mugabe said on their part, leaders were doing their best to develop Zimbabwe and make it better. President Mugabe said teachers had a fundamental role to play in the development of children, and the Government and parents relied on them to teach morals and instill discipline in the youths as well as equip them with skills. With these virtues, the youths would be able to look after themselves, their parents and their heritage — Zimbabwe, Cde Mugabe said.

The President said this could only be possible if children were disciplined and not a rebellious lot. Zimbabwean children had a right to education as much as they had a right to life in addition to other rights, which include freedom rights.

However, Cde Mugabe said, children should not abuse freedom, but use it to do things society expects of them. "To our teachers, we say these children are there to be taught; teach them, don’t cheat them." President Mugabe reiterated that he appreciated and sympathised with teachers because of the low salaries they were being paid. He said the Government was looking into the issue and he would ensure teachers were paid decent salaries.

President Mugabe said Independence Day was an opportunity for the nation to pay tribute to those who fought for freedom. "We should praise them. Some are no longer with us, some remain with us."

Cde Mugabe said not only those buried at the National Heroes Acre contributed to the liberation struggle, but many others played their part, including parents who gave material, financial and moral support. He told the children to remember that while they belonged to their families and communities, they were Zimbabweans and should be patriotic.

Cde Mugabe said former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith wanted them to be Rhodesians, but freedom fighters from Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla) and Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) thwarted him. Smith wanted Zimbabweans to be Rhodesians, naming them after Cecil Rhodes who led the early colonial settlers, but nationalists and the people rejected that.

President Mugabe said they would never have allowed Zimbabweans to be named after an imperialist. He said others like the late James Chikerema and Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole joined Smith in the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia regime but still Zanla and Zipra rejected the arrangement, giving way to the birth of Zimbabwe on April 18 1980.

All set for independence festivities

Herald Reporter

TODAY all roads lead to various centres countrywide for celebrations of the 26th Independence anniversary.

The main celebrations will be at the National Sports Stadium in Harare where the major highlight will be President Mugabe’s speech. Gates at the stadium will be opened at 5.30am and 40 buses have been hired to transport people, for free, from the usual pick-up points. The buses will be on the road from as early as 5am.

President Mugabe’s speech will be preceded and followed by mass displays from several groups of children born in a liberated Zimbabwe. There will also be drama and musical entertainment, spiced with poetry. Late in the afternoon, there will be the Uhuru Trophy soccer final, featuring Masvingo United and CAPS United.

In Bulawayo, the main activities will take place at White City Stadium where similar celebrations will be held with Bulawayo Metropolitan Governor and Resident Minister Cde Cain Mathema reading the President’s speech. There will also be a soccer match featuring Dynamos and Highlanders in the Uhuru Trophy for the third and fourth place.

Elsewhere, provincial governors will read the President’s speech, while in districts, administrators and senior party officials will read the speech to their respective gatherings.

Let’s celebrate with renewed strength

TODAY all patriotic Zimbabweans celebrate the 26th anniversary of independence and democracy in an environment of peace.

Congratulations are in order. Today is also a day to take stock of the challenges the country continues to face from detractors at home and abroad. These challenges should give us renewed strength to continue defending the gains of independence, for the problems were generated to subvert the process.

This is also a day to celebrate our resilience as Zimbabweans, for we managed to withstand all attempts to divide and incite civil unrest among us.

We showed our resolve to maintain our hard-won peace, and entrusted all political decisions to the will of the majority, but at all times mindful of the concerns of the minority voices. Today we celebrate the finalisation of the land reform programme through landmark judgments that were made by our Supreme Court that upheld all land reform laws.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 17) Act also put paid to all attempts by white former commercial farmers to frustrate the programme by jamming the courts with legal challenges. Today we also celebrate the democratic tradition that has seen us consistently holding elections every five years to give people the right to choose their own leaders.

We celebrate the numerous diplomatic coups we scored against detractors who wanted to isolate our nation, make us a pariah state so that they could savage us at will. Today our nation dedicates itself to continue the struggle that was launched by luminaries like Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi over a century ago.

It is also a day to remember all those who laid down their lives so that we could have ours. The heroes and heroines who fought under the banners of Zanla and Zipra and eventually the united Patriotic Front gave us this freedom, and today they are united under the ruling Zanu-PF party.

This, however, does not mean that only those who identify with the ideals of the ruling party should celebrate independence. Even those in the opposition MDC or any other party, and those who consider themselves above politics should also celebrate this day that gives them room to make those choices. Even sworn detractors should also take time off their vilification campaigns to celebrate the independence and democracy that gives them the latitude to do so without any recrimination.

But this is also a day they should ask themselves whether their actions are furthering the interests of Zimbabwe and its people. Whether they would be able to identify with Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi, Josiah Tongogara, Nikita Mangena and Herbert Chitepo, to mention just a few, if those cadres were to wake up today.


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