Thursday, April 19, 2007

Leave Us Alone, West Told: Zimbabwe Celebrates 27 Years of National Independence

Leave us alone, West told

Zimbabwe Herald
News Editor

BRITAIN and its Western allies must leave Zimbabwe alone because it is independent and has the right to run its affairs, President Mugabe has said.

Cde Mugabe said the 27th Independence Anniversary was not only a time to celebrate sovereignty and self-determination but the success Zimbabwe has made in repulsing unending attempts by Britain, its Western allies and the opposition MDC to disturb its peace, stability and tranquillity.

"Today as we come to the same venue (of the first independence celebrations Rufaro Stadium), we want to repeat to those in Britain whose ears are apparently deaf that: ‘Your flag went down here. Makasunga twenyu tikati endai kwamunobva. Ko chomoramba muchititambudzira chii zuva ranhasi? Wenyu mureza hausisipoka muno. Waakubhururuka ndewedu wevanhu veZimbabwe. Tiregerei, siyanayi nesu!’

"Let the sound of our celebrations reach the ears of Britain and her allies, and let them know that we shall never, never again be their colony. Congratulations Zimbabwe, congratulations comrades and friends, on our refusal to be recolonised!" President Mugabe said.

He was addressing thousands of Zimbabweans who gathered at Rufaro Stadium to commemorate Independence Day.

Cde Mugabe scoffed at the continued pronouncements by Britain and the United States that they do not recognise him and his Government despite the winning of legitimate elections in 2002 and 2005.

"Blair, who are you to Zimbabwe, to decide on regime change in Zimbabwe? (You say) ‘we have the right to decide on situations in other countries because might is right’. But right is might. We are right because we are supported by the people. So right is might," Cde Mugabe said.

The 27th anniversary demonstrated the victorious spirit of unity among Zimbabweans who know how this country came into being, said the President.

Zimbabweans were prepared to stand in defence of their country’s achievements and future direction.

"It is this spirit of oneness, the unyielding singleness of purpose which during the liberation struggle cheered and lifted our gallant patriots to the heights of supreme sacrifice in the name of freedom and sovereignty.

"These heroes and heroines of the struggle would turn in their graves if today we were to bequeath anything less than full, uncompromised independence and sovereignty to the future generations of the country. Thus, today is a day when we also celebrate our continuing electoral successes and victories over British-sponsored negative forces, however organised."

Cde Mugabe paid tribute to Zimbabweans who have resisted the brazen attempts by detractors who openly work in cahoots with local puppets to reverse the gains of independence through the regime change agenda.

The President said of late this conspiracy had attempted to transform into a militant criminal strain characterised by misguided opposition elements to create a state of anarchy through an orgy of violence.

But the Government would deal firmly with elements bent on fomenting anarchy.

He said the Government was aware that some businesses were being used to cause people to rise against the State by unjustifiably increasing prices of goods.

Cde Mugabe said measures were being put in place — as part of the envisaged social contract — to deal with these unwarranted price increases.

He said the Government had empowered people through the land redistribution programme to give meaning to the hard-won independence.

Focus was now on helping new farmers to be productive while also putting in place laws to facilitate the entry of indigenous Zimbabweans into the lucrative mining sector.

Thousands throng Rufaro for 27th Uhuru celebrations

Herald Reporters

ZIMBABWEANS yesterday marked the country’s 27th Independence anniversary with determination to preserve their freedom and thwart efforts to recolonise the country.

Some had an opportunity to relive the first Independence celebrations of 1980 when this year’s anniversary was commemorated at Rufaro Stadium.

The main celebrations were moved to Rufaro because the National Sports Stadium, which has hosted the event over the years, is being renovated.

Thousands of people thronged the ceremonial home of Zimbabwean football — where Zimbabwe’s flag was hoisted after the British Union Jack was pulled down at midnight at on April 17, 1980 — to celebrate the 27th anniversary.

Invited guests started arriving soon after 9am followed by the uniformed forces, who took their positions in preparation for their marches.

The parade was made up of the Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Prison Services.

After all the dignitaries, who included Zambian Vice President Rupiah Banda, had taken their seats, President Mugabe, the First Lady and First Family arrived to cheers from the crowd.

The President took the salute and the national anthem was played as Air Force of Zimbabwe jets flew past.

Cde Mugabe inspected the guard of honour after which the parade marched in slow and quick time before advancing in review order.

This was followed by the lighting of the Independence Flame by the President after which Bishop Nolbert Kunonga of the Anglican Church gave a reading from the Bible and prayer.

Chairman of the Independence Celebrations Co-ordinating Committee Cde Ignatius Chombo — who is also the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development — introduced the President.

He chronicled Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle and the successes scored after independence, particularly in the education and health sectors.

President Mugabe then delivered his address before the parade marched past and out of the stadium.

Schoolchildren from Mbare took over the show with their impressive mass displays.

But the best came from the police, who tantalised the crowd with their horse, bicycle, motorcycle, dog and acrobatic displays.

The army’s parachute regiment and the air force also provided the appreciative crowd with entertainment after which the President and other dignitaries left.

Musicians Hosiah Chipanga and Tongai Moyo also performed before the Independence Cup soccer final between Highlanders and Masvingo United brought the curtain down on the festivities.

In Masvingo, people thronged Mucheke Stadium to commemorate the 27th Independence anniversary while others also took part in celebrations in the province’s seven districts.

The main event was at Mucheke where the Masvingo Provincial Governor, Cde Willard Chiwewe, read the President’s speech.

Before reading the speech, Cde Chiwewe inspected a guard of honour mounted by the army, prisons and police.

People were treated to various forms of entertainment with blind singer Munyaradzi Munodawafa providing music.

The police’s mounted unit also entertained the crowd in the stadium.

The celebrations at Mucheke were attended by top Government and Zanu-PF officials in Masvingo, among them Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association national secretary general Retired Major Alex Mudavanhu, ZNLWVA provincial chairman Cde Isaiah Muzenda and Masvingo district administrator Cde Felix Chikowo.

In Marondera, thousands of people from all walks of life thronged Rudhaka Stadium to celebrate the Independence anniversary.

Poets and various cultural groups as well as marches by the uniformed forces provided entertainment.

Mashonaland East Governor Cde Ray Kaukonde officiated at the event and read the President’s speech.

The celebrations were also attended by Police Officer Commanding Mashonaland East Senior Assistant Commissioner Manuel Shiku, Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba, provincial administrator Mr Cuthbert Ndarukwa and Marondera mayor Cde Ralph Chimanikire.

In Mashonaland Central, the main celebrations were in Bindura where six Mozambican policemen -- officer commanding police, Zumbe district, Paulo Zero, Macangira aide de camp Floremchio Paifcal and an interpreter Francisco Presente Augusto Titani, the commanding officer Mogae (a police district) Daniel V Moine, officer in charge Mukumbura police post and Julio Raimondu of the Support Unit -- were in attendance.

The celebrations started at around 10.15am when Mashonaland Central Governor and Resident Minister Cde Ephraim Masawi inspected the guard of honour mounted by the army, police and prison services.

By 10.30am hundreds of Bindura residents had thronged Chipadze Stadium, where Cde Masawi read the President’s speech.

The crowd was also treated to entertainment and a football match pitting Mwana Africa and a Bindura select side.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Zimbabwe Prison Services Stadium in Beitbridge yesterday to commemorate the country’s 27th independence anniversary.

Home Affairs Minister Cde Kembo Mohadi led the crowd in marking the celebrations and read Cde Mugabe’s speech.

The event was spiced by entertainment from various arts groups including Beitbridge Rural District Council security guards and pupils from Beitbridge Government Primary School and Dulibadzimu Primary School.

This year’s celebrations were attended by a larger crowd owing to good preparations by the district State functions committee.

Various top civil servants, traditional leaders, non-governmental organisation representatives, Zanu-PF district leaders, among others, were present.

In Mashonaland West Province, the main celebrations were at Chinhoyi Stadium. .

Provincial Governor and Resident Minister Cde Nelson Samkange inspected a four-detachment parade made up of the uniformed forces.

He then read the Presidential speech before people were entertained by ZNA personnel who performed foot drills, a soccer match, displays by drum majorettes and the Chinhoyi University of Technology choir.

In an interview, the first governor of Mashonaland West Province and one of the key facilitators of the Chinhoyi Battle of 1966 where seven gallant fighters died in a confrontation with Rhodesian forces, Cde Mudhumeni Chivende, said the war of liberation struggle was not an exercise in futility.

"Independence is a day that gives me great pleasure because our sacrifices were not in vain," said Cde Chivende.

He urged the nation to be resolute in the face of economic challenges and other pressures, saying like the pain of the liberation struggle, the current hardships would dissipate.

Government and Zanu-PF officials also attended the celebrations.

In Bulawayo, more than 10 000 were at White City Stadium for Independence festivities.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Resident Minister Cde Cain Mathema read President Mugabe’s speech.

In Matabeleland North, about 5 000 people converged at Somhlolo Stadium in Lupane to celebrate Independence Day.

Matabeleland North Provincial Governor Cde Sithokozile Mathuthu led the celebrations.

In an interview after the event, Zanu-PF provincial chairman Cde Headman Moyo applauded Government for the development programmes it has implemented in Matabeleland North since the attainment of Independence in 1980.

"We only had one or two secondary schools, but now we have many and in every district, including high schools," he said.

"We also have district hospitals and a provincial hospital, which is now at roof level, is also being built."

"A road network was also developed but now needs maintenance. Infrastructure is being developed at the Lupane Centre which is the provincial capital and we are happy about that although there is need to accelerate the programme."

On the political front, he said it was gratifying to note that machinations by the United States and Britain to recolonise Zimbabwe had failed dismally.

In Matabeleland South, about 3 000 people gathered at Pelandaba Stadium in Gwanda to celebrate the country’s 27th independence anniversary.

The celebrations kicked off at 10am with the Governor and Resident Minister for Matabeleland South Province, Cde Angeline Masuku, inspecting a guard of honour mounted by ZNA officers from 1:3 Infantry Battalion based at Plumtree.

Cde Masuku then read the President’s speech.

The receptive crowd was kept entertained by the ZRP, which performed skilful and awe-inspiring displays on horseback.

In Gweru, hundreds of people gathered at Mkoba Stadium to commemorate the country’s 27th Independence anniversary.

Midlands Governor and Resident Minister Cde Cephas Msipa inspected a guard of honour before reading the President’s speech.

The crowd was entertained by members of the uniformed forces, various dancing groups and gospel couple Baba naMai Ephraim Patai, among others. Pupils from Matinunura High School in Mkoba, who are under the tutelage of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, stole the show as they kept the audience spellbound with their gymnastics displays.

"Although the turnout is not as big as we expected, I am impressed with the good behaviour displayed by the crowd. This is everyone’s event regardless of which party you belong to. We should celebrate together. I am particularly disappointed by the absence of members of the opposition party," said Cde Msipa.

MDC pro-Senate legislator Mr Timothy Mkhahlera (Gweru Urban) was the only notable member from the opposition camp at the occasion.

Zanu-PF to emerge stronger after restructuring: Senator

Bulawayo Bureau

THE ongoing restructuring of Zanu-PF’s Bulawayo Province is on course and at varying stages in its five district co-ordinating committees, a senior party official said yesterday.

Senator Joshua Malinga, who is also a Politburo member, said the restructuring would make the ruling party stronger. "The party will emerge rejuvenated after this exercise as we would have a substantive provincial executive to lead party activities until the next congress. A lot of work has already been done in the province’s five DCCs and by next week, we will be conducting a mop-up exercise until elections are conducted on 29 April," he said.

The ruling party is restructuring two of its provinces, Masvingo and Bulawayo, as part of a range of measures to create stronger structures.

"We are a mass party," Cde Malinga said.

"We want our structures to be stronger and visible from the grassroots level."

Wheelchair-bound Cde Malinga, a disability rights activist, said he was happy with the ruling party’s recent endorsement of President Mugabe’s candidature for next year’s presidential election. He said with his revolutionary track record and able leadership, which also gives space for the disabled to pursue their dreams, President Mugabe was the party’s logical choice.

"He is our best candidate for the presidential election. It is pleasing that he will stand on behalf of the party. We are assured of winning," said Cde Malinga.

Zimbabwean delegates reject proposed mission

From Michael Padera in NAIROBI, Kenya

ZIMBABWEAN delegates attending the 21st Session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (commonly known by the acronym UN-Habitat) here, have shot down a proposal to send a mission to Zimbabwe to talk to social groups involved in housing.

The delegation said money earmarked for such trips should instead be invested in proper housing delivery.

UN-Habitat is mandated to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing shelter for all

Reacting to a presentation on the proposed visit to Harare by Mr Cesare Otolini, the co-ordinator of the International Alliance of Inhabitants, Bindura mayor Advocate Martin Dinha said it would be in the best interest of Zimbabweans if the group sent a mission to build houses.

Mr Otolini had indicated that the group would come to Zimbabwe to try and bring the Government, local authorities and social groups together with a view to agreeing on the modalities of availing accommodation to people displaced by Operation Murambatsvina.

But Advocate Dinha instead accused UN-Habitat and Mr Otolini of "celebrating poverty", saying this was evident in the existence of slum settlements like Kibera in Kenya, which, if removed, would leave the agency without work. "Why another mission to Zimbabwe to support social movements? Why not send a mission to build houses? You people celebrate poverty," said Advocate Dinha.

Zimbabwe Local Government Association president Cde Jerry Gotora echoed Advocate Dinha’s sentiments but urged the proposed mission to consult the right people if it succeeds to visit Zimbabwe.

UN-Habitat under secretary general Mrs Anna Tibaijuka said Zimbabwe was far ahead of even some developed countries in terms of the management of slum settlements.

She said only 3,4 percent of the country’s population was living in slums while the figure in some developed countries was 5 percent.

Mrs Tibaijuka said some people affected under Operation Murambatsvina were, in fact, victims of a skewed colonial system that outlawed blacks from urban centres.

With independence people began to settle in urban centres leading to an unplanned boom.

She said some of the victims had come to Zimbabwe as migrant labourers to work on white commercial farms who flocked to cities following the land reform programme and were then caught up under Operation Murambatsvina.

Making references to Kibera, she said Africa should be ashamed to have people living in slums.

Mrs Tibaijuka said for the first time in the history of Kibera, the Kenyan government had put a budget for slum upgrading.

Responding to concerns by the Zimbabwean delegation, she claimed her recommendations after her mission to Zimbabwe following Operation Murambatsvina had stood the test of time. She said the recommendations were also meant to garner international solidarity on the situation in the country.

EU supports Sadc’s position on Zim — envoy

By Caesar Zvayi

THE European Union supports the position adopted by Sadc at the extraordinary summit held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, last month, and wishes its success, EU head of delegation Mr Xavier Marchal has said.

Mr Marchal — speaking on the sidelines of Zimbabwe’s 27th Independence celebrations at Rufaro Stadium yesterday — underscored the importance of independence and sovereignty for any nation and urged Zimbabweans to value their hard-won freedom.

"Our wish is that Zimbabwe solves its difficulties as soon as possible, and for that Zimbabweans need to work with Zimbabweans and that is the spirit of the Sadc initiative, and the Sadc initiative is at the frontline now. What we can only do is to wish its success, and to support it, and we do support it."

Mr Marchal could, however, not be drawn into saying what exactly the EU would do with regard to the sanctions it imposed after the 2002 presidential elections, saying unity and co-operation among Zimbabweans was vital for the success of the Sadc initiative.

His sentiments were echoed by Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Sten Rylander and the Deputy Head of Mission at the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Ms Leoni Cuelenaere, who also congratulated Zimbabweans on 27 years of independence.

Said Mr Rylander: "I want Zimbabwe to come together as a nation; national interest, national reconciliation is what I want more than anything else, and with the region and the decision by Dar es Salaam, I think there is time for that. That’s my wish. Come together, don’t fight."

Ms Cuelenaere said the Netherlands supported Sadc’s decision to help Zimbabwe as it tallied with the wishes of her own country.

"We support, of course, that Sadc wishes the best for Zimbabwe like we do, and that they are standing ready to help because that’s basically what is needed," she said.

She said contrary to perceptions, her country valued the independence and sovereignty of Zimbabweans.

In their communiqué released at the end of a one-day extraordinary summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, at the end of March, Sadc leaders reaffirmed their faith in the legitimacy of President Mugabe and Zimbabwe’s electoral system, condemned the illegal Western sanctions, urged Britain to honour obligations to fund land reforms and pledged a rescue package to mitigate the effects of sanctions.

The summit also tasked South African President Thabo Mbeki to mediate between Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC.

The EU’s support for Sadc’s position on Zimbabwe flies in the face of US and British moves to fight the regional bloc by ratcheting up pressure on Zimbabwe through intensified sanctions.

MDC factions have since disagreed on the initiative with the Professor Arthur Mutambara clique endorsing it while the Morgan Tsvangirai-led camp cried foul and, as usual, unleashed a torrent of abuse on Sadc leaders in line with London and Washington’s thinking.

And in an open show of their disdain for Zimbabwe’s right to self-determination, the British and US ambassadors, along with their lackeys in both MDC factions, were conspicuous by their absence at the celebrations that were graced by 33 ambassadors and representatives from four continents.

Apart from the EU head of delegation and the Holy See, the ambassadors who attended yesterday’s celebrations were from Algeria, Botswana, Brazil, China, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, and Thailand.

Nine ambassadors — among them Palestinian, DRC, Tanzanian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Algerian and Indian diplomats — who spoke to The Herald reaffirmed their countries’ solidarity with Zimbabwe, and expressed hope that the country would overcome its challenges in the short-term.

Youths visit Chimoio camp

By Fidelis Munyoro recently in Chimoio

More than 300 youths drawn from various institutions visited the former liberation war camp of Chimoio in neighbouring Mozambique to honour thousands of gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who were callously massacred by Rhodesian soldiers 30 years ago.

The delegation comprised tertiary institution students, youth church leaders, artists, sports persons and junior parliamentarians.

Among the delegates were beauty pageants Miss Tourism First Princes Shuvai Mutongi and Miss Tourism Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Marondera and Bindura.

The trip, which was organised by the Freedom Youth Movement, was aimed at conscientising the youths on the history of Zimbabwe and to remind the future leaders to work for the prosperity and development of the country.

The trip was also meant to make the youths see for themselves the historic mass graves where men, women and children who perished while on a mission to free Zimbabwe were buried.

Addressing the youths at the historic shrine, Deputy Minister of Youth Development and Employment Creation Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said President Mugabe had sound revolutionary credentials and the youths should rally behind him in defending the gains of the liberation struggle and build the nation.

"President Mugabe is a revolutionary leader and a symbol of our country. He led the struggle to free Zimbabwe and cannot be compared with Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC leader), who has no history of the liberation struggle," said Cde Kasukuwere.

He urged youths to emulate President Mugabe for his unwavering stance against imperialism and honour the fallen heroes who died to free Zimbabwe.

"President Mugabe, like Jesus, has no supporters but believers. We no longer have supporters in Zanu-PF but believers and we also believe in you."

The gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe were massacred by Rhodesian soldiers at Chimoio on November 23, 1977.

Cde Kasukuwere urged youths to guard jealously the legacy of the liberation struggle and use their experience to provoke intellectual debate among their peers.

"These are the people who made the mission possible," said Cde Kasukuwere pointing at the mass graves at the shrine.

Cde Kasukuwere also said the Govern-ment would ensure that the conditions for students at all the country’s State universities were improved.

"It’s our responsibility as Government to make sure we improve the conditions for our children in universities to produce best results," he said.

The deputy minister urged the youths to condemn bombings allegedly perpetrated by the opposition MDC and civic organisations that have left a trail of destruction countrywide.

Science and Technology Deputy Minister Cde Patrick Zhuwawo said the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who perished during the liberation struggle had committed their lives to free Zimbabwe and urged the youths defend the country against the opposition and its Western allies’ efforts of regime change.

Cde Donald Charumbira, who led the organising team for the event, said when imperialists came to Africa their main objective was to economically exploit the continent and also took over political control.

"The heroes we have come to see here died in order for us to gain political independence, but the economic struggle continues up to today," said Cde Charumbira.

Themba Kumbula, a University of Zimbabwe student said the trip was important because the youths were given a chance to honour the people who lost their lives to liberate Zimbabwe.

"The trip was real. It’s a correct depiction of what we see here and it gives a good experience to aspiring leaders," said Kumbula.

The delegation was received by Squadron Leader Valentine Sedze of the Zimbabwean Embassy in Mozambique and was shown around the shrine by Cde Michael Muchirawondo, who survived the raid unscathed.

Thousands of Zimbabweans were brutally killed after raids by Ian Smith’s soldiers at Chimoio and the casualties included 1 500 of the estimated 8 000 refugees that were at the camp on the fateful day.

The ministry in charge of youths has in the recent years been touring camps, which were used by the Zanla and Zipra forces to prosecute the liberation struggle in neighbouring countries to give youths opportunity to have a better understanding of the country’s liberation struggle.

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