A carnival atmosphere engulfed the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday as thousands turned up for the main celebrations of the country’s 39th independence anniversary presided over by President Mnangagwa. Despite indications in the morning that the skies would open up, people came in droves to attend this year’s events.
Even when the heavens eventually opened up, they braved the downpour to follow the proceedings.
This year’s celebrations were held under the theme: “[email protected] Devolution for Vision 2030”.
Sungura maestro Alick Macheso and his Orchestra Mberikwazvo outfit kept the crowds entertained before the official proceedings began.
Banners inscribed with various messages hung on the stadium walls.
Some of the messages read: “Celebrating social, economic and political independence”, “Stop unjustified price hikes”, “Unlocking growth and investment”, “Be responsible, stop social media abuse” and “Let’s unite to rehabilitate Cyclone Idai victims.”
Dignitaries started arriving towards mid-morning, with Vice President Kembo Mohadi and his wife Juliet arriving first, followed by his counterpart General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) and his wife Marry.
President Mnangagwa and the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa then arrived to a thunderous welcome from the crowd, while Jah Prayzah’s track “Kutonga Kwaro” was playing on the public address system.
The President immediately took his position on the dais before the National Anthem was sung, followed by a flypast by Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) jets and helicopters in diamond formation.
The President then proceeded to inspect the Guard of Honour mounted by members of all uniformed forces and the heavens opened up.
The crowd, however, braved the wet conditions while the President delivered his speech.
Our Manicaland Bureau reports that thousands of people from across the province braved light showers and cold weather that characterised much of the day to attend the Independence celebrations at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare.
By 9am, people were already streaming into the stadium, which was almost filled to capacity by late afternoon.
The commemorations were graced by a 26-member high powered delegation from Mozambique led by the Governor of Manica Province Manuel Rodrigues Alberto.
The proceedings kicked off with a minute of silence in honour of those who died when cyclone Idai hit parts of the province resulting in the death of more than 300 people.
Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba inspected the Guard of Honour before reading the Presidential speech.
Dr Gwaradzimba thanked the Mr Alberto for the country’s unwavering support and for gracing the independence celebrations.
“I would like to thank H.E Manuel Rodrigues Alberto, Governor for Manica Province in Mozambique for attending our Celebrations. Each time we celebrate our Independence our friends from Mozambique always come to attend the celebrations.
“When we had a minute of silence we were also observing in remembrance of those who were affected in Mozambique. There are 158 cyclone Idai victims from Zimbabwe who were buried in Mozambique. They did not wait for us but because of the nature of friendship we have with them they went ahead and buried them,” she said.
In the Midlands, thousands of people gathered at Mkoba Stadium which was the main venue for the independence festivities.
People from Gweru and other districts in the province braved the chilly weather that characterised Gweru in the morning with the stadium filling up as early as 8am.
The commemorations officially started immediately after the arrival of the reviewing officer, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Cde Larry Mavima, just before 11am.
After inspecting the parade, Cde Mavima read the President’s speech.
In the true spirit of celebration, a number of groups which included officers from Whawha Prison entertained the crowds with many expressing their joy and happiness in celebrating the country’s 39 years of freedom.
Choral and dance groups, ZRP and Thornhill Airbase officers as well as poets from Gweru entertained the gathering.
Also in attendance was Gweru Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe of MDC- Alliance and Zanu PF Midlands province chairperson Engineer Daniel Mackenzie Ncube.
Clr Makombe said every Zimbabwean must cherish the Independence Day which came after a protracted armed struggle.
“This day is special to all of us and it doesn’t matter if you are MDC- A or Zanu PF and that is why I am here representing the people of Gweru,” he said.
In Beitbridge, scores of people from different political backgrounds gathered at Dulivhadzimo Stadium for this year’s 39th Independence celebrations.
Beitbridge district administrator Mrs Kilibonoi Ndou Mbedzi led the proceedings and read the President’s speech.
Dance groups, police cycle patrol unit, Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services inmates, Beitbridge municipality, drum majorettes and local soccer and netball teams added colour to the event.
Among those who attended the celebrations were Senator Tambudzani Mohadi, Beitbridge East Mp Cde Albert Nguluvhe, Beitbridge West Mp Cde Ruth Maboyi, Zanu PF politiburo member ambassador Aaron Maboyi, Beitbridge Deputy Mayor Councillor Munyaradzi Chitsunge among other senior civil servants and politicians.
In Mashonaland East scores of people gathered at Rudhaka stadium in Marondera yesterday where Provincial Affairs Minister of State Cde Apollonia Munzverengi led proceedings.
Cde Munzverengi inspected a parade mounted by armed forces before reading the president’s speech.
Uniformed forces from South Africa, Zambia, Lesotho, Nigeria, Pakistan, Mozambique and Tanzania, also graced the festivities.
Various arts groups including the ZPCS and popular artist Andy Muridzo also thrilled the crowd with their performances.
In Masvingo thousands of people yesterday thronged Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo joining the rest of the nation to celebrate the country’s 39th
Independence anniversary amid pomp and fanfare.
The celebrations also cascaded to district centres across the province where hundreds of people converged at growth points in Bikita, Zaka, Gutu, Mwenezi, Chivi, Chiredzi and Masvingo to join the festivities.
Proceedings to mark the day started with a parade comprising detachments from Zimbabwe National Army 4 Infantry Brigade, ZRP and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services accompanied by dummies marching from Chikato police station to the stadium.
Service chiefs then arrived at the stadium preceding the arrival of Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Cde Ezra Chadzamira who then inspected the parade.
A minute of silence was observed in the stadium in memory of those who lost their lives during the Cyclone Idai disaster that left a trail of devastation across Masvingo province.
Minister Chadzamira then read the Presidential Speech before further entertainment was provided by drum majorettes displays and peformances by Mutimurefu Prison Traditional Dance group.
Present at Mucheke was Minister of State in Vice President Kembo Mohadi’s office Cde Davis Marapira, Masvingo Provincial Administrator Mr Fungai Mbetsa, Masvingo Mayor Councillor Collins Maboke, Great Zimbabwe University Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo among others.
In Mashonaland Central thousands gathered at Chipadze Stadium to celebrate this year’s Independence Day. A heavy downpour failed to dampen the celebratory mood of people in Bindura.
Minister of State for Mash Central Provincial Affairs Cde Monica Mavhunga led proceeding and read the President’s speech.
However, Provincial War Veterans chairperson Cde Sam Parirenyatwa left the stadium in a huff earlier saying he was denied access to the VIP section
In Mashonaland West, hundreds of people gathered at Chinhoyi Stadium where the main Independence Day celebrations for Mashonaland West province were being held.
Official proceedings started later than usual owing to the heavy rains that hit Chinhoyi.
Members of the Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Airforce of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services braved the bad weather to mount a parade.
Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minster Mary Mliswa-Chikoka led proceedings by first inspecting a parade before reading the President’s speech.
People were entertained by foot drills, popeye drills and renditions of musician Jah Prayzah’s songs by the Chinhoyi University of Technology choir.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing deputy Minister Jennifer Mhlanga and service chiefs among others attended the event.