By Auxilia Katongomara
President Mugabe arrives in Bulawayo this morning for the 21st February Movement celebrations which roar to life at the Rhodes Estate Preparatory School (REPS) in Matobo District, Matabeleland South. Thousands of delegates are already in the city to commemorate the President’s 93rd birthday. President Mugabe turned 93 on Tuesday. The celebrations, which bring together people from all corners of Zimbabwe and other parts of the world, have brought a festive atmosphere to the usually sleepy district of Matobo which is characterised by the world famous picturesque granite rocks and hills.
By yesterday, Bulawayo and Matobo had become a hive of activity as delegates arrived enmasse to commemorate the revolutionary leader’s birthday. This year’s celebrations run under the theme “Honouring Our Icon, Unlocking Value in Youth”.
A carnival atmosphere engulfed Matopo Research Station as workers put final touches on infrastructure for the big day.
Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko toured the venue yesterday afternoon where Secretary for Administration Cde Ignatious Chombo and Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Kudzanai Chipanga gave him a progress report.
By the end of day yesterday, organising teams on the ground were putting final touches with service providers such as ambulances and mobile clinics already on standby. Tents for all delegates had been pitched and the organising team assured the more than 200 000 expected guests that no one would be affected by the rains.
Mobile toilets have also been mounted at various points for easy access and workers were busy dealing with mud occasioned by the incessant rains during the day.
Several companies among them Alpha and Omega Dairies, TelOne and the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) have put up stands for a mini exhibition to run alongside the celebrations.
The 21sters had a busy day as they toured Matopo National Park before planting trees around the area as part of conserving nature. The youngsters born on the same day with Cde Mugabe capped their day with a dinner, dubbed the Secretary’s Dinner, at a city hotel last night.
Cde Chipanga was the guest of honour.
In an interview last night, the youth leader urged people to come in their numbers to celebrate the life of an icon and liberation hero. “Everything is now in place. The tents, accommodation and sound system have been set up. It’s all systems go. We are just waiting for tomorrow (today),” said Cde Chipanga.
“Our people from other provinces, namely Manicaland, Midlands, Mashonaland East, West, Mashonaland Central have already arrived. We are expecting thousands more.”
He said delegates from surrounding provinces were expected to be seated by 7am. “We want to be cautious because the weather is unpredictable although we appreciate what God is giving us as Zanu-PF because we need these rains.
“We are expecting to kick-start the programme by 10am. The President is our guest of honour and we expect that everything will go according to our plans,” said Cde Chipanga. Cde Chipanga said the 21sters planted 100 trees in compensation for the five or so trees cut in preparation for the big day.
A bash has been lined up with the likes of Jeys Marabini, Sandra Ndebele, Clement Magwaza, Iyasa, Sulumani Chimbetu and Mathias Mhere expected to entertain the delegates.
Joining them will be Derrick Majaivana, Khuliyo, Born Free Crew, Black Umfolosi, Ndux Junior, Sungura Masters, Guluva 7, Ramsy K and Nkwali and a host of other artistes from Matabeleland South province.