Freeman Razemba, Harare Bureau
WESTERN and African diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe yesterday congratulated the country on attaining 37 years of freedom from former coloniser, Britain.
The diplomats were part of scores of Zimbabweans and dignitaries who thronged the giant National Sports Stadium in Harare, the venue of the main Independence celebrations.
The celebrations were held under the theme “Zimbabwe @37: Embracing Ease of Doing Business for Socio-economic Development.”
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Huang Ping said Zimbabwe and China enjoy mutual friendship as all-weather friends.
“This is a marvelous day, 37 years anniversary of the Independence of Zimbabwe. We share your happiness. We are very happy. We share the happiness of the Zimbabwean people,” said Mr Huang.
“I was here last year. So this is my second time to be here to celebrate the Independence Day. China and Zimbabwe are all time weather friends and we are part of Zimbabwe’s Independence.
“We are so happy. Our friendship dates back all the way to the days of the liberation struggle. We are very happy to see that Zimbabwe has been developing very well under the strong leadership of His Excellency President Mugabe.
Mr Huang said he was happy with frequent meetings between President Mugabe and his Chinese counterpart President Mr Xi Jinping.
He said there was also expanding cooperation in economic and other sectors between the two countries.
Mr Huang said Mr Xi had also sent a congratulatory message to President Mugabe.
Cuban Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Elio Savon Oliva said this was a very important day for the people of Zimbabwe.
“This is a very important day for the Zimbabwean people. It’s been 37 years of independence. So I have to congratulate the people of Zimbabwe for being able to enjoy this celebration today,” he said.
He said many nations could learn a lot from Zimbabwe to fight for their independence and self determination.
He said Zimbabwe had a very peaceful and friendly environment.
British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Catriona Laing said the Queen of England Queen Elizabeth II had also posted a congratulatory message to the people of Zimbabwe.
Mrs Laing said her country was also one of the three big donors to Zimbabwe.
Dean of African diplomats and Democratic Republic of Congo Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Mwawapanga Mwawampanga said:
“Zimbabweans should be proud. There are two milestones that Zimbabweans should be celebrating today; freedom and peace. This country has been in peace since independence and that’s something that a lot of people, especially the youths, don’t value that much. But if you live in a country where you can be abducted and be used as a child soldier, compared to a country where you are free to do what you want to do for yourself, to create wealth, to build your country, Zimbabweans should be proud of that.”
He said Zimbabwe had done many good things especially on education and getting control of natural resources.
Namibian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Balbina Daes Pienaar said celebrating 37 years of independence was critical.
“37 years ago, on this very date, Zimbabwe was born, a free nation. As Namibia we join the nation in celebrating this achievement. Definitely the road to independence was not easy.
“We know that lives were sacrificed, we know that our forefathers died and sacrificed their lives for a nation to be free. Therefore I think it is of significance to celebrate it.”
Algerian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Nacerdine Sai said; “I have spent two years here and have been experiencing a very interesting life in Zimbabwe.”