Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
All is set for the 37th Independence celebrations with thousands of people expected to converge at various centres countrywide where ministers of state for provincial affairs will preside over festivities.
The main celebrations to be presided by President Mugabe will be at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
The people are also expected to throng provincial centres for the celebrations early morning where Ministers of State and senior civil servants are expected to read the President’s speech.
This year’s celebrations come against a background of a good rainfall season and a bumper harvest is expected from beneficiaries of Command Agriculture and the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme and those who financed themselves.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe, yesterday said everything was in place for the celebrations adding he was expecting an overflow at the National Sports Stadium.
Dr Mushohwe described this year’s celebrations as exciting saying Zimbabwe was expecting a bumper harvest from the good rains received and Government initiatives put in place.
“This will be a special and different anniversary coming against the background of good rains and expected bumper harvest. We are not celebrating against a background of a drought but an expected bumper harvest. Everyone is excited.
“Tobacco farmers on the other hand are selling their crop and getting money. Some farmers are already preparing for the winter wheat. People are so busy with their work and they have every reason to celebrate.
“This year is our year because of good rains and bumper harvest. Next year we are going into the general elections and we are going there with people who are not begging for food from non-governmental organisations. They will be able to make independent decisions and will not be influenced by hunger,” he said.
Dr Mushohwe encouraged Zimbabweans to attend the celebrations and said this was the opportunity to celebrate the day Zimbabwe shook off the yoke of colonialism.
“Even children who were born after independence should also be included. Some of the born-frees have already completed university and some are still at school. This is a chance to learn about the liberation struggle,” he said.
He expressed satisfaction at the level of preparedness for the independence celebrations.
“I am at the venue and I can say all is set for the day. I am happy with the preparations and I know by this evening (last night) we will have completed all logistical arrangements.
“We are expecting an overflow. I am worried the ground may be small and some people may be forced to watch from outside. We pray that it does not rain.
“This is a special anniversary as Zimbabweans, as a country and free people. We want to make sure all people will have the opportunity to listen to our father, President Mugabe’s address. We hope people will travel safely to and from the venues,” he said.
Dr Mushohwe said after the celebrations there would be a soccer match between Dynamos and Highlanders football clubs and everyone was welcome to attend.
Zanu-PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, said the 2017 Independence Celebrations were not only special to Zanu-PF members only but to all the people of Zimbabwe.
He said he was happy that this year’ celebrations were coming against a background of the success of Command Agriculture and an expected bumper harvest.
Cde Moyo said it was unfortunate that some property was destroyed by heavy rains and said there was need for repairs.
“The independence and freedom we are celebrating did not come on a silver platter.
“Thousands died, hundreds were maimed and property destroyed during the liberation struggle. We should celebrate this day in memory of the sacrifice made hence the need for reflection and stock taking.
“We must also express our gratitude to the former liberation movements Zanu and Zapu and their liberation armies Zanla and Zipra as well as their leadership. We should also appreciate President Mugabe and the late vice president Cde Joshua Nkomo for their exemplary leadership and vision in the prosecution of the armed struggle which led to our independence and freedom,” he said.
Cde Nkomo said although Zimbabwe was going through economic hardships, unity of purpose would bring solutions.
“Challenges will always be there. We should have unity of purpose. Where there is no unity, there is no peace and without peace there is no development.
“We should guard jealously our independence knowing fully well that Zimbabwe is not for sale. We need to thank God for the good rains this season and the bumper harvest from our fields.
‘’As a God fearing people we should never tier from praising the Lord,” he said.