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Preparations for this year’s 39th Independence anniversary set for Thursday have gathered momentum across the country.
This year’s celebrations are themed: “Zimbabwe @39 — Embracing Devolution for Vision 2030.”
The main celebrations will be in Harare where President Mnangagwa will deliver his keynote address.
Ministers of State for various provinces who spoke to The Herald yesterday said preparations had reached an advanced stage.
In Midlands, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Larry Mavima said the organising committee had set a target of $40 000 towards hosting a successful event at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru.
“Our main organising committee for the celebrations has set a target of $40 000 towards the main event which will be held at Mkoba Stadium. The target is almost being met and I am confident we will have a successful event,” he said.
Minister Mavima said this year’s celebrations were unfortunately coming at a time when the nation was still mourning people who died in Chimanimani and Chipinge following Cyclone Idai.
“I take cognisant that this year’s celebrations come at a sombre moment when we just lost lives and infrastructure due to Cyclone Idai natural calamity. Our hearts and minds should be with the bereaved,” he said.
In Mashonaland East, the main celebrations will be held at Rudhaka Stadium.
Mashonaland East provincial administrator Mr Tavabarira Kutamahufa said the province had raised over $30 000 for the celebrations from various stakeholders.
“We held six preparatory meetings with stakeholders and several others were held in our nine other administrative districts,” he said.
“We have managed to raise over $30 000 towards the event. The main venue for the provincial celebrations will be Rudhaka Stadium and similar celebrations will be held in nine districts. We got 240 cattle for the celebrations from the nine administrative districts.
“The uniformed forces, comprising the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) are rehearsing their drills. We will also get entertainment from various artistes including high profile artistes that I cannot mention at the moment. A night gala will be held in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe district.”
Mashonaland West confirmed that it has made significant progress in terms of the preparations.
The province is spearheading the establishment of the Seven Heroes’ Field Museum and Memorial Park which is aimed at honouring the Seven Heroes who participated in the 1966 Chinhoyi Battle.
Provincial administrator Mrs Cecilia Chitiyo said: “The history of the liberation of this country and independence cannot be complete without mentioning the Seven Heroes who were the first to go out and raise alarm and fire the first bullets to liberate this country in the Second Chimurenga,” she said.
“Government, through the Ministries of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage and Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry have been working at the Chinhoyi Battle Shrine. Work is already underway.”
Mrs Chitiyo said Government was in the process of verifying the graves of the Seven Heroes so that they become part of the museum which is expected to tell the story of the liberation struggle.
Chinhoyi Municipality has also renamed streets after the Seven Heroes who pioneered the Second Chimurenga while angling for city status under the “City of Heroes” tag.
The shrines are expected to be a tourist attraction as Government seeks to promote liberation war tourism like what Vietnam has done with the Ho Chi Minh Trails.
In Mashonaland Central, preparations are 95 percent complete.
The organising committee chairman, Mr Richard Chipfuva said: “I can safely say that our preparations are now 95 percent complete. We are left with a few touch-ups at the main venue. All logistics are in place and we are grateful for the overwhelming response we got from all stakeholders through donations in cash and kind.
“The 39th Independence Day celebrations are unique as we are having our first woman Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Cde Monica Mavhunga presiding over them. Although former vice president Joice Mujuru was once a governor of the province, Cde Mavhunga is the first woman to be appointed Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in the province and we will be having a motherly touch during the celebrations,” he said.
Mr Chipfuva said they had come up with the Independence Dialogue where the provincial leadership would interface with tertiary institutions students at Bindura University of Science Education today.
“We want the Second Chimurenga legacy to continue and it is through dialogues of this nature where our future leaders will have the opportunity to learn more about the country’s history.
“Not everything is recorded so, through these dialogues, the students will have an insight of the history of Zimbabwe and how important it is to preserve this rich legacy. The students should also know where we are going as a nation and play their role in turning around the economic fortunes of this country,” he said.
In Harare, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Oliver Chidawu said they were meeting today for a mobilisation meeting.
“Harare is unique in that we host the main celebrations and we are going to meet on Tuesday to organise the mobilisation logistics,” he said.
In Masvingo provincial administrator Mr Fungai Mbetsa said: “We held our last meeting today to fine-tune the preparations and I can safely say all is now in place for the celebrations with the Minister of State Cde Ezra Chadzamira set to preside over the main provincial celebrations at Mucheke Hall where he will read the Presidential speech.
“There will be entertainment galore with various choral groups, dance troupes and our uniformed forces set to entertain thousands of fun lovers. The celebrations will also be held in all the seven administrative districts in the province and logistics are already in place.”
In Manicaland it was a busy day yesterday for the uniformed forces as they underwent some drill in preparations for the Uhuru celebrations set for Thursday in Sakubva Stadium in Mutare.
Officers from the Zimbabwe National Army, ZPCS and the Zimbabwe Republic Police drills went through their drills in preparations for the celebrations.
Thousands of people from across the province are set to converge at the stadium where the uniformed forces usually spice up the event with various entertainment activities and displays.