Cletus Mushanawani and Nduduzo Tshuma
THE decentralisation of national events to all provinces has been hailed as a positive development that will bring inclusivity and unity of purpose among Zimbabweans.
Provincial Affairs Ministers have hailed the decision by President Mnangagwa to rotate the events, describing him as a visionary leader and listening President.
Previously, the main ceremony of a national event would be held in the capital, while provincial ministers would read out the President’s speech in their respective areas.
Speaking at the just-ended Zanu PF 18th Annual National People’s Conference in Goromonzi, Mashonaland East, President Mnangagwa said: “In all that we do and the various plans that we make, let us be mindful that Zimbabwe is a diverse, but unitary State. From Zambezi to Limpopo, from Plumtree to Mutare, we are one.
“Going forward and inspired by the principle of devolution, we shall be holding national events such as the main national Independence Day commemorations at various parts of the country, and not just the capital.”
Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, said the decentralisation was a positive development, which was long overdue.
“This goes to show that our President wants the leadership to be with the grassroots,” she said.
“Our leaders will have a chance to meet with the people on a regular basis and have a feel of how they are living.
“For us in Mashonaland West, history shows that the first Second Chimurenga shots were fired in Chinhoyi and it is important for the national leadership to pay homage to these gallant sons of the soils by coming here to celebrate with us during events like Heroes’ Day commemorations.
“President Mnangagwa’s announcement also shows that he is a listening President who always wants to get first-hand information from the grassroots.”
Minister Mliswa-Chikoka said the decentralisation of events was in line with the devolution agenda.
“We have since engaged the development gear and the gracing of the national events by the Presidium will also keep everyone on his or her toes as monitoring of progress of projects will be part of their visit,” she said.
“Gone are the days when people would wait for the coming of the President to spruce up their areas. Devolution money should be put to good use and everyone should go an extra mile in ensuring that our provinces are developed.”
Minister of State for Mashonaland East, Applonia Munzverengwi, whose province successfully hosted the recently held Zanu PF National People’s Conference, said: “We welcome this development as it will bring unity of purpose among all Zimbabweans. People will throng these celebrations as they will now see value out of them.
“By decentralising them, it means they will be held in other areas than the provincial capitals and this will impact positively in people’s lives. The just-ended conference brought a lot of opportunities for people of Mashonaland East and if the event is held at a place like Kotwa near the border with Mozambique, the villagers there will reap a lot of benefits.
“Infrastructure development will be spread to all corners of the country and this will go a long way in the country attain Vision 2030 of being a middle class economy.”
Masvingo Minister of State Ezra Chadzamira, said: “We will fully support this noble idea. It will also give other provinces a chance to show the nation their organisational skills. It was long overdue for these national events to be decentralised.
“Everyone now feels that they belong to one nation, Zimbabwe. Most people were no longer taking these national events seriously because they had become a routine where they will meet to listen to President’s speech being read by someone else. Now people will attend in their thousands if they know that the national leadership will be among them celebrating these national events.
“We want to thank President Mnangagwa for his wise leadership and we also want to thank Zimbabweans for their unity of purpose as we managed to sail through the year despite the challenges that we had as a nation.”
Said Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube: “Once the decision is implemented, it will be very exciting because the people will feel closer to the celebrations and have an interest in the events of national importance.”
Matabeleland North Minister of State Richard Moyo said the rotation of venues to celebrate the main programme of national events would further entrench the appreciation and understanding of national values.
“What is important is that the people in the provinces can now take part in the main celebrations that they have been watching on the television over the years,” he said.
“In the provinces, the numbers we have attracted in recent years do not match those that gather at the National Sports Stadium, but when the main programme is rotated, more people will come for national events and be in touch with things that matter in their country like history and heritage.”
Minister Moyo said the decision was timely in that it comes after the establishment of the Chitepo School of Ideology.
“The war was fought in various parts of the country and while it will be taught at the Chitepo School of Ideology, it will help especially the young to appreciate that history when the main programme is held on a rotational basis,” he said.
Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Minister Abednico Ncube said the decision by the President was a welcome development.