Herald Reporters —
Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans countrywide yesterday gathered at different centres to celebrate 37 years of Independence, while President Mugabe presided over the main event at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
In Harare, Cabinet ministers and foreign diplomats attended the celebrations marked by entertainment from members of the Defence Forces, drum majorettes, top musicians and a scintillating soccer match between Dynamos and Highlanders.
The celebrations were replicated in other provinces and districts where Provincial ministers and senior civil servants read President Mugabe’s speech.
Play the video below for President Mugabe’s speech
In Chinhoyi (Mashonaland West), thousands of people gathered at Chinhoyi Stadium to mark the country’s 37th Independence anniversary.
Celebrations were also held at district centres throughout the province.
Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Faber Chidarikire inspected a four-detachment parade mounted by security forces before reading the President’s speech.
The crowd was entertained by displays from security forces, drum majorettes and an all-night musical gala featuring musicians from the province, including Preacherman and Attack Force Jazz band.
In Masvingo, thousands of people packed Mucheke Stadium for the celebrations.
The day was marked by various entertainment activities, including displays by uniformed forces.
Proceedings started with a parade comprising members of the army, police and prisons marching from Chikato Police Station around 9am to Mucheke accompanied by the army band.
People lined the streets to witness the colourful parade.
Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Senator Shuvai Mahofa presided over the celebrations and read the Presidential speech.
The celebrations continued with performances by Mutimurefu Dance Group and Great Zimbabwe University students.
A soccer match between Christian College and Tami-Tami Football Club brought the curtain down on a fun-filled day.
In Manicaland, over 20 000 people packed Sakubva Stadium for the celebrations.
Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Cde Mandi Chimene read President Mugabe’s speech.
A uniformed forces’ procession added glamour to the event.
A musical gala was held on Independence eve with an array of artistes taking turns to entertain hundreds of people.
A Mozambican delegation led by Governor for Manica Province Mr Alberto Ricardo Mondlane as well as Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development Professor Francis Gudyanga and service chiefs were among notable people who were present.
It was jubilation at Chipadze Stadium, Bindura (Mashonaland Central) as masses of people gathered to celebrate this year’s 37th Independence.
Embattled provincial chairperson Dickson Mafiosi sat in the crowd to avoid embarrassment.
Provincial War Veterans chairperson Cde Sam Parirenyatwa said Mafiosi was advised not to join the high table to avoid causing disorder.
“War veterans did not want to see him join other delegates at the podium and we advised him against it for the sake of smooth sailing of the event,” said Cde Parirenyatwa.
“War Vets threatened to manhandle him off the podium.”
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Advocate Martin Dinha read the President’s speech.
Among the delegates were service chiefs, the Mayor for Bindura Councillor Innocent Zvigumbu, Senator Monica Mavhunga (Zanu-PF), Chief Negomo, acting provincial chairperson Kazembe Kazembe.
The situation was the same in Mashonaland Central where the Provincial Minister Cde Ambros Mutinhiri read the President’s speech in Marondera.
Minister of State for Bulawayo Province Cde Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo inspected a guard of honour before reading the President’s speech to an overflowing White City stadium.
Residents continued to flock in as proceedings went on.
Members of the Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services provided entertainment.
Police officers had a torrid time controlling the crowds, which included hundreds of children from different parts of Bulawayo.
In Matabeleland South, hundreds of people converged at Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda filing the venue to capacity.
By 8 am the stadium had been filled to capacity by people mostly from Gwanda and surrounding areas.
Services chiefs, Zanu PF provincial members and the Guest of Honour, the Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage, Cde Abednigo Ncube, were among the dignitaries at the event.
Cde Ncube read the President’s speech.
Drills by the armed forces stole the day with scintillating performances.
Arts groups from Gwanda did not disappoint as they also left the crowd clamouring for more, with Nduna Malaba Junior, popularly known as Ndux Malax Jr, stealing the hearts of many.
In Matabeleland North, hundreds of people thronged Somhlolo Stadium in Lupane to celebrate the 37th independence anniversary.
The event started shortly after 12 pm following the arrival of service chiefs and Minister Matabeleland North, Cde Cain Mathema.
Cde Mathema, who was the guest of honour, inspected the guard of honour mounted by the Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services and the police before he read the President’s speech.
The event was attended by Macro Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Obert Mpofu, the Deputy Minister of Media, Information, Broadcasting Services Cde Thokozile Mathuthu, Lupane West MP Cde Martin Khumalo and her counterpart from Tsholotsho South Cde Zenzo Sibanda, Chief Mabhikwa, Chief Nekatambe and Zanu-PF Matabeleland North provincial chairperson, Cde Richard Moyo.
This year’s celebrations were held under the theme “Zimbabwe @37: Embracing Ease of Doing Business for Socio-economic Development”.