Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa will today preside over the main Heroes Day commemorations, with thousands of people expected to converge at provincial and district centres countrywide to honour heroes and heroines who sacrificed their lives to liberate the country from colonial bondage.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Mnangagwa, will also tomorrow officiate at the main Defence Forces Day celebrations.
The main events will take place at the National Heroes Acre and the National Sports Stadium, respectively.
Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Cde Mirriam Chikukwa said all was in place to successfully host these two important events.
“All the transport logistics are now in place. We have secured 50 buses for tomorrow (Heroes Day) and 100 for the 14th (Defence Forces Day) for the main events. However, Bulawayo also have five buses and other provinces will have two buses each.
“Buses will pick up people from usual pick up points from as early as 6am,” said Minister Chikukwa.
She said just like last year, Harare will also have its provincial commemorations soon after the main event.
“This year we will tour the old side of the shrine; since last year we toured the new shrine at the provincial heroes’ acre,” said Minister Chikukwa.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Defence Forces director of public relations Colonel Overson Mugwisi said all was also set for Defence Forces Day celebrations.
“The final preparation rehearsals were done and we are now good to go,” said Col Mugwisi.
Spectacular military parades, parachute jumps, gun drills and combat fitness marches are some of the highlights at the main venue on the Defence Forces Day commemorations.
Jah Prayzah and Alick Macheso are also billed to perform at the same venue while Malawi Defence Forces will play Zimbabwe Defence Forces in a soccer match slated for the afternoon.
Zimbabwe National War Veterans’ Association chairman Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa said the Heroes Day celebrations were an important event in Zimbabwe’s calendar because they provided an opportunity for Zimbabweans to remember the struggles they went through to recover freedom.
He said Nyadzonia, Tembwe, Chimoio in Mozambique and Mulungushi and Freedom Camp in Mozambique were stark reminders of a racist settler regime that ran amok pursuing exiled Zimbabweans.
“Similar genocide was being perpetrated especially to the rural population across swathes of contested military territory. Zimbabweans were tenaciously determined to master modern warfare to defeat the settler catspaw of a first rate European military power,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
He said all that dying and suffering that brought about independence can only be sustained by a better Zimbabwe where majority of the population enjoys unconditional access to the country’s resources as well as due rewards for their hard work.
Cde Mutsvangwa said this aspiration remains relevant especially in the aftermath of Operation Restore Legacy.
“The ideals of that generation were being subverted as political selfishness took national centre stage. Economic decay was destroying the promise of rosy and vibrant future,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
He said with President-elect Mnangagwa, hope for a better Zimbabwe is now rekindled.
“Local and global business interests are palpably confident once again. Infusions of capital as we reengage erstwhile adversaries and cement tested friendships will see Zimbabwe become a haven of business acumen. Jobs will be created as well as educated labour force engages in producing world class goods and services to meet the most discerning of the global market place,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity and party spokesperson Cde Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo called upon all Zimbabweans to come together and commemorate this day as one people.
He said the independence and freedoms, which we enjoy today are national in character and not a monopoly to any section of the society.
“Heroes Day, which this year falls on the 13th August is one of the most important days on the national calendar where the nation pays homage to the many fine sons and daughters of the soil, who sacrificed their dear lives for the liberation of Zimbabwe from the shackles of colonialism and settlerism, leading to the freedom and independence in 1980,” said Ambassador Khaya Moyo.
Ambassador Khaya Moyo also paid tribute to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for holding true to their national revolutionary duties in protecting the country’s territorial integrity and defence of the nation’s sovereignty.
“The nation continues saluting them for the professional intervention efforts of November 2017 which brought about the current new dispensation. Economic emancipation remains our focus, premised on unity, peace and development,” he said.
Ambassador Khaya Moyo said this year’s commemorations were unique in that they were coming after successful conduct of national harmonised elections, which the ruling party won resoundingly.
He said these elections have so far received a clean bill of health from several observer missions across the globe including SADC and the African Union who have since declared the electoral process as peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible.
“The Party is pleased with the election outcome and congratulates His Excellency the Zanu-PF First Secretary and President Cde ED Mnangagwa for steering the revolutionary Party into a thunderous electoral victory,” said Ambassador Khaya Moyo.
He said Zanu-PF continues abhorring and condemning in the strongest possible terms the post-election violence perpetrated by supporters of the MDC-Alliance in Harare resulting in deaths and injuries of some people as well as destruction of property and vehicles.
“We hope the perpetrators will soon be brought to book. Our deepest thoughts are with the bereaved families and to those who lost their lives when efforts were being made to restore law and order. May their dear souls rest in peace. We further wish the injured speedy recovery,” said Ambassador Khaya Moyo.
Zanu-PF national youth chairperson Cde Pupurai Togarepi said youths were also ready and committed to supporting today’s event.
He said for them, Heroes Day commemorations provide a platform to reflect on the role youths can also play in defending a country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
“Heroes are the people who contributed immensely to the emancipation of this country. All the dignity and pride we enjoy today was made possible through the sacrifice, which these people made to defend our sovereignty,” said Cde Togarepi.
He said it is therefore important to remember the fallen heroes and gallant sons and daughters of the liberation struggle on a special day like today, and continue drawing inspiration from their good deeds.
“As youths, we continue to be inspired by the sacrifices of our heroes and heroines to liberate this country and likewise, we should also play our part and stand firm in today’s Zimbabwe in defence of our revolution,” said Cde Togarepi.