1017: All is set for the National Defence Forces Day celebrations to be held at the National Sports Stadium today. President Mnangagwa is expected to officiate.
1020: Service chiefs have arrived for the celebrations.
1026: Vice President Mohadi arrives at the stadium amidst cheers from the crowd.
1037: Ululation and cheers from the crowd as President Mnangagwa and First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa arrive at the National Sports Stadium.
1039: Th arrival of the President and the singing of the national anthem marks the beginning of the celebrations.
1043: The parade commander invites President Mnangagwa to inspect the Parade.
1048: The President finishes inspecting the Parade and takes his seat
1051: Delegations from the defence forces of South Africa and Lesotho are also present at the National Sports Stadium
1054: Chaplain-General Colonel Joseph Nyakudya is now giving a sermon.
1059: Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri is now on the podium.
“We are humbled Your Excellency to host you as our guest honour at his occasion,” she says.
1101: Chinhoyi Stadium is filled to the brim as residents have turned up in their numbers to commemorate the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day. The main parade has just entered the stadium as we wait the arrival of guest of honour Provincial Affairs Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka
1102: Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri paid tribute to the SA defence forces for their assistance to the affected families in Manicaland due to cyclone Idai. She said the ZDF is not only there to guard the nation but also in carrying out community developmental projects in all the provinces of Zimbabwe
1110: She concludes her speech. Next is the outlining of Colours by the Airforce of Zimbabwe
1142: In Mashonaland Central, at Chipadze Stadium, the headquarters artillery brigade has mounted a parade as we await the arrival of Minister of State Senate Monica Mavhunga and other dignitaries
1202: President Mnangagwa will confer awards in honour of members of the ZDF who played outstanding roles in saving lives and assisting victims of cyclone Idai
1233: Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri has now invited President Mnangagwa to address the gathering
1237: “I’m privileged to address you today as we gather to celebrate the 39th anniversary of the ZDF. Since the attainment of independence our country has enjoyed peace and stability as a result of the selfless dedication and sacrifice of these fine men and women of our nation,”
1242: Back home our forces have continued to maintain peace and order. I also commend the women and men of the ZDF for their assistance in response to cyclone idai. We applaud their focused intervention with the quest to reach inaccessible places in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts. Let me take this opportunity to thank the people of Zimbabwe and the international community who helped in the time of need,”
1244: “My Government is prioritising upgrading of equipment in both the army and airforce. Meanwhile, several courses, joint training were conducted with regional and international friendly countries which had enriched the knowledge base of the ZDF. Internationally, my Government will ensure the ZDF will play its part. Zimbabwe is indeed committed and ready to play its part in ensuring a more peaceful, modern and integrated Africa. He said the ZDF continues to play its role in assisting people locally,”
1249: He said there are outreach programmes conducted by the ZDF with some already completed projects in Bulawayo, Goromonzi and Mberengwa. President Mnangagwa said the ZDF is committed to uplift the lives of the people while paying tribute to international demining companies for rendering assistance to Zimbabwe in the demining exercise. He implored the general public to embrace the cleaning up of their surroundings for safe and healthy environs and promised that his Government will expedite the construction of houses for the military forces.
1251: “The TSP which promotes production is ongoing….the medicine to cure our economic ailment will be bitter,” He said urging the nation to be patient while the cure is effected, saying the darkest hour is always followed by dawn.
1255: The President said the country must endeavor to coordinate economic development with national defence and security adding that the long standing relationship between the army and the people must be rekindled and nurtured. He appelaed to all Zimbabweans to reject those who perpetuate the suffering of the people through violence. President Mnangagwa urged the nation to shun violence and exercise peace.
He has finished his address and the National Anthem is sung.
1305: The parade will now march past and off the parade ground.
1340: President Mnangagwa has left the National Sports Stadium and that concludes our updates. Thank you for joining us.