Pomp, fanfare as Zimbabweans celebrate 44th Independence President Mnangagwa and First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa pose during the 44th Independence Celebrations in Buhera, Manicaland yesterday.

Herald Reporters

It was pomp and fanfare and a time to look back and reflect as Zimbabweans celebrated yesterday 44 years of Independence during festivities held in all provinces.

The main celebrations were held in Murambinda, Manicaland Province, where President Mnangagwa led the proceedings.

Excitement largely filled the air as each province showcased various musical talents, oratory skills, dances and displays.

In Harare, scores of people gathered at Glamis Arena to witness the grand parade.

The commemorations were led by Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Charles Tawengwa, who inspected the guard of honour and read the Presidential speech.

Residents expressed their joy at being part of the commemorations, which they said signify the sacrifices made by sons and daughters who fought for independence.

Mrs Marjorie Mutsigwa from Chitungwiza said: “I am happy that we have been free for 44 years. I could not stay at home today and I had to come here where the celebrations are being held because some of those who fought for our liberation died but they should have been here, celebrating with us.

“My presence here is to honour their sacrifice.”

Madzimai Emily Kashitigu of the Johanne Masowe eChishanu apostolic sect said: “I turned 44 last month and this makes me happy because even though I am as old as the free Zimbabwe, I have never experienced a war.

“Everything I know about war is from reading and being told by our elders. We have many relatives who died during the war and that is painful, but their death brought us the freedom we now have. We are grateful to them and to those who survived to this day.”

In Mashonaland West, the main provincial celebrations were held at Rimuka Stadium in Kadoma where thousands gathered.

Similar gatherings were at various centres in the seven districts of the province.

Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Marian Chombo, led the proceedings.

She inspected a four detachment parade and read the President’s speech.

Quick and slow marches, music from Sulumani Chimbetu and Jonathan “Mr Chinhoyi” Siastimuzu, entertained the crowd.

Miners for Economic Development provincial coordinator Cde Gift Jakarasi said Independence Day was a special time to reflect on the opportunities available to citizens, especially youths.

In Beitbridge, Matabeleland South, scores of residents gathered at Dulivhadzimu Stadium, with CCC councillors from Beitbridge Municipality attending the national event for the first time.

Beitbridge Municipality police, ZCC brass band, local poets and artistes provided entertainment.

District Development Coordinator Mrs Sikhangezile Mafu read the President’s speech.

Those who attended included Beitbridge East legislator Cde Albert Nguluvhe, Senator Tambudzani Mohadi, Youth Quota Member of Parliament Tinashe Mushipe and top civil servants from the district and religious leaders.

In Mashonaland Central, the celebrations were for the first time moved from Chipadze Stadium to Bare High School grounds in Chiweshe, in line with President Mnangagwa’s directive that key celebrations be decentralised.

Thousands of people gathered to witness the event, some for the first time.

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Christopher Magomo, led proceedings, which started with the inspection of a parade and later delivered the President’s speech.

Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Cde Tsitsi Gezi and three MPs from Mazowe, Cdes Maxmore Njanji, Tsungai Makupe and Albert Mazungunye, were among the dignitaries.

In Masvingo, thousands of people thronged Madyangove Primary School grounds at Chivi Growth Point for the provincial Independence Day celebrations.

The celebrations were characterised by a buffet of entertainment.

People from all walks of life started arriving at Chivi Growth Point from 7am to witness the celebrations, which were taken to the district in line with the decentralisation agenda being pursued by the Second Republic.

Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Ezra Chadzamira, arrived at the venue with his grand entry being preceded by service chiefs.

Minister Chadzamira inspected the parade before reading the President’s speech. The celebrations continued late into the day with the crowd being entertained by music, football matches and performances by traditional dance troupes.

Mashonaland East, provincial celebrations were held at council grounds in Dema, Seke district and were presided over by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland East, Aplonia Munzverengwi.

The event officially started when Minister Munzverengwi inspected the guard of honour, soon after she planted a tree at the council premises.

Thereafter, the crowd witnessed members of the security forces who comprised the Zimbabwe National Army, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, in a quick and slow march.

Minister Munzverengwi later delivered the President’s speech.

In Midlands Province, Independence Day was celebrated in style at Mbizo Stadium in Kwekwe, marking the first time ever for the event to be hosted outside the provincial capital, Gweru.

Midlands continues to record development strides inspired by the bold and strategic policy decisions under President Mnangagwa’s leadership,

The giant US$1,5 billion Dinson Iron and Steel plant, remains a legacy investment endorsing the transformative policy direction to open up the economy to both domestic and foreign direct investment.

Important investments along the mineral-rich Great Dyke stretching from Kwekwe to Mberengwa via Zvishavane, have also given a strong drive to the Midlands provincial GDP growth projections for 2024 and beyond.

Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Owen Ncube, arrived at the venue at 11am before inspecting the guard of honour mounted by the country’s uniformed forces and later read the President’s speech.

Entertainment was provided by different artistes and traditional dancers, much to the delight of the thousands of people who attended.

“We are very grateful to our fallen heroes who brought the Independence we are celebrating today.

“We are now proud owners of our land and mines, which came out of sacrifices for us to be free,” said Mrs Amanda Takaendesa.

In an interview, Pastors for ED national spokesperson Prophetess Idirashe Dongo yesterday said: “We treasure the struggle that was fought so that you and I have the freedom of religion and speech we are having now.

“This is a time for all Christians and Zimbabweans at large to reflect on the struggles that were faced by the heroes and heroines and also show solidarity and respect to our liberators.”

Prophetess Dongo added that as the Church, they want all Zimbabweans to be united and they discourage those who want to cause chaos “in our beloved nation”.

Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) secretary general Reverend Wilfred Dimungu said: “We as the church have played a pivotal role in the attainment of independence including accompanying the nationalists who attended the Lancaster House Conference, which culminated in Zimbabwe attaining its independence.

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