War vets turn back hands of time War veterans march during Independence Day celebrations in Buhera on Thursday.

Blessings Chidakwa in MURAMBINDA

Turning back the hands of time, war veterans most of whom are now in their 60s and 70s, relived their wartime experiences when they were afforded an opportunity to form a parade and march in quick time at the 44th Independence Day celebrations held in Murambinda, Buhera District.

So composed were the freedom fighters that they received a standing ovation from the crowd. Most of the marchers were part of the 15 000 team of freedom fighters who assembled at Dzapasi/ Foxtrot Assembly point during the ceasefire period.

At the tail-end of the country’s liberation struggle, when the embers of the gruelling war were dying after the defeat of the minority settler colonial regime, thousands of freedom fighters were assembled at Dzapasi/Foxtrot, in Buhera waiting for elections that ushered in majority rule. 

The freedom fighters were excited with the honour and could be heard chatting among themselves that it was “still in them”, as they were marching to a jubilant crowd at Uhera Stadium.

Addressing multitudes of people who attended the main Independence Day celebrations in Murambinda on Thursday, President Mnangagwa said his Government will continue to prioritise the welfare of war veterans.

“My administration continues to implement policies in line with our Constitutional obligation to respect and honour our veterans of the liberation struggle.

“I urge us to draw lessons from this rich legacy of bravery and look into the future with hope and confidence in our own abilities as an independent and free people,” he said.

A female war veteran who was part of the parade, who identified herself only as Cde Ticharwa, could not hide her joy.

“Truly, this is a historic day to us war veterans especially from Manicaland Province and we are happy that our President is indeed leaving no one and no place behind.

“Each Independence Day, we feel reinvigorated. Memories of the war are always still fresh in some of us,” she said.

Cde Member Kuvhiringidza also went down memory lane, expressing gratitude to P resident Mnangagwa for according them the honour to hold parade during the main Independence celebrations.

“We are very grateful to our Commander, President Mnangagwa, for honouring us on this very special day. 

“We managed to show the world that we are still going strong,” he said.

Meanwhile, there was brisk business in Murambinda during the Children’s Party and Independence Day celebrations.

Motels, fast food outlets, shops and beer outlets were filled to the brim with patrons.

Due to the huge turnout, estimated at over 70 000 people, accommodation demand became so huge that some families had to partly convert their houses into guest houses charging between US$10 to US$20 per night.

Gogo Chipo Masocha, whose children live in the Diaspora, said she had to give in to the idea of converting the house into a guest house following several requests from desperate accommodation seekers.

“I charged them US$5 per head in a room which was accommodating at least 4 people. I have never seen huge crowds like the ones l witnessed here this time around,” she said.

A vendor, Mrs Tinotenda Gwaze, who operates along the Chivhu-Murambinda Highway said she recorded brisk business.

“I am grateful for the events that were held here as they helped me make some money. On a usual day, l go home with between US$20 and US$30 but on Independence Day l had around US$250,” she said.

Over 70 000 people thronged Uhera Stadium, Murambinda B Secondary School in Buhera District, for the Independence Day celebrations.

It was the second time that such celebrations were held in a rural environment since 1980, after Mt Darwin District in Mashonaland Central Province hosted the event last year. 

But overall, this was the third Independence Day celebrations to be held outside Harare, again since 1980, after the 2022 celebrations were held in Bulawayo, in line with the Second Republic’s thrust of leaving no place and no one behind.

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