Zimbabwe Hawks back in the skies A Zimbabwe National Army paratrooper lands on the main arena during the ZITF official opening in Bulawayo yesterday.

Fungi Kwaramba in Bulawayo

After being grounded for years due to lack of access to spare parts caused by illegal economic sanctions, Air Force of Zimbabwe’s Hawk jets yesterday had a flypast at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) exhibition grounds, as the country yet again demonstrated its innovative depth against adversity. 

President Mnangagwa, after a near three-hour tour of stands at ZITF, arrived in the Showgrounds stadium in a vintage Rolls Royce in the afternoon to rapturous applause.

The country’s heart stirring national anthem was sang in all the country’s three main languages — Ndebele, Shona and English — with the Zimbabwe National Army Band leading in the rendition of the song of the nation.

Following the singing of the National Anthem, President Mnangagwa, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, was invited to inspect the Guard of Honour, while two sets of the Hawk jets made up of four planes each had a fly-past.

After the spectacle, the President proceeded to his seat at the top table where he joined First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, Zanu PF Vice President and Second Secretary Cde Kembo Mohadi, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Cabinet Ministers, senior Government officials and service chiefs.

Earlier, the President had spent more than three hours touring exhibition stands and chit-chatting with business executives and diplomats at the country’s premier trade and investment platform running under the theme “Rethink, Reimagine, Reinvent value chains for economic development”.

The theme is apt and in tandem with President Mnangagwa’s vision for industrialisation and modernisation towards achieving Vision 2030 of becoming an upper middle income economy. 

This year, ZITF is also a platform for the country’s branding and with the involvement of diplomats, including from the United Kingdom, it showed President Mnangagwa’s policies that “Zimbabwe is open for business” and engagement and re-engagement are gaining traction.

A total of 514 direct exhibitors booked exhibition space and 71 are at the trade fair for the first time.

Zimpapers, the country’s biggest diversified media group, publishing, among other newspapers, The Herald, The Sunday Mail, Chronicle and The Sunday News, with a television station, and radio stations was also exhibiting at the fair. 

There was a buzz at the ZITF as thousands of people teemed into the showgrounds, touring the stands where companies, both small and big, were selling their brands and exchanging notes.

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