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Zimbabwe celebrates Independence Day under lockdown regulations

by Staff reporter
18 Apr 2020 at 07:48hrs | Views
Zimbabwe celebrates 40 years of independence today and for the first time there are no gatherings to mark the anniversary due to the national lockdown enforced to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

This year's centrepiece national celebrations were set to be held at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo, which was going to be the first time for the event to move out of the capital, Harare, since 1980.

The move was in line with Government's thrust of promoting devolution and growth of provincial economies. Although there are no gatherings, the celebrations will still maintain a national character with President Mnangagwa making a televised speech at State House. Provinces are also preparing for the occasion and the absence of gatherings is not going to dampen their spirit.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa last night said: "It is our 40th Independence tomorrow (today). The independence day is falling at a time, when we joined other nations across the globe in fighting the pandemic that knows no race, no age, no religion or sex," she said.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa. The coronavirus, said the minister, had made us change the way we lived our day to day lives and this year Zimbabwe celebrated its 40th birthday in different style and manner.

"Still that should not stop us from celebrating this auspicious occasion, with more courage and determination to win this war against this Covid-19 threat. On April 18, we celebrate the birth of a nation, a nation that was built out of desire for freedom. A nation whose founding gloves/principles are the need for Independence, equality, justice and freedom.

"A nation whose people sacrificed life and won in a modern way of fighting foreign invaders over decades until victory was achieved on the 18th of April 1980. This year we have by-passed the pomp and fanfare and all the same we celebrate in our homes for the reasons of medical safety,'' said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Zanu-PF national commissar and Deputy Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Victor Matemadanda said April 18  reminded Zimbabweans of the day they ended denial of their rights by the colonial regime. He said under

the old dispensation independence lost its direction after both Zanu PF and the Government were hijacked by the G-40 cabal who took advantage of former president Robert Mugabe's advanced age. In the Second Republic under the stewardship of President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe managed to refocus on clear tasks aimed at bettering the lives of the people.

"Under the able leadership of President Mnangagwa Government has managed to deal with financial indiscipline. The Second Republic brought about accountability and Government is now living within its means. We were unfortunate to be struck by natural disasters such as Cyclone Idai and the Covid-19 pandemic, which requires us to use all the resources we have to save the lives of our people."

In Manicaland, Provincial Development Coordinator Mr Edgars Seenza said the province would follow the measures announced and observe Independence Day with no gatherings. Residents in Mutare said the absence of gatherings does not diminish the importance of the day.

"We have become used to gathering at Sakubva Stadium every year for Independence Day celebrations but this year we will not do that. Personally, I am happy that the country is being conscious of this deadly disease. It does not mean the day is any less important. We are still thankful to our liberation war heroes for bringing us the freedom we enjoy today," said Mrs Laina Sithole from Dangamvura.

Midlands Provincial Minister Larry Mavima urged people in his province to celebrate the Independence Day in their homes. "We still urge people to observe the national lockdown. The President will be addressing the nation through television so we will celebrate our day in doors but will still have a chance to listen to our President's message on this important day in our history," said Minister Mavima.

Minister Mavima In Mashonaland West, most people said the spirit of Independence lives but indicated that the coronavirus pandemic had deflected attention from the April 18 celebrations. Mr Gration Mahachi, who had been part of the Independence Day organising team over the years, said preparations had gathered momentum but sadly the event was shelved because of the coronavirus outbreak. The celebrations in Kariba had been slated for Kasvisva Primary School under chief Nebiri.

Mashonaland West provincial war veterans chairman Cornelius Muwoni said: "No one knows when this pandemic ends. These are extraordinary situations needing extraordinary decisions. The spirit of Independence lives."

Mashonaland Central war veterans' provincial chairman Sam Parirenyatwa urged people in the province to be vigilant as the country celebrated Independence Day in their homes for the first time.

"It is a sweet and bitter day, sons and daughters of the soil made history by realising the dream generations before and generations to come," he said.

"We shall always remember and cherish the day our country was liberated from the shackles of colonialism," he said.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister Richard Moyo said at 40, the country was now mature and stood ready to tackle challenges.

"We are celebrating independence differently due to Covid-19 that has caused a national lockdown. However, this should not dampen our spirits. We should stay in our homes as per the lockdown regulations. The President will be delivering the independence message; hence it is important to watch the local television and listen to His Excellency's message," said Moyo.

Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Minister Abednico Ncube said: "A lot of sacrifice was put for the country to attain Independence. We are going to be at home tomorrow waiting for His Excellency to provide guidance on the country's way forward in light Covid-19. Everyone should stay at home in compliance with lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the virus," said Minister Ncube.

Source - the herald

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