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Mnangagwa arrives for the celebrations, 82 buses ferry people across the country

by Staff reporter
17 Apr 2022 at 09:10hrs | Views
ALL is set for the 42nd national Independence Day celebrations at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo tomorrow with President Mnangagwa, who will lead today and tomorrow's events, having arrived in the city.

A total of 82 buses have been set aside to ferry people from across the country with a total of 25 diplomats from different embassies having confirmed their attendance, a government official said.

President Mnangagwa arrived at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo yesterday evening ahead of the Children's Party reception at State House set for today and the main celebrations tomorrow.

Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, who is also the acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Dr Jenfan Muswere confirmed that all was set for the historic celebrations. The celebrations will for the first time be held outside the capital Harare.

Minister Muswere said after the lighting of the flame of independence that took place at Khami National Monument yesterday, the flame will be taken around the city today.

"We are ready to have these celebrations that are being held for the first time in Bulawayo, which is in line with President Mnangagwa's vision in terms of decentralisation and devolution of national state occasions.

The importance of celebrating independence was stressed by President Mnangagwa when he said no city has a monopoly of hosting  national occasions. It is significant in that it unites the entire nation and leaves no place and no one behind," said Dr Muswere.

He said the tour of the flame around the city will give an opportunity to everyone to be part of the celebrations. "The programme has started with the lighting of the flame here at Khami, which is historical in nature as Khami Monument represents the advancement and the civilisation which we had before imperialism, it also highlights the importance of arts and culture.

The lighting of the flame and its tour of the city of Bulawayo will ensure that the entire population becomes part of the independence celebrations as we honour the sacrifices that were made by the people of Zimbabwe in liberating our nation," he said.

Bulawayo Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mr Paul Nyoni weighed in saying transport to the venue of the celebrations has been set aside by the government with Bulawayo, the host province, having more buses followed by Harare and the two Matabeleland provinces.

He said it was gratifying that a significant number of diplomats seconded from different countries have confirmed their attendance to the celebrations that will be held outside Harare for the first time since independence in April 1980.

"We have 50 buses in Bulawayo that have been set aside, Harare has 10, Matabeleland North and South have been allocated five buses each and the rest of the provinces will each get two buses to ferry people. Pick up points will be in the various wards," he said.

Government has also extended an invitation to leaders of all political parties including all former and current Vice Presidents, former Deputy Prime Ministers, former and current ministers and deputy ministers of the Government of Zimbabwe to a reception at State House today. They have also been invited to accompany the President to the VIP stand at Barbourfields Stadium.

According to a programme released by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, apart from the children's party, there will be a State reception that is strictly by invitation including all political parties. There will also be fireworks at midnight to be seen from all corners of the city. The fireworks venue is to be attended by ministers, mayor and councillors, including party leadership.

Tomorrow there will be the main event at Barbourfields Stadium, and a football match between Highlanders and Dynamos (2PM) that the President is expected to attend. Furthermore, there will  be a retreat by the country's defence forces that the President will preside over and an Independence music gala at the same venue from 6PM that will be open to all.

Artists such as Jeyz Marabini, Sandra Ndebele and Songs of Lozikeyi are some acts that have been lined up for the performance tomorrow. Residents have expressed excitement at the celebrations saying they represent a true spirit of unity and inclusivity.

"It was a bit painful for the past years to watch the big event on television. At times I would wish to travel to Harare but would fail due to challenges. I am sure people will turn out in their numbers as this is the first time for Bulawayo to host such a big event. Young people like me will go and have a feel and learn some of the things about the Independence Day," said Simelokuhle Ncube.

Mr Liberty Moyo said this year's national celebrations were unique in several ways but the greatest was the decentralisation of national events which is a major milestone in the devolution agenda.

"The holding of the 42nd Independence anniversary in Bulawayo or Matabeleland in particular is a welcome development in the sense that it is in tandem with the devolution that the government is pursuing. So, starting with such a historic celebration is the way to go in the sense that you get the rest of the country involved in these national events."

Mr Talent Sibanda described this year's celebrations as a great opportunity for him to join other citizens in celebrating the country's independence anniversary.

"It feels so great hosting the first national independence celebrations in Bulawayo. We are really delighted and we will attend the event. I have never attended such a big national event, I guess it is my opportunity to go and enjoy it with other citizens," he said.

Source - The Sunday News