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Thousands celebrate Defence Forces Day

by Staff reporter
16 Aug 2023 at 06:37hrs | Views
Tens of thousands of appreciative citizens yesterday thronged various centres countrywide to commemmorate defence forces day with the main celebrations being held at the National Sports Stadium yIn Harare where the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) President Mnangagwa was the guest of honour.

The 43 edition of these celebrations marked a milestone in the history of the armed forces which have succeeded in several civil military assignments over the years.

Over and above its constitutional mandate to "Defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests of Zimbabwe and to contribute to international peace and security" — a role which they have carried out unflinchingly and diligently- the security forces have endeared themselves to the public through various people centred operations.

This year's celebrations were held under the theme: "Brick by Brick, Stone Upon Stone — Zimbabwe Defence Forces: Creating a Conducive Environment for the Attainment of Vision 2030".

In true celebratory mood, ZDF Commander-in-Chief President Mnangagwa stepped into the giant National Sports Stadium amid wild cheers from the crowd. ZDF came with a package of entertainment displays which kept the crowd captivated and entertained as people celebrated the annual event.

Displays included demonstrations on how the forces rescue people affected by natural disasters such as floods.

There was a mock airlifting of a flood victim from an inaccessible area while troopers also displayed how they undertake combat action using various forms of miliraty hardware.

Zimbabwe National Army Director Public Relations Colonel Alphios Makotore spoke on the significance of a military parade, a guard of honour and other military traditions.

"A parade is always the starting point of the day where a commander must inspect his troops. He must inspect his officers and the weapons," said Colonel Makotore in an interview with The Herald on the sidelines of the c

"A parade is a must when we are in camps. A parade is done almost on a daily basis so that we check whether we are in a state of readiness to execute tasks.

"On the other hand, a guard of honour is given on a ceremonial function, in honour of Heads of State. Setting up parades and guards of honour starts from the recruits and drill are associated with discipline," he said.

Several people attended the celebrations expressed appreciation for the role ZDF continued to play in defence of the country's territorial integrity.

"We are proud of our soldiers. Whenever they are deployed, they excel," said Ms Evidence Chiparaushe.

Ms Primrose Karimazondo of Kuwadzana said she always brought her children to the ZDF celebrations.

"My children are fascinated by the displays, the helicopters and several others events. My eldest child who is 13 wants to be a fighter pilot when he grows up," said Ms Karimazondo.

"I enjoyed the fly past, the helicopters dropping soldiers and I also want to be a soldier," said Matipaishe Mutizwa, a Grade Three learner.

In Masvingo, thousands of people converged at Mucheke Stadium which was packed to the rafters for a fun-filled day. Events to mark the important day started with perfomances from drum majorettes and members from the 4 Infantry Brigade marching to the stadium.

Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira read the President's speech and conferred bronze medals to nine non-combatant cadres and war collaborators before the crowd was sent into delirium with a mock battle by a detachment from 4 Infantry Brigade.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association chair in the province Tendeukai Chinooneka paid tribute to the country's defence for defending the country's territorial integrity with distinction.

"We have to celebrate our defence forces because they have excelled in defending our country from external aggression. Our defence forces have distinguished themselves by warding off aggression from those who colonised us yesterday, the neo-imperialists who still lustfully covet our natural resources," said Chinooneka.In Mashonaland East, thousands filled the Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera for the celebrations with the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland East Senator Aplonia Munzverengwi delivering the President's speech after inspecting a Guard of Honour.

In Mashonaland West, the celebrations were held at Gadzema Stadium in Chinhoyi where the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mary Mliswa-Chikoka led the proceedings.

The celebrations also included the presentation of awards of honour to nine war collaborators and ex-detainees drawn from the province for their hard work during the liberation war.

One of the recipients, Stancillam Madembo who also chairs provincial war collaborators organ, lauded the Second Republic for recognising their efforts in supporting the liberation struggle.

Sarah Chikukwa another recipient said: "We are grateful to President Mnangagwa and his administration for honouring and remembering us for our contribution to the liberation struggle," she said.

Constance Makandiwa who could not hide her joy, added: "It has been 43 years of waiting and finally, our leader, President Mnangagwa has corrected the issue that has been hanging. We can't thank him enough."

In Mashonaland Central nine non-combatant cadres and war collaborators received Independence Bronze Medals for their sterling efforts alongside freedom fighters during the liberation struggle.

Rashiwe Shangwa, was among the recipients who thanked President Mnangagwa for the recognition saying it is the beginning of greater rewards.

She said she went to war in 1978 when she was doing Form One at Chimimba Secondary School now known as Ruya High School.

After the cease-fire, she went back to school but it was not easy to be accepted back until the late national hero, Perrance Shiri intervened.

Source - The Herald