Bongani Ndlovu, Online Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has said Independence was brought about by all Zimbabweans living or dead, hence he is inviting all political parties, current and former Government Ministers for the main celebrations with invites having been sent for the State Reception this Sunday at the State House in Bulawayo.
The President has also said Vice President of the ruling party Zanu PF, Retired Colonel Kembo Mohadi will preside over the lighting of the Independence Torch at Khami National Monument this Saturday morning in Bulawayo.
These were some of the outcomes of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on State Occasions meeting held at a local hotel this afternoon, ahead of the historic Independence Day main celebrations to be held at Barbourfields Stadium.
Chairing the meeting was Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo, on behalf of the Chairperson of the Cabinet Committee on State Occasions, Vice President and Minister of Health and Childcare Constantino Chiwenga.
Other Ministers at the meeting this Friday included, Dr Jenfan Muswere Minister of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services (representing the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa), Dr Kirsty Coventry Minister of Youth, Sport, Culture and Recreation, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Mangaliso Ndlovu Minister of Environment, Climate Tourism and Hospitality and his Deputy Barbara Rwodzi, Bulawayo Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution Judith Ncube and Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Martin Rushwaya.
On Saturday, the Independence Torch will be lit at Khami National Monument, and it will take a journey around Bulawayo, before being taken to the Natural History Museum and on Independence Day the torch will move around the city centre before ending its final journey at Barbourfields Stadium.
There President Mnangagwa will light the Independence Flame marking the beginning of festivities, that will be held for the first-time outside Harare.
Zimbabwe football giants, Highlanders FC and Dynamos will compete for the Independence trophy with President Mnangagwa watching, before his Excellency presents the trophy to the winners and the medals to the runners’ up, alongside Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.
For the first time since 1980, the main celebrations will be held outside Harare under the theme: “Zimbabwe at 42: Leaving no one behind.”
Independence Day is on April 18, and this year the country celebrates 42 years of freedom and majority rule.
The theme dovetails with the Second Republic’s drive towards promotion of national unity, devolution and decentralisation.
Minister Moyo said the President invited all political parties to be part of the celebrations and the State Reception because it was brought about by all Zimbabweans and some who have departed.
“This Independence was brought about by all Zimbabweans from all walks of life with some already departed and some still alive in their different capacities. The Independence celebrations which are being organized outside Harare for the first time, is also a recognition of our constitutional agenda of devolution,” said Minister Moyo.
“The leaders have been invited to come to the celebrations. The President’s emphasis has been; all the political leaders of this country should be invited and both for the State Reception that will take place on April 17, at State House in Bulawayo and Independence Day celebrations. Invitations have been sent to their offices and we started sending these yesterday (Thursday), we have ensured that our officials have contacted all the political leaders to tell them that their cards can either be picked here in Bulawayo or at their offices.
“The President has also invited all political leaders in this country to the VIP stands that have been prepared for these celebrations. The leadership includes current Vice Presidents, and former Vice Presidents and it also includes former deputy Prime Ministers of this country who are still alive. We have also said former and current Ministers should be invited and we are looking at all that have served this Government in one capacity or another.”
Minister Moyo said the programme of the Independence celebrations starts off this Saturday with Vice Presidents of the ruling party Zanu-PF Retired Colonel Cde Kembo Mohadi being the guest of honour at the lighting of the Independence torch at Khami National Monument.
He said the President saw fit that Vice President of the ruling party Zanu PF to preside over the lighting torch at Khami National Monument given the magnitude of the event.
“The President has seen it fit and we up the game, and put it at a higher level, that’s why the lighting of the torch will be presided but the Vice President of the ruling party Zanu PF Retired Colonel Kembo Mohadi.
“Tomorrow we shall also have Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Matabeleland North Richard Moyo, because Khami National Monument is stationed in the province. He will share responsibility and because we are organising this Independence celebrations in Bulawayo, the Minister who will be hosting us is Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution Judith Ncube to welcome everyone,” said Minister Moyo.
He said relevant Ministries will be present on the day such as Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services and Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality to revive and popularize Khami National Monument.
Minister Moyo said the fireworks display will be held on Sunday, Independence Day eve at the Tower Block.
He said the President urged Zimbabweans to watch from their homes with an audience being invited to witness this event at Tower Block.
Following the tragic death of 35 people in Chimanimani on Thursday night, Minister Moyo says Government is urging transporters to exercise extreme precautions on the country’s roads.
“Last night we lost 35 people in Chimanimani, in a bus disaster. I was in touch with the President and he has directed that a statement must be produced. We are urging all those who will be coming to these celebrations, drivers of buses, kombi and cars, to practice extreme caution so that we don’t lose lives.
“The CEO of Zupco will issue a statement to all those who will be driving, children and those who will be transporting people to take precautions. The Commissioner General of police has said the police will be out in full force so that we have celebrations which are accident free,” said Minister Moyo.
On Sunday there will be a Children’s Party at State House in Bulawayo where the President and the first lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa will receive 1 090 children from all parts of the country.
In the evening there will be a State Reception and is strictly for those who have been invited such as leaders of political parties joining other dignities.
Minister Moyo said half of the number of invited guests will come from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South because they had not had a chance to be part of the celebration before now.
No Covid-19 tests are required for those who want to attend the Independence Day main Celebrations in Bulawayo with only the VIP and the VVIP delegates required to do so.
People who attend the Independence have to be fully vaccinated.
A total of 18 artistes will perform during the Independence Gala who include mostly from the Matabeleland regions such as Jeys Marabini (Afro Jazz), Madlela Skhobokhobo (Rhumba), Sandra Ndebele (Afro Pop), Chase Skuza (Rhumba), Prudence Mabhena (Afro Fusion), Mani9ne (Zimdancehall), Iyasa (Afro Dance), Mthokozisi Sidubweli (Poet) and LMG (Chimurenga/Umvukela). Other artistes include, Zimdancehall duo Fantan & Levels, Andy Muridzo (Afro Fusion), Sulumani Chimbetu (Dendera), Chief Wenje (Chimurenga/Umvukela), Agatha Murudzwa (Gospel), Bruce Machingura (Chimurenga/Umvukela), Herman (Urban Grooves), Greatman (Sungura) and Mainato (Chimurenga/Umvukela).