Vice President Chiwenga lights Uhuru Flame Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga lights the Independence Flame in Rusape while Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and other dignitaries look on at the Magamba Butcher Site in Rusape yesterday. — Picture: Mukudzei Chingwere

Mukudzei Chingwere in Rusape

ECONOMIC development and fulfilment of the liberation war assignment is not an event but a process which Zimbabweans must support for it to be realised.  

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga said this when addressing thousands of people who gathered to witness the lighting of the Independence Flame at the Magamba District Heroes Acre/Butcher Site, ahead of the 44th independence celebrations. 

VP Chiwenga chronicled economic exclusion that the black populace suffered at the hands of colonialists.

Correcting this exclusion, said VP Chiwenga,  was top of President Mnangagwa’s vision through which he was championing rapid sustainable development for the benefit of all.

“Our Government will continue bringing development. Of course, we cannot do everything at once,” said VP Chiwenga.

“Last week Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere updated the nation on Cabinet deliberations where he told you that Cabinet has directed that the Gwayi-Shangani Dam be completed to address the water challenges in Bulawayo. 

“Here, we have the Marovanyati Dam so Buhera will not have water challenges again. On the Murambinda-Birchenough Bridge Road, President Mnangagwa will update the nation on the intended upgrade. Now let us all remain united so that we win the war on economic development,” he said.

The Vice-President implored the nation to embrace the new ZiG currency saying it will help stabilise the economy.

“President Mnangagwa’s Government has now brought the local currency. We now have the Zimbabwe Gold currency. 

“The money will have the value of gold and that gold we have it in reserves. You saw it at the Reserve Bank.

“So let’s preserve this currency, let’s support our President Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. Yesterday (Thursday) in the Politburo, the issue of our local currency was discussed and the Minister of Finance and Investment Promotion updated us on the ZiG. 

“This money you can’t just go and print because you don’t have money but it is supported by our reserves. 

“Those illegal money traders are a thing of the past, if you let go of your gold then its your fault,” said VP Chiwenga. 

The VP said the Magamba  site is one of the many sacred sites in the country where freedom fighters are interred. 

VP Chiwenga said the shrine often referred to as “Butcher Site” was a secretive interrogation, torture and execution base for the colonial regime.  

“It is here where the lives of hundreds of liberation fighters, war collaborators and civilians came to a brutal end through the atrocious Rhodesian regime tactics,” said VP Chiwenga.

“With the intensification of the liberation war from the 1970s right to the attainment of Independence in 1980, the Rhodesians were desperate to do anything to stop the black majority from attaining Independence and challenge white domination. 

“The white response to this indigenous challenge was violent and brutal. The Rhodesian light infantry, an all-white professional commando unit, was, throughout the war years, characterised by its reputation for violence and brutality.

“Black civilians were routinely arrested, tortured and forced to release information on the whereabouts of liberation war fighters.

“Research that has been conducted to date on these wartime crimes reveals that the Rhodesian military usually buried their victims in concealed mass graves and there is ample evidence on this site.

“Captured liberation war fighters or collaborators, together with defenceless ordinary villagers and even children, were taken into the military camps for grilling and questioning. 

“Some were executed while others died from injuries sustained from the violent, brutal and inhumane methods of interrogation and torture.

“Nothing else could demonstrate the deep respect for our departed heroes than to immortalise and memorialise our heroes for generations to come,” said VP Chiwenga.

He said the Butcher site, alongside similar sites like Chibondo were not isolated discoveries but were part of a larger strategy of Rhodesia’s intransigent response to the black people’s demand for independence and freedom.

From Rusape, the independence flame will be taken to Nyanga, Mutasa (Matumba Six Shrine), Mutare Provincial Heroes Acre, Chimanimani, Chipinge and Buhera.

Thereafter, it will be taken by torchbearers to the main venue on April 18, where the President will address the nation.  

The Vice-President was accompanied by Government Ministers including Dr Muswere, Acting Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Ziyambi Ziyambi, the Minister of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Monica Mavhunga and the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Manicaland Province Misheck Mugadza.





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