Tendai Mugabe and Farai Kuvirimirwa
THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans are today expected to converge at various provincial and district centres countrywide to celebrate Heroes Day in honour of thousands of gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who laid down their lives to liberate the country from colonial rule. Heroes Day was set aside to celebrate the lives of Zimbabweans, living and dead, who put their lives on the line to liberate Zimbabwe from successive settler regimes beginning with the First Chimurenga in 1896 to the Second Chimurenga that flared on April 27 1966 with the battle of Chinhoyi till the attainment of independence on April 18 1980.
President Mugabe will lead the main celebrations at the National Heroes Acre in Harare with provincial governors officiating and reading his speech in the other nine provinces.
However, the MDC formations which are still smarting from the severe drubbing they received at the hands of Zanu-PF at the polls sent conflicting signals about participating in the national events.
Some MDC-T members said they would boycott the event claiming contestation over President Mugabe’s Presidency, a claim dismissed by legal experts who said in terms of the new Constitution, President Mugabe was President-elect but in terms of transitional provisions his Presidency derived from the last election under which ministers drawn from the MDC-T served.
The MDC yesterday said individual members were free to attend the celebrations.
Harare Metropolitan province acting Governor Mr Alfred Tome said they had completed preparations for the event, and people would be ferried to the main celebrations from their usual pick-up points.
He urged people to come up in their numbers to celebrate the sacrifices made by the selfless sons and daughters of Zimbabwe to free the country from the colonial yoke.
“We are now ready for the two big events that is the Heroes Day and the Defence Forces Day celebrations,” said Mr Tome.
“Transport is there and we are grateful that transporters have agreed to help us the same way they did during the Independence celebrations. These are national events and we are urging people across the political divide to come to the celebrations.”
In Bulawayo, the main celebrations will be at White City Stadium. Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Governor and Resident Minister Cde Cain Mathema said they were ready for the two events.
“We are going to have the Defence Forces celebrations at White City Stadium and the committee is ready since we are expecting more than 15 000 people to come and join us after the victory in the harmonised elections. The heroes we are celebrating now are the ones who participated in this country’s liberation struggle,” he said.
Midlands Governor and Resident Minister Cde Jason Machaya said they would celebrate the Heroes Day at various centres in the province.
“We are prepared and expecting many people due to the victory we are still celebrating,” he said. “Main celebrations will be at the Provincial Heroes’ Acre before we go to Mkoba for Defence Forces Day celebrations on Tuesday. There is enough food to feed people who will come from all over the province. Each and every constituency will hold celebrations.
“There will be celebrations at Gokwe Centre, in Kwekwe and other areas where the district administrators will read the President’s speech.
Cde Machaya urged people across the political divide to throng the celebrations to honour the country’s heroes and uniformed forces.
In Masvingo, Governor and Resident Minister Cde Titus Maluleke said his province was geared to host the commemorations at various centres with the main event at Mucheke Stadium.
“We are ready to galvanise the province into action in terms of the huge crowds,” he said.
“We are well resourced and various companies have come forward with contributions in cash and kind. The celebrations are going to be successful and various entertainment groups, war veterans, war collaborators and inmates are expected to perform.”
Cde Maluleke said various centres among them Chiredzi Town, Neshuro, Mupandawana, Nyika, Mashava and Chivi among others would host celebrations at a local level.
He expressed gratitude towards exemplary heroes, among them President Mugabe.
MDC-T Spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said his party would celebrate the day with other Zimbabweans.
“We are going to be celebrating the holidays with the rest of the nation and are not particular about where we will do the celebrations.
“It is not a certain political party’s event and we are involved,” he said.
Mr Mwonzora said people should expect some senior members from his party at the National Sports Stadium and the National Heroes’ Acre.
MDC deputy spokesperson Mr Kurauone Chihwayi said his party was not invited to the celebrations.
“We cherish national holidays but this time we were not invited to the celebrations,” he said.
“Individual members are free to go to the celebrations if they want.”
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