THOUSANDS of people flocked to various centres countrywide to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces yesterday.
The main event was held at the giant National Sport Stadium in Harare. The celebrations began with the arrival of the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces President Mugabe around 11 am and a fly-past by four Air Force of Zimbabwe jets in a diamond formation while the national anthem was being played.
The President then inspected a guard of honour and delivered his key note address articulating how the indigenisation policy will set the tone for the country’s socio-economic transformation.
After delivering his speech the President joined services chiefs, high ranking government officials and diplomats among others to watch the defence forces performing their drills and displays. The national annual event is special in that soldiers and airmen are honoured for the work they do in maintaining peace and tranquillity in the country.
It is also a day when members of the public have the chance to see how the forces operate and the sacrifices that went into liberating Zimbabwe.
A carnival atmosphere engulfed the giant stadium as both members of the national army and airmen thrilled the crowds with captivating drills and displays. The crowd respondent by cheering the defence forces sterling performances.
The major attraction was parachute displays by the ZDF.
The crowd erupted into frenzy when the paratroopers showcased their skills while the quick and slow marches were also a marvel.
The crowd sang along to Nzira Dzemasoja, the song translated from a composition by leader of the Chinese revolution General Mao tse Tung, and which was the code of conduct for guerillas during the liberation struggle.
The AFZ traditional dance group left the crowd clamouring for more after showcasing their energetic dancing prowess.
Popular musicians Alick Macheso and Suluman Chimbetu put the ice on the cake with a sterling performance that mesmerized the crowd.
Also present at the NSS were outgoing Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, ZDF commander General Constantine Chiwenga, AFZ commander Air Marshall Perrance Shiri, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Zimbabwe Prison Services Commissioner Major General (Retired) Paradzayi Zimondi.
In Mashonaland Central thousands of residents thronged Chipadze Stadium in Bindura to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the ZDF.
The activities began mid-morning with soldiers from the Artillery Brigade marching through the streets of the high density suburbs of Chipadze and Aerodrome to the stadium with residents and children following behind to witness the procession.
At the stadium people started trickling in around 11am with various groups providing entertainment.
Officer commanding Mashonaland Central province Assistant Commissioner Lee Muchemwa, Artillery Brigade deputy commander Colonel Rantham Moyo and ZPS officer in charge Bindura Chief Superintendent John Musinachirevo arrived in the afternoon before the arrival of provincial governor and resident minister Advocate Martin Dinha.
The national anthem was played followed by the inspection of the parade by Governor Dinha.
He then read President Mugabe’s speech mid-afternoon.
After the reading of the speech the parade marched off the parade square.
The soldiers then provided entertainment in the form of mass displays and music from the brigade’s mass band.
More than 20 000 people attended the Defence Forces’ Day commemorations at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare. Manicaland Governor Chris Mushohwe read the presidential speech which was well received by those in attendance. Spectacular displays by members of the uniformed forces, especially the army and the police, lit up the day.
Mock war battles captivated many while a host of dance groups kept people on the edges of their seats.
Those interviewed during the commemorations hailed the uniformed forces for maintaining peace during the just ended harmonised elections.
They said security was the biggest asset the country has for it ensures the development and growth of all sectors of the economy. “Naturally bad apples are found within the police force but we would like to give them many thanks for maintaining peace in the country. The Zimbabwean police force is very effective especially in crime detection and making arrests.
Keep up the good work,” said Mrs Chatora from Chikanga high density suburb. Mr Denford Zingeyi from Sakubva said there was need to teach children on the functions of the uniformed forces so that they become responsible citizens who uphold the law.
The commemorations were wrapped up with a soccer match between ZPS side Tenax and ZNA outfit Buffaloes.
In Masvingo there was a high turn-out at Mucheke Stadium where Governor and Resident Minister Titus Maluleke officiated.
Entertainment was provided by the army who did quick and slow march drills, mock battles much to the applause of the appreciative crowd.
Mutimurefu Prison inmates kept the crowd spellbound with their mouth watering traditional dances before a soccer match between the police and an army soccer team in the afternoon.
Acting 4 Infantry Brigade Commander Colonel Gift Murahwa applauded people of Masvingo for joining hands with the ZDF in commemorating the Defence Forces Day.
He said community projects had cemented relationship between society and the army
In Chinhoyi, thousands of people converged at Chinhoyi Stadium where the main Defence Forces day celebrations for Mashonaland West Province were being held.
Outgoing Governor and Resident Minister Faber Chidarikire inspected a guard of honour mounted by the AFZ and the ZNA before reading the President’s speech.
The bumper crowd that packed Chinhoyi stadium was kept entertained by displays from the mounted regiment, the AFZ dog displays and gun drills.
However, the horse drills and games by the mounted regiment based at Inkomo proved very popular with the crowd followed by gun drills which left some scurrying for cover. They were later treated to a soccer match pitting the ZPS and the police.
In Mashonaland East people turned out in huge numbers to commemorate the Defence Forces Day at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera.
Mashonaland East Governor and Resident Minister, Cde Aeneas Chigwedere who officiated at the ceremony inspected the guard of honour and read President Robert Mugabe’s speech.
The crowd was treated to marches, displays from the army and music from the ZPS.
The ZPS band was outstanding in entertainment with the military and dance teams thrilling the crowd.
The band sang Macheso, Simon Chimbetu and Suluman Chimbetu’s song Shawn Timba which saw the crowd chanting praises and singing along.
ZPS’s St Thomas Prison traditional team and drummer Mr Douglas Vambe also impressed many.
In Bulawayo, the celebrations were at White City Stadium. People from all walks of life, including senior civil servants and Zanu-PF cadres, started trickling into the stadium at around 8am, three hours before the start of the main programme.
The guest of honour, Cde Cain Mathema, who is the outgoing Governor of Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, arrived at 11am accompanied by One Brigade Commander Brigadier General Thomas Moyo and Deputy Commander of Bulawayo District Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Patrick Muyambuki.
Proceedings started with the singing of the national anthem after which Governor Mathema inspected the guard of honour, which was followed by a series of entertaining military displays in the form of drills and marches. — Herald/Bureaux
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