Excitement builds up ahead of Independence Day

Source: Excitement builds up ahead of Independence Day | Sunday Mail

Sunday Mail Reporters

BETWEEN 70 000 and 100 000 people are expected to attend the main Independence Day celebrations in Murambinda, Manicaland Province, on Thursday, as excitement continues to build up ahead of the historic national event.

Manicaland will be the third province to host the commemorations after Bulawayo and Mashonaland Central provinces.

This year’s event, which is running under the theme “Zim@44: Unity, Peace and Development Towards Vision 2030”, will be hosted by Murambinda A Primary School and Murambinda B Secondary School.

The Children’s Party, which will precede Thursday’s main event, will be held at the primary school.

President Mnangagwa will deliver the keynote address. The Government has mobilised 300 buses to ferry people from around the country to Murambinda, with 150 reserved for the host province.

Work on the newly-built stadium to host the main event at Murambinda B Secondary School is now “almost complete”.

While food vending will be restricted, in line with current health protocols and guidelines, free food packs will be provided for the tens of thousands who will attend.

Local Government and Public Works director of communications and advocacy Mr Gabriel Masvora told The Sunday Mail that everything was now in place for the grand event.

“More than 70 000 people are expected for the main celebrations. The festivities will start with the Children’s Party on the eve of the Independence Day celebrations, where 300 children are expected to grace the event from all corners of the country,” Mr Masvora said.

The 300 buses, he said, will ferry people to and from Murambinda.

“Of those, 150 buses are earmarked for the host province. The remainder will cater for the other remaining nine provinces. We also have guests who will be driving in their vehicles for the celebrations. It’s all systems go.”

The main celebrations will be followed by the blockbuster football encounter pitting giants Dynamos and Highlanders, who will battle it out for the Independence Trophy.

An all-night music gala featuring the country’s top artistes will cap off the proceedings.

Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Advocate Micheck Mugadza said the “preparations are 90 percent complete”.

“Other areas have reached 100 percent preparation. Roads that will lead us to the venue are 90 percent ready. The Murambinda-Birchenough Road is now a neat highway. The Nyazura to Chivhu highway used to have potholes but that is now history. Other feeder roads are all done,” he said.

“The stadium is almost complete. Workers are putting terraces . . . , drawing lines for the pitch and putting final touches to the changing rooms.”

In addition to the 150 buses provided by the Government, the province is also mobilising other forms of transport.

“We are not only looking at buses but lorries and cars. So far, 100 000 litres (of fuel) have been mobilised and we are expecting more. I am not expecting less than 1 000 cars . . . ,” he added.

“On food, we are saying it will be provided for free, so there should be no vendors cooking food so that we prevent cholera.”

Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution are expected to preside over their respective provincial celebrations.

Masvingo province, which borders Buhera, will have 10 buses to ferry people to the national celebrations and more than 10 for its provincial festivities in Chivi.

Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Masvingo Dr Addmore Pazvakavambwa said: “We have 10 buses and two lorries that have been set aside for the Independence Day celebrations in Murambinda and we expect the majority of people who will go to Buhera to come from neighbouring Gutu district. This is why we have rehabilitated roads like the Gutu-Murambinda Road.”

The provincial celebrations, which will be held at Madyangove Secondary School in Chivi, are expected to be attended by 10 000 people.

“Eleven buses have been set aside to ferry people to the provincial celebrations, where the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Ezra Chadzamira, will preside,” he said.

Mashonaland East Province, which also borders Buhera, has been allocated 30 buses.

However, its provincial festivities will be held at Mandedza High School in Seke district.

Mashonaland East Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mr Tavabarira Kutamahufa said preparations for the event are at an advanced stage.

“We are putting final touches to the preparations. We have mobilised buses and other means of transport to ferry people across the province to our provincial independence celebrations venue. We will have a lot of activities, including entertainment on the day.”

In the Midlands province, the celebrations will move from the provincial capital, Gweru, for the first time since 1980 and be held at Mbizo Stadium in Kwekwe.

Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mr Owen Ncube said: “The change of the traditional venue for Kwekwe was testimony to the Second Republic’s quest of leaving no one and no place behind in national development.”

In Mashonaland West, the provincial celebrations are slated for Rimuka Stadium in Kadoma.

Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Mashonaland West Mr Josphat Jaji said all was in place for the commemorations.

“At least 14 buses have been secured to ferry people to the national and provincial venues, with five set aside to transport people to Kadoma. The province expects at least 6 500 people to attend,” Mr Jaji said.

Last year’s host for the national event, Mashonaland Central, will hold celebrations in Bare, Chiweshe.

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Christopher Magomo said 15 buses have been provided for the province.

“Five are for the national celebrations and 10 for our provincial event. The provincial State occasions committee has activated all subcommittees and they have been holding preparatory meetings at the venue,” he said.

“All provincial, district and party structures are engaged in the preparations. However, feeding will be in line with the Health and Child Care Ministry’s protocols, in light of the cholera threat that has hit our province in the last few months,” he said.

In Bulawayo, the provincial celebrations will be held at White City Stadium.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mr Paul Nyoni said: “We expect about 5 000 to 6 000 people to attend. Ten groups will be providing entertainment. We are also going to have a special soccer exhibition match from amputees.”

In Matabeleland South, authorities said all was in place for the event to be held at Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda district.

For Matabeleland North, this year’s commemorations will be held at Manjolo Business Centre in Binga.

Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ms Sithandiwe Ncube said they had decided to take the celebrations from “the traditional Lupane district”.

“The Second Republic has been rotating the national event from province to province. We have also adopted the same as this year we will be in Binga. Last year, we were in Umguza district, taking the independence celebrations away from the traditional Lupane district. There are tentatively 10 buses; two buses will go to the national event,” she said.