Mashudu Netsianda Bulawayo Bureau
The region that would be hosting Independence anniversary celebrations, will in future be required to organise a week-long conference preceding the celebrations, President Mnangagwa has said.
For the first time in the history of country, Bulawayo will host the 42nd Independence Day Anniversary and other commemorative festivities in line with the Second Republic’s thrust of devolution and decentralisation policy.
In the past the Independence celebrations were held in Harare.
This year’s Independence celebrations, together with the Children’s Party, will be held under the theme: “Zim@ 42 — Leaving no one and no place behind”.
Bulawayo was scheduled to host the 40th Independence Day celebrations before the national event was postponed after Government declared a National Disaster in the wake of the coronavirus in 2020 as part of measures to contain its transmission and spread.
Zimbabwe attained its independence in 1980, after a protracted liberation struggle.
The Independence brought many benefits to the indigenous people who were deprived of means of production by successive colonial governments.
President Mnangagwa will host this year’s Children’s Party, for the first time since 1980, at State House in Bulawayo ahead of the 42nd Anniversary Independence Day celebrations
The Children’s Party, which takes place on independence eve, will be attended by children from the country’s 10 provinces.
A total of 1 090 learners selected from primary and secondary schools across all the 10 provinces and encompassing the districts will attend the event.
Initially, 540 learners were set to attend the event, but the number has been increased in order to afford the children from Bulawayo an opportunity to interact with the First Family.
In his opinion piece published yesterday in The Sunday News and The Sunday Mail, President Mnangagwa said hosting the Independence Anniversary also creates an opportunity for the national leadership to concentrate its focus on specific and peculiar needs of each region when it hosts the national event.
“For the first time in the history of our 42 years of Independence, we mark this sacred day away from Harare, our capital city. The commemorative festivities will be held in Bulawayo, our second largest capital,” he said.
“From this year going into the future, all our regions will take turns to host this very important day so our whole nation identifies with it in equal measure.
‘‘In future, the host region must arrange for a week-long conference preceding the Anniversary, and during which the focus will be on it exclusively.”
The President said changing the venue and geography for the Independence Anniversary celebrations is a profound statement on collective ownership of the day.
“We all share it as Zimbabweans, regardless of village, town, city, district or province.
‘‘Indeed, that day unites us all as one people, whatever our colour, creed, tribe, sub-culture, language, age or gender. For that reason, no one place or city monopolises its commemoration,” he said.
“This neatly dovetails with our broader, constitutionally mandated policy of devolution by which powers of, and decisions on, governance and development cascades down to regions.”
President Mnangagwa said hosting a national event also creates an opportunity for respective hosts to show and exhibit their subcultures which in harmonious combination and sum, create the national Zimbabwean culture.
“National culture is critical to our identity and collective being as an independent people. The coming into play and national visibility of individual sub-cultures and languages help establish variety, wholeness and balance to our national culture and being,” he said.
“This is as it should be in a free Zimbabwe where national commemorative platforms must display our whole identity as a people, in its mosaic richness.
“Yes, an opportunity for us to take stock of how each of our ten regions has fared, or is faring, in carving a distinct economy based on its unique factor endowments.”
He said any one region hosting the nation for this happy commemoration, must give the country a picture of its total situation warts and all.
“We want to know about the state of infrastructure, the basic social amenities, the state of education, contribution to our national agriculture, the natural resources available to it, and how, in meticulous combination, all these are interacting to yield provincial GDPs and rural industrialisation which contribute to the overall national GDP,” said President Mnangagwa.
In two weeks’, time, Zimbabweans will celebrate 42 years of our national Independence.
President Mnangagwa said the day marks the country’s re-birth from foreign rule after nearly a century as an occupied people.
“This day did not come cheap. Rather, it came from a bitter struggle and supreme sacrifices by Zimbabwe’s sons and daughters. Their heroism should never be forgotten or allowed to fade from our collective memory,” he said.
“The day thus must be revered by all of us, whether here at home or abroad. It is a day that unites us across time and space, and inter-generationally.
“Our 42nd year of Independence is set to be marked with a difference.”
For two consecutive years, Zimbabwe could not mark this hallowed day because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“Today we can, and thus should compensate for the years we lost by doubling its importance and significance,” said President Mnangagwa.
In terms of the national devolution policy and the way it is panning out, the President noted that across regions, there has been lots of growth points which, before long, will burgeon into towns and even cities.
“This is very good and points to the future. What, however, would make this transformation to urbanity better, is when we ensure it is underpinned and driven by gainful economic activity, as opposed to just concentrated human settlements,” he said.