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Zimbabweans yesterday thronged various centres countrywide to mark the 34th Independence Day celebrations, with the main event being held in Harare at the National Sports Stadium.

This year’s celebrations were unique as they followed President Mugabe and ZANU-PF’s crushing victory in the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections.

In Harare, people started gathering as early as 6am at the 60 000-seater National Sports Stadium where Zanu-PF and some MDC-T officials, diplomats, service chiefs and ordinary Zimbabweans converged for the festivities presided over by President Mugabe.

Celebrations were also held at provincial, district and ward levels with senior Government officials reading President Mugabe’s address. Warren Park National Assembly legislator Engineer Elias Mudzuri and Harare Mayor Mr Bernard Manyenyeni were notable MDC-T representatives in Harare.

Service chiefs from Namibia and Tanzania graced the packed stadium that had many people standing to follow proceedings.

There were wild cheers when President Mugabe and First Lady Amai Mugabe arrived at around 11am, with the crowd chanting “Gushungo, Gushungo” — the President’s totem. There were displays by schoolchildren from Glen Norah 1 and 2 High Schools, and members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and military.

Sungura musicians Alick Macheso and Sulumani Chimbetu belted scintillating tunes that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

The celebrations were held under the theme “Zimbabwe @34: Defending Our Sovereignty and Providing an Enabling Environment for Sustainable Economic Empowerment and Social Transformation”.

The theme resonated well with economic blueprint Zim-Asset.

Banners in the stadium were inscribed with messages such as “Pasi Nehuori”, Kusunuguka neKubudirira Kuzere neZim-Asset”.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo, the host, said the Zanu-PF administration had a clear developmental agenda. “It is evident that Zim-Asset has been embraced by all sectors of the economy,” he said.

In Manicaland the main event was at Mutare’s Sakubva Stadium where Provincial Affairs Minister of State Chris Mushohwe led proceedings. Zimbabwe National Army soldiers and mbira groups from Mozambique entertained the gathering.

At Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera, Mashonaland East Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, said: “We are celebrating something visible starting from Independence, disbanding the inclusive Government, the abundant rains, the appointment of President Mugabe as the Deputy African Union chair. We are also elated with the successful hosting of the UNWTO and this year’s bumper harvest.”

In Mashonaland West the main event was in Chinhoyi where Minister of State for the Province, Cde Faber Chidarikire, inspected a four-detachment parade before reading the President’s speech.

Various arts groups, including Baptism of Fire and poet Moses Nyambondo, thrilled the crowd, as did Air Force of Zimbabwe dog displays and Nyau dancers from Shackleton.

Scores of people gathered at Dulibadzimu Stadium in Beitbridge where Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi was the guest of honour.

Thousands went to Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo. The provincial leadership — led by Minister of State Kudakwashe Bhasikiti — thanked Government for evacuating 3 000 families threatened by flooding in the Tokwe-Mukosi Basin in Chivi.

There was also a great turnout at Chipadze Stadium in Bindura where Mashonaland Central Provincial Minister Martin Dinha said this year’s celebrations demonstrated that Zimbabweans were resilient and patriotic.

White City Stadium in Bulawayo was adorned with 34 national flags and Minister of State for the Province Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo was the guest of honour, while Zapu leader Dr Dumiso Dabengwa attended.

A match between soccer sides Highlanders and Harare City capped the celebrations.

In Matabeleland North, thousands braved the scorching sun as they celebrated 34 years of Independence at Somhlolo Stadium where Provincial Affairs Minister Ambassador Cain Mathema inspected a guard of honour.

In Midlands Province, Minister of State Jaison Machaya inspected a parade mounted by the armed forces. Midlands Chimurenga Choir, choral groups and the Midlands State University Musicology Department’s Mbira Ensemble provided entertainment.

Source : The Herald