Pomp, fanfare at ZDF celebrations
IT was entertainment galore yesterday as people gathered across the country to commemorate Defence Forces Day.
In Bulawayo, thousands gathered at White City stadium to mark the day and were treated to entertainment by the military band and other entertainment groups.
People started gathering at the stadium from as early as 8AM.
Before the official proceedings began, the military band and other music groups kept the crowds, both young and old, on their feet.
Service chiefs arrived at the venue at about 12.45PM before the arrival of the Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs, Cde Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo about 10 minutes later.
MPs, Zanu-PF Politburo members and Central Committee members as well as residents from all parts of the city were part of the commemorations.
The military band led people in singing the national anthem before Cde Moyo inspected the army parade, together with Commander 1 Infantry Brigade, Brigadier Augustine Chipwere.
Provincial Administrator Mrs Khonzani Ncube introduced Cde Moyo before the Minister read President Mugabe’s speech.
In Matabeleland North, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Cde Cain Mathema, inspected the guard of honour and read the President’s speech at Somhlolo stadium in Lupane. In attendance were service chiefs as well as the Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Cde Thokozile Mathuthu, Bubi senator Madeline Bhebhe among others.
People were mesmerised by army drills and there was a football match in the afternoon.
A pupil from Mtshibini primary school recited a poem entitled “amabutho” in praise of the defence forces for protecting the nation.
In Gwanda, residents were treated to displays by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ 1.1 Combat Group from Bulawayo at Pelandaba stadium.
The soldiers displayed well-coordinated drills which left the capacity crowd which had gathered for the event clamouring for more.
The day started with a procession and soldiers, led by the drum majorettes and the army band, marched for three kilometres from the Gwanda-Beitbridge Road through the high density suburbs to the main arena at the Pelandaba stadium.
At about 12 noon, service chiefs arrived and were followed by the guest of honour, the Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservations of National Culture and Heritage, Cde Abednico Ncube.
Soon after his arrival, the national anthem was sung and the Minister went on to inspect the guard of honour of four detachments. Minister Ncube also read the President’s speech.
Residents and guests were then entertained by drill displays after which the national anthem marked the end of the official proceedings at around 2.30PM.
In the Midlands province, all roads led to Mkoba Stadium. Provincial Administrator Mrs Cecilia Chitiyo represented Midlands Minister of State Cde Jason Machaya.
Mrs Chitiyo was accompanied by Commandant Zimbabwe Military Academy Colonel Steven Gwekwerere, Thornhill Airbase Commander Group Captain Ellisha Masakadza, 5 Infantry Brigade Colonel Svitswa and Prisons and Correctional Services Officer Commanding Midlands and Masvingo Provinces Senior Assistant Commissioner Celesina Mupfarinya. The army among others provided the entertainment. In Masvingo, people from across the political divide thronged Mucheke Stadium to commemorate the day amid pop and funfare.
The proceedings started with a procession by drum majorettes and soldiers from Chikato Police Station to Mucheke Stadium.
The Minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education, Cde Josiah Hungwe, inspected a guard of honour mounted by 4 Infantry Brigade on behalf of Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Shuvai Mahofa.
The defence forces showed their nimble footedness when they did slow and quick time marches in a rhyming fashion earning themselves the admiration of the ever swelling crowd before Minister Mahofa delivered the President’s speech.
After the speech, people were treated to displays from a number of groups including Mutimurefu Prison inmates before a football match pitting 4 Brigade’s 4 Lions FC against Masvingo Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) FC later in the day.
In an interview, Masvingo provincial administrator Mr Felix Chikovo hailed people of Masvingo for coming in their numbers saying it shows the province appreciates the work done by the defence forces.
Masvingo Mayor Councillor Hubert Fidze said Defence Forces Day is a national event that every Zimbabwean should celebrate regardless of one’s political persuasion. He said this year, the army has helped Masvingo City Council by building classroom blocks at some council schools and has also provided free medical services to inmates at Mucheke Old People’s Home.
Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Cde Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo inspects the army parade during the ZDF commemorations at White City Stadium in Bulawayo yesterday