Heroes, De­fence Forces hol­i­days with a dif­fer­ence

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FRONT PAGE - Kuda Bwititi Chief Re­porter

COM­MEM­O­RA­TIONS to mark Heroes Day and De­fence Forces Day to­mor­row and Tues­day, re­spec­tively, will for the first time since 1980 be held with nei­ther pub­lic gath­er­ings nor fes­tiv­i­ties due to ris­ing cases of Covid-19.

In­stead, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa will ad­dress the na­tion to­mor­row and again on Tues­day, as the Gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to take pre­cau­tions to curb the spread of coro­n­avirus.

Heroes Day and De­fence Forces

Day are two highly re­garded na­tional hol­i­days in Zim­babwe, which are held on the sec­ond Mon­day and Tues­day of every Au­gust, re­spec­tively.

The former is as­so­ci­ated with pub­lic cer­e­monies where peo­ple gather in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try to re­mem­ber and hon­our the coun­try’s de­parted heroes and hero­ines, while the lat­ter is usu­ally char­ac­terised by pomp and fan­fare to cel­e­brate the heroic works of the de­fence forces.

How­ever, with the spike in Covid-19 cases, au­thor­i­ties are not tak­ing any chances.

In an in­ter­view with The Sun­day Mail yesterday, In­for­ma­tion, Pub­lic­ity and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices Min­is­ter Mon­ica Mutsvangwa urged the na­tion to fol­low the Pres­i­dent’s live na­tional ad­dress that will be broad­cast dur­ing the two days.

“As di­rected by Cab­i­net, we are not go­ing to have any pub­lic events for the Heroes and De­fence Forces hol­i­days. The cel­e­bra­tions will in­stead be held vir­tu­ally, with the main event be­ing the ad­dresses on both days by His Ex­cel­lency, the Pres­i­dent, to the na­tion,” she said.

“We urge all cit­i­zens of and in­deed all Zim­bab­weans liv­ing out­side the coun­try to watch or lis­ten to the Pres­i­dent’s mes­sages that will touch on a num­ber of is­sues, in­clud­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of these days to our na­tion.”

Min­is­ter Mutsvangwa said the Gov­ern­ment had made a con­scious de­ci­sion to put aside pub­lic events in light of the rock­et­ing Covid-19 cases, which were pegged at 4 451, with 102

coro­n­avirus deaths as at Fri­day.

“We de­cided that we need to take max­i­mum pre­cau­tion to con­tain the spread of the virus.

“The rate of lo­cal trans­mis­sion is a cause for con­cern and as Gov­ern­ment we can­not take any chances,” she said.

“We are mind­ful that these hol­i­days can­not be post­poned that is why in ad­di­tion to the Pres­i­dent’s ad­dress there will be a lot of ac­tiv­i­ties on the na­tional broad­caster, ZBC, to hon­our our heroes and de­fence forces.

“This is why we urge peo­ple to stay home and com­mem­o­rate these two days with their fam­i­lies.”

Min­is­ter Mutsvangwa said the hol­i­days also give the na­tion an op­por­tu­nity to re­flect on the progress made by Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I am very much aware of the neg­a­tiv­ity that has gripped our peo­ple be­cause of the myr­iad of chal­lenges that we are fac­ing as a coun­try.

“Some peo­ple have been quick to judge the Sec­ond Repub­lic while ig­no­rant of the many achieve­ments that our Pres­i­dent has made. Zim­bab­weans need to un­der­stand that the cur­rent chal­lenges are tem­po­rary.

“The fu­ture looks so much brighter. Re­cently, the Pres­i­dent toured power projects in Hwange where we saw that by 2030 the coun­try will be able to pro­vide over 5000MW of power,” she said.

“Only yesterday (Fri­day) we saw the progress that is be­ing made on the Beit­bridge road, and this is the first time that this has hap­pened af­ter years of fail­ure. Agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tion is also on the up and min­ing is head­ing in the right di­rec­tion with the US$12 bil­lion 2023 vi­sion on track. So as you can see, these are the things that we need to re­flect on as op­posed to the neg­a­tiv­ity that some peo­ple tend to give pri­or­ity to.”

In a state­ment, the Min­istry of De­fence and War Vet­er­ans said this year’s De­fence Forces Day will be held un­der the theme “The ZDF: Cel­e­brat­ing 40 years of Ex­cel­lent Ser­vice to the Peo­ple”.

“Since there will be no pub­lic gath­er­ings to mark the hol­i­day, the ma­jor high­light of this year’s event will be His Ex­cel­lency, the Pres­i­dent and Com­man­der in Chief of the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces, Com­rade ED Mnan­gagwa’s ad­dress to the na­tion which will be con­ducted us­ing vir­tual plat­forms.

“On the same day, ZBC-TV will also be air­ing two documentar­ies ti­tled ‘ZDF Today’ and the ‘ZDF’s role in the fight against Covid-19’.”

As per tra­di­tion, the ZDF has also been con­duct­ing its com­mu­nity as­sis­tance week by en­gag­ing in var­i­ous vol­un­tary pro­grammes to help the peo­ple, al­beit un­der strict Covid-19 preven­tion guide­lines.

The Min­istry of Home Af­fairs and Cul­tural Her­itage said the theme for the 40th an­niver­sary of the Heroes Day com­mem­o­ra­tions is “Re­mem­ber­ing Our Heroes”.

“On this day, we re­mem­ber the gal­lant sac­ri­fices made by both liv­ing and fallen heroes and hero­ines in the lib­er­a­tion of our coun­try.

“This year’s Heroes Day com­mem­o­ra­tions will be held vir­tu­ally, in line with His Ex­cel­lency, the Pres­i­dent and the Com­man­der in Chief of the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces Com­rade ED Mnan­gagwa’s di­rec­tive.

“The ma­jor high­light of this year’s event will be the ad­dress by Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa.

“ZBC-TV will be air­ing a num­ber of documentar­ies which in­clude, ‘ Chron­i­cles of the Sec­ond Chimurenga’, ‘The At­tack on Grand Reef Air­base (in Mu­tare)’ and ‘The Mean­ing of the Na­tional Heroes Acre to The Lib­er­a­tion Strug­gle’, among oth­ers.”

Min­is­ter Mutsvangwa

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