Preparations for the main 42nd Independence Day celebrations to be held in Bulawayo are at an advanced stage, with various activities being lined up for the event, which will be held outside the capital for the first time since 1980.
The Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo, on behalf of the Chairperson of the Cabinet Committee State Occasions, yesterday briefed Cabinet on the 2022 Children’s Party and the 42nd Anniversary Independence Day Celebrations.
He said the children’s party and main Independence Day Celebrations will, for the first time in the history of the nation, be held in Bulawayo on April 17 and 18, under the theme “Zim@ 42 — Leaving No One and No Place behind”.
This was in line with the Second Republic’s drive towards the promotion of national unity, devolution and decentralisation.
“The 2022 children’s party will be attended by 540 learners drawn from the country’s 10 provinces.
In an effort to expose the learners to the country’s history and heritage, the learners drawn from the provinces will visit the following places in and around Bulawayo: Matopos; Bulawayo Museum; Chipangali Orphanage and Chabalala Sanctuary.
“His Excellency the President will grace the soccer match between Highlanders and Dynamos Football Clubs and handover the Presidential Independence Day Trophy to the winners.
“The 2022 children’s party and 42nd Anniversary Independence Day celebrations will be held in strict observance of all Covid-19 protocols.
“There will be a massive Covid-19 testing exercise in Bulawayo during the Independence Day celebrations and only those who are tested and are negative will be allowed to attend the celebrations,” said Minister Moyo.
The 42nd anniversary celebrations would also be held in all the other provinces and districts and there would be strict enforcement of all Covid-19 regulations.
In the past, all the Independence celebrations were held in Harare.
Bulawayo was scheduled to host the 40th Independence Day celebrations in 2020 before the national event was postponed after Government declared a national disaster in the wake of the coronavirus as part of measures to contain its transmission and spread.
In cancelling the celebrations and other public events in March 2020, President Mnangagwa announced that the activities would resume as soon as Government was satisfied that the nation was no longer at risk.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, recently said the move by Government to have the prestigious national event held in Bulawayo is in line with the New Dispensation’s thrust of devolution.
“This year, our Independence Day anniversary is being celebrated in Bulawayo. This is in line with the Second Republic’s thrust of devolution and decentralisation,” she said.
“Bulawayo being the second largest city and a major sub-regional metropolis, it is natural that it gets that first honour, which shall also be subsequently be enjoyed by all provinces as this practice takes root.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said the new development will engender the spirit of inclusiveness and mutual appreciation as well as highlighting regional comparative strength and capabilities.
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.
In provinces, Ministers of Provincial Affairs and Devolution and some delegates had to follow the proceedings from selected locations where there was observation of Covid-19 prevention protocols.
Security chiefs, representatives from the business sector, religious leaders, politicians and other social groups participated in the hybrid Independence Day commemorations.
In Bulawayo, the commemorations were held at United College of Education as opposed to the White City Stadium where the celebrations are usually held.