The Sunday Mail
IT takes both boldness and an irrepressible spirit to break from convention.
Five years ago, it was inconceivable that the main Independence Day celebrations would ever be held outside the capital, Harare.
It just could not be imagined because of the tradition that had been established over 37 years after the country’s Uhuru.
But last year, the unthinkable happened, when Zimbabwe broke the mould to hold the main commemorations in Bulawayo, the City of Kings and Queens.
It was nothing short of historic.
This year, the country will yet again open another chapter in this historic sequel when President Mnangagwa presides over the 43rd Independence Day celebrations in Mashonaland Central province. It becomes only the third province to host the national celebrations since independence following Government’s decision in 2020 to rotate hosting of the event among the provinces. It is, therefore, quite apparent that the President is a believer, in word and deed, in the devolution and decentralisation agenda, which is premised on giving equal opportunities to communities, thus “leaving no one and no place behind”.In essence, devolution is set out in Chapters 14, 15 and 17 of the country’s supreme law.
Being given the opportunity to host important national events is critical in cultivating the spirit of nationhood among communities.
It makes people truly feel they are part of this important and sacred nation called Zimbabwe.
For Mashonaland Central, just like other communities, this year’s festivities are an icing on the cake, as many have and are benefitting from the various development projects spearheaded by the Second Republic.
Elsewhere in this edition, we carry a story on the opening of the Mazowe District e-passport and Bio-Enrolment Centre in Concession, a first in the province. The new centre will serve an estimated 300 000 people living in Mazowe, Glendale, Concession and Chiweshe, as well as those living in neighbouring Guruve, Mvurwi, Centenary and Muzarabani.
Speaking at the opening of the centre, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said the decentralisation of e-passport services was in line with Government’s devolution programme.
“To date, my ministry has decentralised the e-passport services to six provinces and six districts. Other registry offices which are earmarked for this development this year are Gwanda and Mutare provincial offices, Chipinge and Mwenezi district offices,” he said.
This welcome development is just but one example of the many other accomplishments realised under devolution. Last month, the Government secured a US$360,5 million facility for the rehabilitation and upgrade of the 354km Harare-Kanyemba Road, which is expected to boost regional connectivity to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.
Work on the road is already underway.
Most critically, this will help communities along the thoroughfare, potentially boosting economic activities. As they say, a road is an economy. The Government is not only rehabilitating roads in the province, but it is also constructing key dams such as Semwa in Rushinga.
The water body will revolutionise agriculture in surrounding communities by irrigating more than 12 000 hectares. This will change lives in the same way the Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme is lifting people out of poverty in Matabeleland North. Not only that. The dam will also have a small hydro-power station for local use and provide potable water for Rushinga Growth Point, which is developing and expanding into a modern town. Big things are also happening in Kanyemba. Plans are underway to develop a new tourism and trade town at the confluence of the Zambezi and Luangwa rivers.
This all comes as rehabilitation of the Kanyemba Border Post — which will link Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique via a Y-bridge — is gathering momentum. Further, over 2 000 hectares have been cleared for agricultural purposes. The scope of the project is immense.
This gives expression and meaning to the country’s liberation project, which, in addition to delivering political freedom, is now gradually delivering prosperity and the high standards of living that we aspire to, as a nation.
It must not be forgotten that it was in Mashonaland Central that the second phase of the liberation struggle was launched, with the attack on Altena Farm by a small group of determined freedom fighters. So, it goes without saying that on April 18, when multitudes gather in the province, they will not only commemorate the incredible feat of our freedom fighters to deliver independence, but will be cheering the transformative developments that are beginning to make a difference in their lives.