Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
THE country will tomorrow commemorate Heroes Day, a chance to put politics aside and celebrate the bravery of men and women who sacrificed a lot to fight the colonial government and bring independence in 1980.
Bulawayo, like any other province in the country has put in place all the mechanisms to ensure that residents join the rest of the country to commemorate the day.
The country will also celebrate Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day on Tuesday.
In an interview, Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Cde Angeline Masuku said the two events will be held in the city as part of the commemorations.
“We have the main celebrations at the Provincial Heroes Acre in Nkulumane as usual and the other events will be held at Lady Stanley Cemetery and Pelandaba. We have widows of some National Heroes who were laid here in Bulawayo who will come and lay wreaths on the graves so that is the second part of our celebrations,” she said.
Cde Masuku said heroes like Cdes Lookout Masuku and Welshman Mabhena were buried in the city so part of the day’s proceedings will also involve visiting their graves.
Cde Masuku said the day should also be a reminder to the people to maintain peace and respect as these were some of the key objectives that saw freedom fighters took up arms to fight the colonial government so that Zimbabweans could enjoy freedom.
In an interview, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association Bulawayo provincial chairman Cde Cephas Ncube, said war veterans were celebrating the day with optimism that President Mnangagwa will address the challenges faced by war veterans.
“We encourage our members to be very patient with the system, we are in a new dispensation, the revolution had challenges as we are all aware, steps to correct the situation are being taken. The President will look in to our needs as promised,” he said.
He said the day was not about celebrating those who died only.
“This is a time to recognise both living and departed heroes, the departed fought for what is being enjoyed today while those who remained alive are there to uphold virtues of their long gone countrymen and women,” he said.
Cde Ncube said heroes also include those who are upholding peace in the county and those who are contributing to the success of the economic development, education and health service delivery.
“It is not an easy or a payable job that the liberation heroes undertook, it was all about sacrifice and we should not let them down by engaging in things such as corruption which has ruined the country. It is greedy opportunists who ruined the country. We did not go to war to come back and engage in corruption. We fought to take our land and resources from the colonisers and move forward,” he said.
Cde Ncube said challenges such as school fees for children, medical aid for war vets, land and their general welfare should be looked into.
He said despite some challenges that the surviving liberation heroes are facing they were proud of some of the achievements that the Government has scored.
“We have an education system that is close to none, we went to the war uneducated but today we have the highest literacy rate because the education sector is robust,” said Cde Ncube.
Matabeleland South war veterans chairman Cde Section Ncube said his wish was to see war veterans grievances addressed.
“There should be empowerment through all programmes undertaken by Government and all stakeholders to deal with us and policies which talk about us are made simple for everyone to understand and implement,” he said.
He said the surviving heroes of the liberation struggle need housing among other things.
“In Matabeleland South, we expect the Government to empower us with Command Housing as most of us do not own any houses, Command Agriculture and Livestock is also vital which is one of the most important aspects as most of us live in rural areas. There are minerals in the province and we must be allocated mining concessions as well,” said Cde Section Ncube.
In Matabeleland North Province the Heroes Day celebrations will be held in Lupane which is the provincial capital and preparations are at an advanced stage while in Matabeleland South all roads lead to the provincial shrine in Gwanda.