Nearly 60 000 people converged at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday to mark the 34th anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces Day, where President Mugabe addressed the gathering.
At the ceremony 21 pioneers of the liberation struggle were honored with medals, together with six serving ZDF members and three who are retired. The ZDF members were honored for their exploits while executing several missions, especially during the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Operation Sovereign Legitimacy.
Pioneers of the liberation struggle who were honored were Comrades John Makwasha, Loice Chimimba Chuma, Pilate Dube, Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu, Sibongile Ncube Matavire, Phibion Sipanera, Jaison Chirinda, Edison Joseph Khumalo, Tineyi Chigudu, Noel Museredza, Irene Mareesa Dube, Juliet Chitsungo and Onias Garikai Bhasha.
The others who were honored for their role in pioneering the struggle were Comrades Georgina Minizhu, Reuben Vurayayi Mafika, Wereki Sandiyani, Darican Nyarende, Shadreck Chipanga, Florence Miti and Niffa Makoto.
Reading the citation of the 21 representative pioneers of the struggle, Defense Minister Dr. Sydney Sekeramayi said the men and women joined the war of liberation during its formative years and served in leadership positions both at the front and rear.
“They were principled, dedicated and competent leaders who played a critical role in leading the liberation forces,” said Sekeremayi. “Their allegiance and dedication to Zimbabwe continues to this day as they contribute in different capacities to jealously safeguard the freedom, independence, sovereignty, norms and values of the Republic of Zimbabwe.”
In his key note address, the president said the genesis of the ZDF sprang from the varied forms of oppression perpetrated by white colonialists on the Black majority. He said it started with white settlers displacing indigenous people from fertile to unproductive land that was unsuitable for either cropping or grazing.
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