Hundreds of patriotic Zimbabweans across the country celebrated the 38th Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day meant to honour the country’s uniformed forces for their continued efforts in safeguarding the country’s independence and territorial integrity.

In Matabeleland North Province, many people thronged Somhlolo Stadium were proceedings began with a march by the Zimbabwe National Army led by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) band from Lupane Centre to Somhlolo Stadium.

Guest of honour at the event, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Matabeleland North, Ambassador Cain Mathema delivered President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s speech that saluted the uniformed forces for their professionalism, dedication to duty and contribution to the peaceful environment prevailing in the country.

The celebrations came at a time the province and the country is mourning the former governor and Minister of State Cde Thokozile Mathuthu.

For the many who turned up at Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo for the ZDF commemorations, the highlight of the day were the mock battle drills which excited both the young and old.

Earlier on, Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Cde Josiah Hungwe had inspected a guard of honour mounted by the ZDF before delivering the President’s speech.

In Mashonaland East, the Defence Forces celebrations at Rudaka Stadium were described as historic following events of November 2017 where the ZDF was instrumental in ushering in the new dispensation in a peaceful transition that left the whole world in wonder and cemented the people and their army’s relations.

The event was presided over by Mashonaland East Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Dr David Musabayana.

People from in and around Gweru thronged Mkoba Stadium to join the rest of the country in celebrating the ZDF Day.

The commemorations give the nation an opportunity to pay tribute to the man and women in uniform for their role in protecting the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Speaking to the ZBC News, Commander 5 Brigade, Brigadier General Simo Maseko commended the cordial relations that exist between the armed forces and various communities they operate in.

Commemorations started with the arrival of the reviewing officer, Provincial Affairs Minister Owen Ncube who inspected the parade before delivering the President’s speech.

In Bulawayo, people returned to the White City Stadium to mark the 38th ZDF anniversary defence forces day with similar gatherings being held countrywide.

The bombing that occurred at White City Stadium during a campaign rally by President Emmerson Mnangagwa did not deter people from coming to support the Defence Forces on this special day and the jovial atmosphere gave the impression that they are happy to have a professional force that is internationally recognised and has been included in a number of United Nations, African Union and SADC peacekeeping missions.

The guest of honour, Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Senator Angeline Masuku presided over the commemorations

In Mashonaland central province, residents of Bindura and surrounding areas turned up in large numbers to commemorate this year’s Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day at Chipadze Stadium. 

Official proceedings kicked off following the arrival of service chiefs and Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Mashonaland Central Advocate Martin Dinha who was the guest of honour.

Advocate Dinha inspected a parade mounted by members of the Zimbabwe National Army followed by a march past in slow and quick time before reading the President’s speech.

Gaza Stadium was the venue for a colourful Defense Forces Day commemorations in Chipinge where the huge attendance gave testament of the close relations between the people and their army.

The day is popular with civilians as it provides them with a chance to mix and mingle as well as appreciate the various activities by the army.

This year’s commemorations once again lived up to their billing with members of the Defence Forces from 3-3 Reserve Battalion performing arms drills as well as obstacle crossing among various other performances that captivated the audience.

The District Administrator William Mashava read the President’s speech.

An electric atmosphere engulfed Chinhoyi Stadium on the occasion of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day Mashonaland West Province provincial commemorations, with thousands of people turning up. 

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi was the guest of honour, and he presided over the proceedings.

The commemorations were punctuated by song and dance from various entertainment groups countrywide while drill displays by the Defence Forces left the excited crowd clamouring for more.

The ZDF 38th anniversary celebrations were running under the theme, “Zimbabwe Defence Forces: Dedicated to the Defence of National Sovereignty, Stability and Socio-economic Development”.