Members of the defence forces march to Gwanda’s Phelandaba stadium where Defence Forces Day commemorations were held in Matabeleland South

Thousands of people thronged various venues across the country’s 10 provinces to celebrate Defence Forces Day.

In the Midlands province, residents of Gweru and surrounding areas showed their respect for the armed forces as they turned up in their numbers at Mkoba stadium.

The reviewing officer Midlands Minister of State Cde Jason Machaya arrived at 11 am and inspected the parade and later delivered the president’s speech.

Speaking to ZBC News after the commemorations, Cde Machaya said it is imperative that the country recognises the enormous work that is done by the country’s armed forces of protecting the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and vital national interests.

In Matabeleland North, hundreds of people from all corners of the province turned up at Somhlolo stadium in Lupane to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day.

The Defence Forces Day is a platform in which the armed forces showcase some of their activities which include community development programmes, rescue operations as well as their success in fulfilling their constitutional mandate of defending the country`s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In Bulawayo Metropolitan province, the Minister of State Cde Eunice Sandi Moyo who was the guest of honour inspected the guard of honour before a march-past in slow and quick time formations after which she read the president’s speech.

Army drills entertained the people who have remained supportive to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces due to its critical role in maintaining peace in the country as well as the community support they give during natural disasters as was the situation during floods in Tsholotsho.

In Mashonaland West, official proceedings were presided over by Mashonaland West Minister of State Cde Faber Chidarikire who read President Mugabe’s speech after inspecting a quarter guard.

The quarter guard was mounted by the Zimbabwe National Army and the Air Force of Zimbabwe. Thousands of people from Chinhoyi turned up for the Defence Forces Day commemorations held at Chinhoyi stadium.

The Masvingo community came in their numbers for the Defence Forces Day commemorations.

For some moments the Mucheke stadium was turned into a war zone as members of the defence forces held a mock battle. Even though people were warned that there would be a mock battle some admitted they almost took to their heels when the fire arms were let off.

It turned out the mock battle was the favourite part of the proceedings for those who were at the stadium.

The people of Mashonaland East joined the rest of the country to commemorate Defence Forces Day.

Some members of the audience said while the day is special in that it gives them the chance to see some of the thrilling displays by the army, there is need for more educative exhibition where displays of helicopters and parachutes are brought to the people.

The traditional war song, Pane Nzira Dzemasoja, brought back memories of the liberation struggle.

Messages of solidarity from Mozambican community in Zimbabwe were delivered by its leader Emeralda Massinge.

The marching procession of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in Chineta Street in Sakubva signalled the commencement of Defence Forces Day celebrations in Manicaland province.

The parade brought Sakubva to a stand-still as people abandon their household chores lining up the street to salute the defence forces.

The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Cde Mandi Chimene later read the speech of the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe.

In Matabeleland South, Gwanda citizens turned out in their numbers at Phelandaba stadium this Tuesday to salute the men and women who serve in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces with dedication and devotion.

The celebrations which rekindled the spirit of patriotism, kicked off with a colorful procession from the central business district to the stadium.

A soccer match between Vumbachikwe and ZRP concluded the day’s events.

The theme for this year’s ZDF Day celebrations is – The ZDF: Resolute in Defence of National Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity for Socio- Economic Development.