Zim celebrates Defence Forces Day amid fanfare

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day could have easily passed for Zanu PF commemorations had it not been for the green army uniforms that blocked the yellow on President Robert Mugabe’s party colours.

After romping to an unassailable landslide in the just-ended poll, celebrations have been thus far muffled.

But at the National Sports Stadium yesterday, thousands of Zanu PF supporters looked and sounded as if they have rediscovered how to party.

The MDC parties boycotted the celebrations protesting Mugabe’s “stolen” victory.

And for bused Zanu PF supporters who came on a free ride provided by State bus firm Zupco, there was every reason to dance to music from top Sungura artists, Alick Macheso and Suluman Chimbetu.

Zanu PF supporters seemed unfazed by a spirited attempt by outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to scuttle Mugabe’s inauguration through a court application that is seeking a nullification of the July 31 poll results.

As such, Mugabe’s exuberance was almost contagious, spreading like a viral disease in the packed stadium that was awed by synchronised drills from members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

Mesmerised by the near perfect display from members of the uniformed forces, the crowd erupted into a delirious ovation that at one point entirely drowned Mugabe’s speech.

Not surprisingly, many were transported to another realm as Mugabe waxed lyrical about the exploits of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces over the past 33 years.

By and large, the rented crowd was restless, boisterous and noisy as it cheered the marching soldiers.

Mugabe paid tribute to the defence forces, using phrases like “reliable pillars of government”.

“Over the last 33 years, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have developed a capability to provide the much-needed national security that has made them the envy of many,” Mugabe said.

Politics and security issues aside, it was a good day for ice cream vendors who recorded brisk business on a hot day.

After Mugabe left the stadium, there was music and a soccer match between the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and their Tanzanian counterparts.

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