'Grant Zim Grounds monument status'

HARARE – Harare councillor Luckson Mukunguma has moved a motion to have the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield a declared national monument status.

During a full council meeting on Thursday, Mukunguma said the ground had served two historic gatherings which have shaped the country’s history.

“The ground should be made a monument because on November 18, this year, thousands of people converged to march against former president Robert Mugabe. The same ground was also used in 1980 when people also gathered to see the same man come back to Zimbabwe after the liberation struggle. This warrants it to be regarded highly in Zimbabwe’s history,” Mukunguma said.

Following the country’s takeover by the army on November 15, Zimbabweans celebrated the demise of Mugabe on the streets after he resigned on November 21.

On November 18, thousands of Zimbabweans thronged the grounds as they demonstrated against Mugabe’s despotic 37-year rule.

The demonstrations following the military takeover at Zimbabwe Grounds were described as the biggest after Mugabe’s return to the country in 1980.

At the solidarity march at Zimbabwe Grounds, many politicians rallied behind the people saying they should march and take down Mugabe.

After 37 years under Mugabe’s iron-fisted rule, the country’s economy has deteriorated from being one of Africa’s most promising economies in the 1980s to a recessionary heap.

Former vice president Joice Mujuru was also in attendance, and was warmly hugged by Climate and Water minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri who in 2014 was part of Grace’s cabal that pushed for her ouster.

Former deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara also made a surprise appearance at the Zimbabwe Grounds before the crowds trooped to the State House.

Giving her solidarity speech, Muchinguri-Kashiri, urged the crowds to march to State House and kick out Mugabe and his wife.

“Pasi, pasi (down with) naGrace Mugabe, pamberi nemauto (forward with the military). We are now united. Let us be united and build a new Zimbabwe in peace, let’s solve our problems as Zimbabweans and from here let us march to State House,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.

The grounds which have been used for sporting and political gatherings were a scene of violence in 2007 during a prayer meeting organised by the Movement for Democratic Change, church members, and national constitutional members.

Mugabe’s regime viewed the gathering as a threat and responded by opening fire and using live rounds of ammunition which killed MDC activist Gift Tandare.

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