BULAWAYO mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni yesterday called on the people of Matabeleland region to rise above political differences and come in their numbers for the main programme of the Independence Day celebrations held in the city for the first time since 1980.
Harare province has hosted the past 39 Independence Day celebrations and the Government last year, in line with its devolution thrust, resolved to decentralise the main programme of national events.
Bulawayo province was since been selected to host this year’s main Independence Day at the iconic Barbourfields Stadium.
In an interview yesterday, Clr Mguni lauded the Government for taking national events to other provinces in the country.
“This is a good development for the city and the region. Therefore, residents must rise above politics and participate in this as it’s for a national cause. These national events should be devolved to other centres and communities so that people in those areas feel that they are part of the country. It was not good that all national events were being held in Harare, the country is bigger than Harare,” said Clr Mguni.
He said the City of Bulawayo is also looking forward to economically benefitting through hosting the national event.
Clr Mguni said he is hoping Government would also provide necessary resources towards hosting of Independence Day celebrations.
“We also want to encourage Government to assist us in sprucing up infrastructure that is going to be used during the day. We need assistance in rehabilitating our roads. Some of our roads are in bad shape because of the rains so we want assistance in rehabilitating them as we are anticipating increased traffic flows. We also have water problems that we hope Government would chip in to address as the city host the momentous event,” said Clr Mguni.
He said as Bulawayo hosts Independence Day, the city is also cognisant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that is causing havoc globally and has been confirmed in the neighbouring South Africa.
Clr Mguni said Government should provide adequate health care materials to the city to improve the city’s health preparedness in anticipation of increased volumes of people visiting the city.
Acting Bulawayo provincial development coordinator Mrs Khonzani Ncube said the province has started to mobilise resources and people to attend the national event.
“This is a national event and we don’t want it to be politicised. Already our teams are on the ground mobilising people to attend the event. There is no excuse for members of the public not to attend. Buses are going to pick up residents to and from Barbourfields,” said Mrs Ncube.
She said Government was working with business community, sports, art sector, civic society, the church among other societal institutions to make the event a success.