Africa

Zimbabwe celebrates 40th independence under lockdown

President Emmerson Mnangagwa forced to issue televised statement due to COVID-19 restriction measures

John Cassim   | 19.04.2020
Zimbabwe celebrates 40th independence under lockdown

HARARE, Zimbabwe 

Commemorations to mark the 40th independence anniversary were held under a nationwide lockdown for the first time in Zimbabwe’s history.

The usual merriments that have attracted thousands to various stadiums in years past could not take place.

Even colorful flags and billboards with liberation messages were not found on major highways.

Zimbabwe is on day 20 of the 21-day lockdown and has tested more than 2,000 people, confirmed 24 cases and recorded three deaths and two recoveries.

“This year, we had planned to celebrate this grand occasion in Bulawayo Province; marking the beginning of a decentralized way of celebrating this important national day. Devolution in action, as one people and a united nation, from Beitbridge to Chirundu, and from Plumtree to Mutare,” President Emmerson Mnangagwa told the nation in a televised address.

“However, the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic is seeing us endure a necessary lockdown in our homes,” he said. “Although we are physically separated, we are united in spirit. The time to celebrate together shall come.”

It remains unclear if Mnangagwa will extend the lockdown even though medical experts are advocating it for a few more weeks to help with COVID-19 mapping.

Mnangagwa did not touch the subject during his address but took the opportunity to thank donor partners for lending a hand to the economically crippled nation.

“I equally want to thank some countries and partners from abroad such as the People’s Republic of China, United Kingdom, United States of America, UAE, European Union, the World Health Organization and other United Nations Agencies, as well as the Jack-Ma Foundation, among many other international organizations and well-wishers, who have generously supported our fight against COVID-19,” he said.

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