Harare CBD put under lockdown during Mbuya Nehanda statue unveiling. Police officers turned back private motorists and public transport operator Zupco buses while claiming no one was being allowed into the CBD.
Travellers from Chitungwiza and other areas in and outside Harare were Tuesday morning blocked from access to the Harare CBD by police until President Emmerson Mnangagwa had unveiled long gone First Chimurenga heroine, Mbuya Nehanda’s statue.
Those who made it into the CBD had to avoid the intersection between Second Street and Leopold Takawira along Samora Machel as police cordoned off the whole area for the President’s security.
Anti-riot police officers were also planted at the intersection of Julius Nyerere and Samora Machel avenue where the new flyover and statue were erected. Police trucks crisscrossed the CBD as police nabbed those found violating the undeclared lockdown.
A lot of indigenous-run shops, which usually open during public holidays, were also closed. However, Zanu-PF supporters clad in party regalia were exempt from the embargo, as they sat packed under the warm winter sun following proceedings at the site.
Full military honours, including a 21-gun salute and flypast preceded the event which Mnangagwa described as a bold statement that Zimbabweans knew their history. “The unveiling of the statue of Mbuya Nehanda is the manifestation of a bold and unapologetic statement, we are a people who know where they come from,” said Mnangagwa. “It stands as an inspiration for future generations.
“My government resolved to revisit monuments, battle sites and prisons so that they are presented in the correct historical perspective.” Nehanda’s statue is mounted on a flyover that straddles the wide intersection and is some 15 metres above the ground.