HARARE, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe on Monday celebrated the 40th Heroes’ Day celebrations, with events held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The country celebrates Heroes’ Day every second week of August each year in honor of all those people who took part in the war of liberation against the British colonial rule that ended in 1980.

Traditionally, Heroes’ Day is associated with expensive fanfare with the main event at the National Heroes’ Acre, a burial ground and national monument in the capital Harare.

However, owing to a spike in coronavirus cases, mostly locally transmitted, public gatherings were banned and the same goes with national events.

“Today’s 40th National Heroes Day Anniversary celebrations are regrettably being held in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hence, our event today will not have the usual fanfare as we have to be in compliance with the World Health Organization’s Guidelines,” said President Emmerson Mnangagwa during a televised address to the nation.

As of Aug. 9, the country has registered a total of 4,649 cases, including 104 deaths. The country experienced a sharp increase in the coronavirus cases lately, forcing the government to impose a night curfew and stringed lockdown.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has been accused of human rights abuses, including arrest of journalists and politicians, under the guise of the coronavirus-induced curfew, such that the African Union (AU) has taken note of the complaints.

An online campaign dubbed #ZimbabweanLivesMatter was launched in a bid to raise awareness of the abuses. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed envoys to look into the allegations.

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