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Gen Tongo’s legacy lives on, says Acting President Chiwenga

Gen Tongo’s legacy lives on, says Acting President Chiwenga

Story by Oleen Ndori

TODAY marks 44 years after the death of ZANLA Commander, General Josiah Magama Tongogara in a car accident in Mozambique.

Acting President, General (Retired) Dr Constantino Chiwenga joined the Tongogara family at the National Heroes Acre in remembering the liberation icon this Tuesday.

The liberation luminary, war strategist and commander par excellence died on 26 December in 1979.

Affectionately known as General Tongo, the late ZANLA commander is remembered for his passion to see black people free from the shackles of colonialism, equality and land returning to the black majority.

This Tuesday, the Tongogara family converged at the National Shrine to mark the day and cherish the memories of the liberation stalwart.

Joining the family, Acting President Chiwenga went down memory lane to the days of the liberation struggle and the leadership of General Tongo.

“I had the privilege of working under the command of the late Cde Josiah Magama Tongogara during the liberation war. He was a patriot, a fearless and principled leader and above all, a nationalist who strove for social justice and the improvement of the quality of life for everyone. I must be the first one to admit that I am what I am today because of Cde Tongogara’s mentorship and leadership,” he said.

He added, “Therefore, as we commemorate this day, let us not lose sight of the sacrifices that Cde Tongogara and other luminaries died for. However, I note that it has become routine that we celebrate this day the same way as we have done in previous years. I exhort officials and the Tongogara family to explore other ways in which we can commemorate this important day. The day Zimbabwe lost its most accomplished military officer who delivered independence after selflessly prosecuting an unforgiving war of liberation against the brutal colonial government.”

He also spoke of further plans to honour the late icon in addition to the Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks, Josiah Tongogara Avenue in Harare and Josiah Tongogara Street in Bulawayo.

“We have been deliberating and we have left it to the family to decide how we can go forward in honouring our General,” he added.

Acting Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Anselem Sanyatwe weighed in saying Cde Tongo’s legacy lives on.

“We learnt a lot from him during the struggle and we will always remember him,” he said.

Widow of the revolutionary icon, Senator Angeline Tongogara, has fond memories of her husband.

“I will always cherish the memory of my husband and the support we have from the government,” she said.

A commander of the ZANLA forces, General Tongo worked with the youth wing of the then ZANU and was a product of the Chinese military training programme where he was trained in military intelligence, political science, mass media and guerrilla war strategies.

Cde Tongogara was instrumental in arranging ZANLA forces to work with FRELIMO in Mozambique and fought the Portuguese alongside the late first President of independent Mozambique Cde Samora Machel.

It was his military prowess and intelligence that led to his appointment as the military commander of ZANLA and chair of the High Command in 1972.

In 1974, he became the Chief of Defence in ZANU’s Supreme Council codenamed Dare Re Chimurenga which was responsible for directing the prosecution of the liberation struggle for the independence of Zimbabwe.

In 1977 when ZANU re-organised, Cde Tongo was re-elected to the party’s Central Committee as Secretary for Defence, a post he held until his demise on the 26th of December 1979 after the Lancaster House Conference.

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