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Recognising pioneers of our liberation struggle critical: President Mnangagwa

Story by Tambaoga Gora

THE official national hero status conferment ceremony in honour of the late nationalist, Cde James Chikerema was held at Kutama College in Zvimba this Saturday, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa affirming the government’s recognition of pioneers of the liberation struggle.

The ceremony, which preceded the laying of wreaths at the Chikerema family graveyard, is a fulfilment of the Second Republic’s resolve to celebrate heroes and heroines of the First and Second Chimurenga.

In a speech delivered on his behalf by the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Honourable Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri at Kutama College, President Mnangagwa reiterated the government’s determination to maintain unity, peace and development, underpinned by the desire to transform people’s livelihoods.

“Riding on the wave of unity, the New Dispensation has commenced a process of celebrating all our revolutionary luminaries in both the 1st and 2nd Chimurenga. With this in mind, at the occasion of the 2022 Heroes Day celebrations, in my speech, I indicated that as the Second Republic, we are committed to giving a holistic account of our country’s long war of liberation. We are therefore rising to the occasion and recognising other Heroes and Heroines such as the late James Robert Dambaza Chikerema,” he said.

He said a country can only be built by its people.

He added, “As we march forward to attain upper-middle-income society by 2030, let us continue building our country brick by brick and stone by stone. It is against this background that the Second Republic has moved away from the notion that developing countries can only prosper through foreign funding and guidance.”

Family members expressed gratitude to the government for recognising the role played by Cde Chikerema during the liberation struggle.

“We are happy. We never thought this would happen one day. This shows that President Mnangagwa is a man of his word,” said a family member.

Another said, “We were previously bitter that our father was not being recognised for the immense role he played during the struggle for Zimbabwe, but we are now relieved and hats off to the Second Republic.”

After the conferment ceremony, the President’s representative Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri, widow to the national hero Mrs Fielda Chikerema, Botswana ambassador to Zimbabwe Stella Molosiwa and Mashonaland West Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Honourable Mary Mliswa were among dignitaries who laid wreaths on the late national hero’s grave.

Cde Chikerema died in 2006 at the age of 81.

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