Let us harness our diversity to propel the nation forward: President

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called upon Zimbabweans to ensure that the people’s tangible and intangible diversities are harnessed to defend and propel the nation to be more united, peaceful and prosperous.

He was addressing mourners today during the burial of three national heroes, Cde Michael Chakabva (Cde Vhuu) and Lt Gen. Edzai Absolom Chimonyo at the National Heroes Acre, as well as Cde Abraham Nkiwane in Umguza.

“The nation has been plunged into mourning after the passing on of three heroes. Each of the three departed veterans embody different places and strands in the rich liberation war history of our country. Their personal journeys were unique, decisive and critical. The struggle was hard and protracted.

“The experiences, tragedies and setbacks were equally complex. Many died while survivors carry wounds that may never heal. I challenge the nation to ensure that our rich national liberation war heritage maintains a place and value within our society,” said the President.

He described Cde Nkiwane as a courageous fighter who, working with other departed national heroes such as Cdes James Chikerema, Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo and Jack Ngwenya, went on to facilitate the movement of arms from East Africa to cadres at the battle front.

“These courageous acts of being among the first cadres to smuggle arms into the then Rhodesia in 1962, inspired many to follow in his footsteps,” said the President.

Cde Nkiwane was also part of the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army pioneering leaders in charge of special affairs and training, where he was promoted to Chief of Personnel and Training on the Special Affairs High Command established in Lusaka in 1965.

Born in 1943, Cde Michael “Vhuu” Chakabva was recruited by Cde Nikita Mangena when he moved to Zambia to go for training under ZAPU in Morogoro, Tanzania. Together with other comrades, they opened Chifombo Base Camp.

“In 1968, the late Cde Vhuu participated in the Chifombo Battle in conjuction with the FRELIMO forces against the Portuguese. Between 1969 and 1972, he was part of the team which transported arms across the Zambezi River from Mozambique into the then Southern Rhodesia into the Mavhuradonha Mountains,” narrated President Mnangagwa.

He added, “Cde Vhuu was among the forerunners of our armed liberation struggle who became a thorn in the flesh for the racist Rhodesian regime, especially in the Gaza and Nehanda Sectors where he operated.”

“He survived countless battles, including one where he lost many of his comrades and escaped with a severe injury from fragments off a helicopter he had downed. Cde Vhuu was always at the battlefront opening new areas of operation in both Gaza and Nehanda Sectors, where he became a living legend.”

President Mnangagwa said the late Lieutenant General Edzai Absolom Chanyuka Chimonyo, born in 1952, was a fine, fearless, brave Son of the Soil and member of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

“In him, the nation in general and the security sector in particular, have lost a liberator, military commander, luminary of independent Zimbabwe and a diplomat. The late General was the epitome of a trusted cadre, soldier and commander. He was reliable and always exuded impeccable loyalty and commitment. He had the unique trait of being able to conduct himself without giving the slightest hint of his deserved status as Commander of the National Army and liberation war stalwart,” said President Mnangagwa.

The President said Lt-Gen. Chimonyo was instrumental in the development of the national army, following the advent of the Second Republic and his subsequent promotion in December 2017.

“During his tenure, the Zimbabwe National Army has remained a reputable, competent, professional, highly disciplined, combat-ready and effective force. He indeed served Zimbabwe with great humility and conviction. He will be sorely missed.”

The defence and promotion of Zimbabwe’s independence and national interests is now our responsibility together. The form, nature and strategies of our country’s detractors, sell-outs and their appendages are glaring and known, says President Mnangagwa.

“Hence we must remain resolute, focussed and steadfast, resisting and deconstructing their machinations and narratives which aim to retard national progress.”

The President implored the nation to remain vigilant in the wake of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would like to remind the nation that Covid-19 is still with us. We continue to see increaing numbers of both new infections and mortalities. I urge the nation to observe more religiously the WHO public health guidelines and the enhanced lockdown measures.”