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Monday, May 27, 2024

Disability fraternity mourns Cde Malinga

Story by Peter Chivhima

PEOPLE with disabilities have described the late national hero, Cde Joshua Malinga as a visionary and true defender of their rights.

The late national hero might have gone, but his legacy of transforming the fortunes of people with disabilities lives on.

“As people with disabilities, we are at a loss following the death of Cde Malinga. He was approachable and a visionary leader and ready to assist everyone. The National Disability Policy which we believe is part of his brainchild saw things working in favour of us as people with disabilities. When the President appointed him to the post, he did forget those that are unfortunate,” said a person living with disabilities.

Another said, “To us people with disabilities, we are grateful that Cde Malinga was given the highest honour. He was bridging the gap between us as the praesidium. Because of him, we are being recognised everywhere we go.”

Director of Disability Affairs in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Christine Peta saluted the government for according Cde Malinga national hero status, saying he was such a man who transformed the lives of many.

“His journey started early when he was the secretary of the Jairos Jiri Association. He was a father to all people with disabilities. I remember travelling with him throughout the country making consultations on the disability policy. So, he spearheaded the National Disability Policy.

“He also occupied space at the international level and advocated on those platforms so that persons with disabilities can be included. He has left a void in the fraternity. We also want to thank President Emmerson Mnangagwa for bestowing a national hero status on Cde Malinga,” said Dr Peta.

In his condolence message on Sunday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa described the late Cde Malinga as a nationalist stalwart and vocal proponent of disability rights.

Cde Malinga became a victim of polio at the tender age of two, but disability did not deter him from participating in nationalist politics that ushered in the country’s independence.

At independence, Cde Malinga served as Executive Mayor of Bulawayo for two terms and rose through the ranks in the ruling ZANU PF party to become a Politburo member.

The late national hero will be buried on a date to be advised.

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