PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has sent a message of condolence to the Chimonyo family following the death of the Zimbabwe National Army Commander, Lieutenant-General Edzai Absalom Chimonyo. Lt. Gen. Chimonyo died Thursday morning after a long battle with cancer.
In his condolence message President Mnangagwa said the country has lost a rare cadre, freedom fighter, exceptional commander and prized son of the nation.
“A veteran freedom fighter, commander and diplomat, Lt gen Chimonyo was a decorated career soldier who was mloulded in the heat of our protracted liberation struggle which he joined from school to become a veteran freedom fighter from a tender age,” read part of the condolence message.
The President said during the liberation struggle Lieutenant-General Chimonyo stood out as a tough and brave freedom fighter, and later as a key instructor. He noted that the late Army Commander was instrumental in opening many war fronts in the then Rhodesia.
President Mnangagwa said at Independence Lieutenant-General Chimonyo played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the delicate integration process which united the warring armies of Rhodesia and the Patriotic Front forces.
The President noted that in his various positions of command, Lieutenant-General Chimonyo led units of Zimbabwean forces in Mozambique, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo when the Zimbabwe Defence Forces were called upon to stabilise troubled situations.
President Mnangagwa said the advent of the second republic saw Lieutenant-General Chimonyo being elevated to the position of Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, an appointment and trust which he vindicated through absolute loyalty and dedicated commitment to duty and his country.
Lt-Gen Chimonyo has held a number of appointments between 1980 and 2008 in various brigades, Army and Defence Headquarters before his transfer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he was appointed ambassador to Tanzania until December 2017.
Lt Gen Chimonyo assumed his current position on December 18, 2017 when he took over from General Philip Valerio Sibanda, who was promoted to be the Commander Defence Forces.