Acting President General (Rtd) Dr Constantino Chiwenga has described the three national heroes as heroes among heroes, true cadres of the liberation struggle and gallant sons of the soil who did not labour in vain.
“Even in death, they remain as inspirational as in their lives. They curved a special place in the club of immortals. Heroes among heroes.”
The Acting President was addressing mourners at the National Heroes Acre during the historic first-time burial of three national heroes Foreign Affairs Minister Lieutenant General (Retired) Dr Sibusiso Moyo, Transport Minister Joel Biggie Matiza and former prisons chief Major-General (Retired) Paradzai Zimondi, who all succumbed to covid-19.
“But we will eventually conquer. We will eventually conquer it and prevail as a people.
He said the three national heroes are all contributors to Zimbabwe’s independence and socio-economic development.
“The common phenomenon about these three is they participated in the liberation struggle, waged to dethrone the Rhodesian regime, that had dispossessed Zimbabweans of their major birthright, the land,” said Acting President Chiwenga.
“The three worked very hard to improve the lives of the people so that live in a peaceful environment.
“The late Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Lieutenant-General (Rtd) Sibusiso Busi Moyo seized every opportunity available while he was in the army, to acquire education.
“He was a joy to work with,” he said.
“I am proud of his determination to achieve what he would have set out to achieve. He was instrumental in the transformation of the National Defence College into the National Defence University and the success of Operation Maguta,” Vice President Chiwenga said.
He was also at the core of regional peace-keeping and military cooperation initiatives which earned him several accolades. Added the Acting President, “most of us will remember him as the mouthpiece for Operation Restore Legacy.”
“During his term in government, the late General worked tirelessly for the success of the Engagement and Re-Engagement programme, meant to normalize relations with the international world.
He Cde Moyo also worked hard to ensure the success of the Zimbabwe is Open for Business mantra, meant to attract investments into the country.
Cde Biggie Joel Matiza, who assumed the name “Destroyer Ndhlovu” in the liberation war, at a tender age of 17, left the country for Zambia through Botswana, together with other youths of the ZIPRA wing.
“In hindsight, it was a wise and patriotic decision taken by Cde Matiza, a decision which is still being praised by government and his family to this day,” said Acting President Chiwenga.
As Minister of transport, he conceived and conceptualized great infrastructural projects including architectural designs that transcended the north-South corridor, as well as the new Parliament Building in Mt Hampden.
“He was championing socio-economic and political developmental programmes through the devolution agenda.”
Acting President Chiwenga also described the late Major General (Rtd) Zimondi as a close friend and colleague, with whom he worked together during the days of the war of liberation.
As he went down memory lane narrating Major General (Rtd) Zimondi’s war credentials, Acting President Chiwenga said the late was a shrewed military commander.
“In post-independence Zimbabwe, Major-Gen (Rtd) Zimondi had an illustrious service in the Zimbabwe national Army, where served in various capacities including Commander General (Staff), Chief of Defence Intelligence and Commander Presidential Guard.
He also described the several awards that the late national hero received due to his committed service in the army.
“He spearheaded the transformation of the Zimbabwe Prison Services to focus on transformation and rehabilitation of offenders.”
He participated fully in the land reform programme and became an acclaimed farmer who contributed immensely to Zimbabwe’s efforts to attain food security and nutrition,” said Dr Chiwenga.
“In Major General (Rtd) Zimondi, Zimbabwe has lost a great son of the soil.”
Acting president Chiwenga called for a united approach in the fight against the global covid-19 pandemic.
“It is incumbent upon us all to ensure to ensure we carry on with the journey towards the national prosperity of our people. What is crucial at this stage is to share a crucial identity as a people.
“The time is up for that unity of diversity to be viewed as a strength and not as a weakness.
“Covid-19 has taught us an important lesson, that we are all mortals.
“The fights against this pandemic does not allow for us to choose who to walk with, work with, or run with.
“It does not discriminate between the powerful and the weak, the privileged and the deprived, the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, it is a ruthless juggernaut that leaves a trail of despair and desperation.
He said the government is in the process of acquiring the necessary vaccines for the pandemic and encouraged the nation to continue observing the stipulated safety protocols.
“Always mask up, sanitize and maintain social distancing. These are the key imperatives in this fight against the pandemic and have no substitute.”