President Mnangagwa will today cut his leave to preside over only the third ever double heroes’ burial at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
The joint burial is for liberation war stalwarts — the late Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba and the late Zanu PF Central Committee member Cde Morton Dizzy Paul Malianga.
Acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Secretary Dr Jenfan Muswere said although the President is on annual leave, he was expected to preside over the burials along with Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi.
Only a few mourners, including close family members, service chiefs, senior Government and Zanu PF officials are expected to be in attendance in line with Covid-19 control measures.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Mr Aaron Nhepera yesterday said: “All arrangements are now in place ahead of the double burial of the late national hero Cde Morton Dizzy Paul Malianga and national heroine Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, which is to be conducted tomorrow at the National Heroes Acre.
“The interment of the late national hero and national heroine will be held in strict compliance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The double burial will be the third ever following the double burials of national heroines Cde Victoria Chitepo and Vivian Mwashita in 2016 and Cde George Rutanhire and Cde Maud Muzenda in 2017.
Formalities like body viewing at Stodart Hall are forgone in keeping with social distancing regulations.
Cde Malianga, who was 91, died after a long illness while Dr Gwaradzimba succumbed to Covid-19 complications.
Cde Malianga was a founding nationalist while Dr Gwaradzimba ended the liberation war as a fighting detachment commander in the south east of the country.
Cde Malianga was founding president of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and after the party was banned in December 1961, he became Zimbabwe African National Union (Zapu) secretary for Public Affairs.
He was appointed Zimbabwe African National Union’s first secretary for Youth and Culture at the party’s first congress in May 1964.
In 1965, he was arrested by the settler regime and spent 10 years in prison and during his incarceration at Salisbury Maximum Security Prison, Cde Malianga obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in economics, business economics and accounting.
After his release from prison in December 1974, he worked with other members of the Zanu Central Committee in mobilising for the liberation war.
He attended the Victoria Falls talks, the Geneva Conference and the Lancaster House Conference.
After independence, he was appointed senator and became Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Development in 1981. Two years later, he became Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.
In the second Parliament, he was elected Member of Parliament for Mutare West and appointed Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce in 1988.
In March 1990 he was re-elected as MP for the constituency and appointed Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Dr Gwaradzimba whose Chimurenga name was Cde Shee Tapera, joined the liberation struggle in 1976.
She underwent military training in Tanzania at Nachigwea Military Academy in 1977 and was deployed and operated in the Gaza Province that covered the south-eastern zone between 1977 and 1978 where she rose to detachment command level in the provincial command structure.
After independence, Dr Gwaradzimba rose through the party ranks to be a member of the Zanu PF Central Committee and Manicaland provincial chairperson in the Women’s League.