Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The late Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza and former Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Commissioner General Major-General (Retired) Paradzai Zimondi were yesterday declared national heroes and will be buried at the National Heroes Acre at a date to be announced.
Minister Matiza (60), who was also the Zanu PF chairman for Mashonaland East, and Maj-Gen Zimondi (74) both died on Friday from Covid-19.
Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister and Zanu PF National Chairman Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri delivered the declarations to the families of the two national heroes yesterday.
Speaking at the Matiza home in Borrowdale, Minister Muchinguri said President Mnangagwa was pained by Cde Matiza’s death.
“The party Zanu PF and Government have lost a hero who was a hard worker and reliable. He was tireless in working for the development of the country,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
At the Zimondi home in Umwinsdale, Cde Muchinguri said the late hero was a brave soldier who had dedicated his life in the struggle for independence.
“He was a fearless soldier who was committed to the struggle for the country’s independence.”
Maj-Gen Zimondi was born on March 4, 1947.
He joined the liberation struggle and received military training at Mgagao Training Camp, Tanzania, in 1974 and was posted to Chimoio, Mozambique, where he assumed the position of a trainer.
After independence in 1980, Maj-Gen Zimondi was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army as a colonel and reached the rank of major-general in his career.
Among his posts was Commander of Presidential Guard.
Maj-Gen Zimondi moved to the Zimbabwe Prison Services as a deputy commissioner in 1997 and the following year became commissioner.
He helped to set up a formidable prisons service in the country through improving the delivery of health systems in prisons across the country.
In 1997 he undertook a study of British, Danish and Swedish prison systems in preparation for Zimbabwean prison reforms being appointed acting commissioner in 1998 following the retirement of Mr Langton Chigwida the previous year and substantive commissioner on April 1, 1998.
Minister Matiza was also a Zanu PF Central Committee member and had previously served in Government as Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
He joined the liberation struggle in 1977 as a Zipra cadre.
He attended local schools before going to Nigeria for his tertiary education, graduating with a BSc Hons degree and the professional MSc degree, both in architecture, from Ahmadu Bello University.
He graduated with a doctorate in business administration from the Binary University of Management and Entrepreneurship in Malaysia, in collaboration with Chinhoyi University of Technology on December 15 last year.
During his tenure in Government under President Mnangagwa’s administration, Minister Matiza pushed for the rehabilitation of roads in the country using local resources and entrusted local companies to undertake the work rather than seeking external consultants and contractors at significantly higher cost.
During his tenure, the Government embarked on massive road construction of varying magnitudes in every constituency.