ZIMBABWE is in the process of acquiring Covid-19 vaccines to fight the global pandemic, which has left a trail of destruction across the country but can be conquered through unity, Acting President Chiwenga said.
Addressing mourners at the National Heroes Acre yesterday during the historic interment of three national heroes who succumbed to Covid-19 related illnesses last week; namely Dr Sibusiso Busi Moyo, Dr Joel Biggie Matiza and Commissioner General Paradzai Zimondi, Acting President Chiwenga said Zimbabwe will emerge victorious against the global pandemic.
“It is a ruthless juggernaut that leaves a trail of despair and desperation. But we will eventually conquer it and prevail as a people,” he said.
“Government is already in the process of acquiring the necessary vaccines for this pandemic. Let us continue to observe the laid down protocols as stipulated by the World Health Organisation and our national laws.
“I wish to reiterate the need to always mask up, sanitise and maintain social distance. These are key imperatives in this fight against the pandemic and have no substitute.”
The historic burial was held in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 regulations, with only few people in attendance — all the while observing social distancing and wearing face masks.
Dr Moyo, who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade died on Wednesday last week while Dr Matiza, who held the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development portfolio and Major General Zimondi, the former Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) died on Friday.
Speaking at the shrine reserved for the country’s national heroes, the Acting President said the Covid-19 pandemic, which has tragically spiked in the past few weeks, is a lesson that “we are all mortals” and requires collective effort to beat.
“It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we carry on with the arduous journey towards national development and prosperity for our people. Yes, it is not a stroll in the park. What is crucial at this stage is to share a collective identity as a people with a rich diversity, paying special attention to our collective identity as a people with a rich diversity, paying special attention to our beliefs, affiliations and values. The time is up for that unity in diversity to be viewed as strength and not a weakness.”
The Acting President hailed the trio’s contribution to national development and urged Zimbabweans to carry forward with their work towards prosperity.
“Theirs was an insatiable desire to see this country develop, without leaving anyone behind. Even in death, they remain as inspirational as in their lives. They carved a special place in the exclusive club of immortals. They are our heroes among heroes.”
Dr Moyo, who died at Arundel Medical Centre, was born on November 20, 1961 in Mberengwa.
He joined the liberation war as a 17-year-old in 1977 through the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) and received military training in Zambia and USSR.
His Chimurenga name was Cde Delumuzi.
At independence, Cde Moyo was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army(ZNA) where he rose through the ranks to become Major General in 2016.
“During his long and illustrious career in the ZDF, the late General seized every opportunity to acquire the requisite military and academic qualifications that positioned him for higher and demanding portfolios.
“He was instrumental in the transformation of the National Defence College to the National Defence University and championing food security initiatives through Operation Maguta,” Acting President Chiwenga said.
He added that the late Dr Moyo held various appointments in the ZDF and gained fame as the mouthpiece of Operation Restore Legacy that ushered in the Second Republic.
Dr Matiza was born on August, 17, 1960 in Murehwa and also skipped the country to join the war in 1977 as a Zipra cadre and his Chimurenga name was Cde Destroyer Ndlovu.
He left the country for Zambia through Botswana and ended up at Freedom Camp.
In 1978 he was injured during a raid of the camp by the Rhodesian forces.
He was then sent to Nigeria where he obtained Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Architecture.
In post-independent Zimbabwe he held various portfolios in Government and the ruling Zanu PF party including his last post as Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister.
Acting President Chiwenga said the late Dr Matiza was instrumental in conceptualising the modernisation of the country’s road, rail and air connectivity in line with Vision 2030.
“As a passionate proponent of economic empowerment, Cde Matiza was instrumental in promoting the construction of infrastructural projects by local companies,” he said citing the ongoing construction of Beitbridge-Masvingo-Chirundu Highway.
Maj Gen Paradzai Zimondi, whose Chimurenga war name was Tonderai Nyika, was born on March 4, 1947, in Uzumba District.
He joined the war in 1974 as a Zanla cadre and underwent military training at Mgagao in Tanzania.
On completing training, he was appointed an instructor before he was deployed to open a new front in Gaza.
He was then deployed to Manica Province where he was appointed Field Provincial Operational Commander.
The Acting President said he was privileged to have worked under the late national hero during the liberation war.
“I had the privilege to work under him as his Provincial Political Commissar of Zanla. Cde Tonderai Nyika was a close friend and fellow member of Zanla High Command.
“Due to his diligence and military strategic acumen, he was given operational tasks that made a great impact in turning the tide of the liberation war effort against the Rhodesian colonial establishment,” he said.
The burial of the trio at the national burial shrine comes a few weeks after the nation lost two national heroes, the late veteran nationalist Morton Malianga and former Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba.