Harare(New Ziana) – The late former President Robert Mugabe was a fountain of wisdom, whose good judgement and firm grasp of national, regional and international issues placed him on an unmatched pedestal of greatness, the Office of the President and Cabinet said on Monday.
The former leader died last Friday in Singapore where he was receiving medical treatment. His body still remains in the Asian country, and was only expected in Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
Vice President Kembo Mohadi left Harare on Monday for Singapore at the head of a family, ruling party and government delegation to repatriate the body home for burial on Sunday.
In a condolence message, chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda said the death of Mugabe had robbed Zimbabwe and Africa of a selfless revolutionary leader, outstanding nationalist and a pan-Africanist par excellence.
“He was indeed a principled and exceptional statesman of his generation who steadfastly championed the rights of the African people both on the African continent and in the diaspora,” he said.
“Being one never inclined to hang up his harp on the willows of despair, Cde Mugabe remained firmly harnessed to the principles of human dignity for all, regardless of their colour, race, economic or military prowess.”
Sibanda, who worked closely with Mugabe for years, said doing so was a privilege, as he and his colleagues had blossomed under the former President’s wise tutelage.
“To us, Cde Mugabe had become a mentor, a father figure, an advisor and fountain of wisdom upon which we relied on in dealing with the challenges we faced both internal and external.
“Former President Mugabe’s exemplary leadership, love for his people and steadfast commitment to national duty easily permeated through all those he routinely interacted with including his war time special assistant and now President of the Second Republic, His Excellency Cde E.D. Mnangagwa, who is providing continuity and incremental value to the development of the motherland and the livelihoods of its people,” he said.
Sibanda added: “Our beloved departed President has left us an enduring legacy of commitment to national peace and unity which he pursued through his far sighted policy of national reconciliation, the 22 December 1987 unity accord between Zanu and Zapu and other subsequent unifying efforts he undertook throughout his leadership.”
He said Mugabe was a people centred leader, who laboured for the upliftment of the livelihoods and dignity of Zimbabweans.
“This he pursued through policies such as development with equity, in the areas of education, health, housing and labour as well as pursuing the sacrosanct Land Reform programme which reposed in the formerly deprived indigenous majority of their birth right, the land.
“Former President Mugabe will be fondly remembered by the generality of Zimbabweans for his firm stance against the vicious onslaught from decadent foreign sub-cultures that sought to destroy the nation’s moral fabric, the family system, cultural and Christian values,” Sibanda said.
Former President Mugabe’s death has drawn hearty sympathies from around the world, with Kenya declaring three days of national mourning in his honour.
He ruled Zimbabwe from independence in 1980 until his resignation in 2017.