Harare(New Ziana) – Zimbabwe shall honour the legacy of its founding father, former President Robert Mugabe by fiercely defending the continent’s freedom, independence and natural resources, things he fought to protect his entire life, President Emerson Mnangagwa said on Saturday.
He said this while delivering his eulogy to thousands of mourners, including Heads of State and Government from Southern Africa and beyond, who graced former President Mugabe’s funeral service at the National Sports Stadium.
The former President died last Friday in Singapore at the age of 95.
President Mnangagwa described the former President as a giant tree of Africa.
“Indeed the bold, steadfast and resolute revolutionary, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe is no more, taken away from us, we the people he fought hard to free, liberate and empower. Taken away from a continent into which he was born, he loved, inspired and sought always to inculcate a sense of pride, independence and freedom. Seeking always to carry on the torch of his generation, a torch of heroic nationalism, patriotism, sacrifice, unity and freedom,” he said.
“As we say our goodbyes to our late great national hero and son of the continent, Zimbabwe shall always stand with Africa and for what is right. This is our tribute to our great liberator, founding father, teacher and empowerer, the late Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe.”
President Mnangagwa said in Mugabe, Zimbabwe and the continent at large had lost a great son of the soil, a visionary and a champion of black empowerment.
The late founding father of a free Zimbabwe, President Mnangagwa said, was also a great scholar, thinker, teacher and a true African and his ideas taught a generation, led a nation, inspired a continent while speaking for the oppressed.
“Today Southern Africa mourns the sad loss of a front-liner. Today Africa weeps, grieving over the loss of a true Pan-African. Our motherland is in tears, our region is in grief, and our continent is in sorrow. Above all a family is stricken, and in deep sorrow,” he said.
“For years and generations to come we shall continue to draw inspiration from the life, leadership, courage, valour and bravery of this great man we here fondly called Gushungo, a true statesman who resolutely defended our country throughout his (entire) life.”
President Mnangagwa said under the leadership of the former President, Zimbabweans fought for democracy and universal suffrage and also recorded several milestones both politically and economically, including the highly successful land reform programme which the government has declared as irreversible.
President Mnangagwa said it was now incumbent upon the new crop of leaders to carry on the rich heritage bequeathed by the continent’s founding fathers.
“As Africa moves further towards integration and economic prosperity, let us all stand ready to take up the cause which the generation of our late commander fought for.
“Let us boldly play our part in setting the wrongs of the world right. We must continue to challenge an unfair world, opposing injustice, racism and all forms of oppression of man by man,” he said.
“As Zimbabwe we shall ride on the education and high literacy levels bequeathed to us by our late great teacher and educator.”
He added: “As we bid our founding father farewell, our resolve as a people is not broken. More than ever before we are determined to grow our economy and improve the quality of life of our people. Indeed our success is inevitable, building on the foundations laid by our veteran leaders such as the late Cde Mugabe.”
President Mnangagwa thanked the former first lady, Grace and her family for looking after former President Mugabe until his demise.
“The fortitude, commitment and love you exemplified is admirable and should forever be emulated. Be rest assured that you will continue to have my support and that of my government in these moments of grief,” he said.
He said the government would continue to be guided by the Mugabe family concerning the burial of the former President.
Mugabe will be buried at the Heroes Acre in a special mausoleum at a date yet to be announced.
President Mnangagwa also thanked the several Heads of State and former Presidents from across Africa who attended Saturday’s funeral service in honour of the departed icon.
Some of the leaders who attended include President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and former President Mugabe’s personal friend, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of the Equatorial Guinea.
“We are humbled by your presence here to mourn with us. We are equally comforted by the many more who could not be with us physically, but sent moving tributes and expressed their deepest condolences,” he said.
“Your presence in such huge numbers today and your kind words of comfort from across nations and continents is solace and a strong statement. A statement which exposes a lie heavily sponsored by a retrogressive narrative, falsely framing the late Cde Mugabe, giving him many false names, routinely and systematically vilifying him. But today the truth is laid bare and open, we honour and remember our late African icon in our special own way, demonstrating that he had many friends allies and followers.”