Harare (New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday urged Zimbabweans to prioritise the nation’s interests and to rally behind the current development trajectory being pursued by the government.
He was speaking at the National Heroes Acre during the double burial of the late Zimbabwe National Army commander Lt.Gen Edzai Chimonyo and liberation war veteran Comrade Michael Chakabva, better known by his moniker Cde Vhuu.
Both national heroes died last week.
President Mnangagwa challenged Zimbabweans to go the extra mile for the sake of their country.
“In our current development epoch, us who remain are challenged to go the extra mile for the good and prosperity of our country, drawing from our unique God given abilities and strengths,” he said.
“The nation is indeed calling on those who can be depended on to defend and advance our national interests as a people.”
President Mnangagwa added: “Those in the security sector and those serving in our foreign service at diplomatic missions must take time to introspect. Ask yourselves can you be trusted, are you loyal, reliable and committed. As a nation we need men and women of valour and great character who avail themselves and commit to promoting unity, peace, security and the development for our mother country Zimbabwe.”
In his tribute to the late Lt.Gen Chimonyo, who died aged 68 after a long battle with cancer, President Mnangagwa said the country had been robbed of a gallant military commander.
“His untimely passing on comes only a few weeks before we commemorate Defence Forces Day. It is therefore with deep sorrow and pain that we pay our last respects and lay to rest a fine, fearless, brave son of the soil and a member of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,” he said.
“In him the nation in general and the security sector in particular have lost a liberator, military commander, luminary of independent Zimbabwe and indeed a diplomat.”
President Mnangagwa described the late army commander as a trusted and loyal soldier, who could always be relied upon to execute his duties with perfection.
He said during his tenure as ZNA commander, Lt.Gen Chimonyo ensured that the army remained a reputable, competent, professional, highly disciplined, combat ready and effective force.
He also praised Lt.Gen Chimonyo’s leadership qualities which included wisdom, fairness, objectivity and professionalism.
“He had the unique trait of being able to conduct himself without giving the slightest hint of his deserved status as commander of the national army and a liberation war stalwart. He was not a man of many words but the few he would give would be carefully chosen,” he said.
On comrade Vhuu, who was born in 1943, President Mnangagwa said the departed cadre was renowned for his fearlessness during the war of liberation.
“Comrade Vhuu was among the forerunners of our armed liberation struggle who was a thorn in the flesh of the racist Rhodesian regime especially in the Gaza and Nehanda sectors where he operated,” he said.
“He survived countless battles including one where he lost many of his comrades and sustained serious injuries. Comrade Vhuu was always at the battle front opening new areas of operation in both the Gaza and Nehanda sectors.
“Indeed we have lost a brave and resolute freedom fighter, his service was to his country and not for personal accolades.”