Zimbabweans should maintain the spirit of oneness and unity which the late national hero, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, held dear, Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Cde Richard Moyo said yesterday.
Cde Moyo, who stood in for President Mnangagwa at the burial of Dr Dabengwa at Manxeleni Village in Ntabazinduna, Umguza district, about 37km from Bulawayo, indicated that peace was an invaluable ideal borne out the liberation struggle waged by veterans of the liberation struggle such as the late hero.
“Dr Dabengwa fought in the liberation struggle and later worked in various capacities in Government after independence. May I also take this opportunity to remind the people of Zimbabwe that we should unite and promote peace in our country, as by so doing, we will be upholding the values of the liberation struggle that was fought by Dr Dabengwa,” said Minister Moyo.
“I would also want to thank the Dabengwa family who nurtured Dr Dumiso (Dabengwa) into being a son of the soil, a liberation icon, a man who sacrificed his life to the struggle that unyoked the country from the shackles of colonial despotism,” he said.
Dr Dabengwa, who was Zapu president, died in Nairobi, Kenya, last week en-route to Zimbabwe from India where he had gone to seek medical attention.
He was 79.
The burial was graced by local and regional politicians who attested to Dr Dabengwa’s iconic status and historic contribution to the country’s liberation. The family of the late revolutionary, he added, should take comfort in the late Zapu leader’s immense and selfless contribution.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa described the late politician as “a true son of the soil and commander”.
In a speech read on his behalf by SA’s Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo, President Ramaphosa said Dr Dabengwa was a hero of the world.
“We are here to bury a son of the soil, the commander of Southern Africa revolutionary struggle, a child of Africa, the defender of the rights of those that are down trodden, the defender of the revolution of the people of South Africa and a child of the world,” said President Ramaphosa.
“He is a hero of the world, his name will relive through the skies of Africa, it will run and flow through the rivers of our respective countries— Limpopo River. It will shine like the sun that always rises in the East and sets in the West,” he said.
Dr Dabengwa, he added, is a “hero that none of us should have the luxury to forget” as his name will be forever remembered in the history of the two countries.
Lieutenant-General Gilbert Ramano, a veteran of the South African liberation struggle who also served under Dr Dabengwa, said the late hero was brave and fearless.
“I had the opportunity of serving under the command and leadership of Cde Dabengwa. He was a commander who was special, and he was a political military commander. He understood the struggle of the people of Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“ It was an opportunity for me to be under a man of this calibre. He knew the whole front line all the way to Beira. And as a foot soldier myself, I can say he was involved in all aspects. He was brave and fearless but very kind and humble,” he said.
Ms Shelly Brown, who spoke on behalf of Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), said her delegation was honoured to be in Zimbabwe for the burial of a fellow soldier.
“Cde Dabengwa shared the trenches with most of the veterans in the liberation struggle. It was, therefore, with a deep sense of loss and sadness that (MKMVA) received the devastating news of Cde Dabengwa’s death. We honour and recognise him as one of the greatest sons of Zimbabwe both as the president of Zapu and as a former Zipra chief of intelligence,” she said.
“It was in the latter capacity that blood ties of revolutionary solidarity were formed between Cde Dabengwa and MKMVA. As committed as he was to the liberation of Zimbabwe, he was similarly committed to secure the liberation of the people of South Africa,” she said.
Zapu secretary-general Mr Strike Mnkandla said the regional representation at the funeral was much appreciated and was testimony of Dr Dabengwa’s humanity.
“Dr Dabengwa breathed politics and he lived politics; as a result, he was involved in many initiatives. He encouraged us a lot and told us that the war was over and that people must work and develop the nation with peace and respect,” he said.
“I want to thank President Mnangagwa for what he did, he openly said Dabengwa was a hero as seen by his works and no-one can dispute that. This was a very important statement on his part because another person would have said Dabengwa was critical of our work and was not always forthcoming in some things, but the President was resolute and made sure that there was nothing that stood in the way in recognising Dabengwa’s work.”
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, Government Ministers Sithembiso Nyoni, Monica Mutsvangwa, Victor Matemadanda, Judith Ncube, and other senior Zanu-PF officials Cdes Simon Khaya Moyo and Colonel Tshinga Dube (Retired) attended yesterday’s burial at Dr Dabengwa’s family cemetery.
President of the Chief’s Council Chief Fortune Charumbira also attended.
Opposition politicians Mr Nelson Chamisa, Dr Joice Mujuru, Mr Tendai Biti, Mr Welshman Ncube, Mr Temba Mliswa, Dr Thokozani Khupe, Mr Lovemore Moyo, Ambassador James Maridadi and Mr Harry Wilson were also present.