Mashonaland West Bureau
Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet responsible for District Development Fund (DDF) Cde James Jonga who died last Thursday and declared a liberation hero, has been described as a selfless and hardworking patriot .
Cde Jonga died after a short illness and his remains were interred at Muchemwa Village in Mhondoro-Mubaira under Chief Rwizi in Chegutu yesterday in line with Covid-19 regulations.
He was 70.
President Mnangagwa accorded the late a State-assisted Liberation War hero status and offered a chopper to airlift his remains from the capital to his final resting place.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland West, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka laid wreath on behalf of President while Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa and Zanu-pf politburo member Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa laid wreaths for Vice President Dr General Constantino Chiwenga (RTD) and Zanu-pf Vice President, Cde Kembo Mohadi respectively.
Minister Mutsvangwa described the death of Cde Jonga as a huge blow to the nation.
“He was a true patriot who was compassionate and loved his job so well. He worked hard to ensure that the President’s Vision 2030 is attainable. He sacrificed his life and time for the nation’s development.
“He played his role in so many ways and we all know that life is water and roads. There is no economy that can tick without water, passable roads and food security. Cde Jonga led a team that made sure that all the districts in the country were developed. People in my area in Manicaland are saddened by the death of Cde Jonga because they witnessed his good works as he was a household name in the ten provinces of the country,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said schools and health care facilities have safe drinking water because of the hard work of Cde Jonga .
Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka paid tribute to the late Cde Jonga for superintending rural roads rehabilitations and the green belt agriculture programme.
“Cde Jonga joined the DDF as an assistant director in 1987. He became the deputy director in 1989 when the DDF merged with the Department of Rural Development (DERUDE). He was appointed principal director, and subsequently the director-general of DDF in 1998.
“In 2014, he was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet in charge of DDF and Related Infrastructure Development, a post he held until his death.
“Cde Jonga was instrumental in the establishment of developmental projects such as the water division, which he superintendent under the Rural Roads Programme.
He spearheaded the purchasing of drilling equipment and the recapitalisation of the DDF’s plant and equipment unit,” said Minister Mliswa-Chikoka.
Cde Jonga was the chairman of the Rural Wash Programme and deputy chairperson of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP 2) steering committee and was at the forefront of the Zunde raMambo programme and championed the “Lest we Forget Programme” for the late national heroes and heroines.
DDF director of finance and administration, Mr Wilfred Kachitsa described Cde Jonga as a selfless person who taught them how to bring development to the communities urging members of parliament to continue engaging DDF for a prosperous nation.
Cde Jonga was born on 6 April 1951 in Chegutu district and did his primary education at Goroni and Gavaza Primary Schools and enrolled at Marist Brothers in Nyanga for his secondary education before attaining his Advanced Level education at Kutama College.
He enrolled at University of Zimbabwe for his tertiary education where he obtained various degrees.
Cde Jonga is survived by his wife Miriam and five children.