ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ZIMBABWE DEFENCE FORCES HIS EXCELLENCY, CDE. ED MNANGAGWA AT THE BURIAL OF NATIONAL HERO DR MARIYO MARIYAWANDA NZUWAH ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2021, AT THE NATIONAL HEROES ACRE
We are gathered here at the sacred National Heroes Acre, to lay to rest one of our country’s career bureaucrats, academic and first black chairman of the Public Service Commission in independent Zimbabwe, the late national hero, Dr Mariyo Mariyawanda Nzuwah.
The late national hero, Dr Nzuwah passed on the 21st of September 2021 at the age of 80 years.
We lay him to rest at this final resting place following the posthumous declaration of National Hero Status to the late Cde Rabelani Choeni; Cde Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu; Cde Elliot Ngwabi; Professor George Kahari and Professor Sheunesu Mpepereki.
These heroes distinguished themselves in the political and socio-economic development of this great country. Our nation has been left poorer following the demise of this eminent public servant. He was instrumental in the transformation of our bureaucracy to make it both African and responsive to the aspirations of the post-independence epoch.
He always answered to the call and availed himself in the crafting and implementation of sustainable socio-economic development programmes and activities.
In addition, he was an energetic farmer and champion of numerous Government empowerment programmes such as the land reform, among others.
Allow me, on behalf of the Party, ZANU PF, and Government and indeed on my own behalf and that of my family and the people of Zimbabwe, to once again express my condolences to his wife Amai Janice Marie Nzuwah, children, grandchildren and great-grandchild for the loss of a husband, father, mentor and grandfather.
The nation, together with you, has lost one of the country’s forerunners in the development of sound public service architecture.
Fellow mourners, ladies and gentlemen; The late national hero, Dr Mariyo Mariyawanda Nzuwah was born on 9 May 1941 in Nharira, Chivhu District, Mashonaland East Province.
He witnessed large tracts of his ancestral fertile lands apportioned by the settler administration, creating the present day communal lands of Manyene and Nharira. He saw Africans suffer untold discrimination, indignities and ill treatment.
He attended Driefontein Mission School for his primary education and St Francis Xavier’s Kutama College for his secondary education, where he stood out as a brilliant student.
He was awarded a scholarship by the Roman Catholic Church. This saw him set off to the United States of America, where he studied Public Administration and Political Science at the University of Minnesota.
It is during this time that he met his wife, Janice Marie Stevenson.
In 1965 he, and Mrs Nzuwah moved to Washington D.C. and undertook post graduate studies in Philosophy and Administration at Howard University.
His activism towards economic justice and fair treatment for the minority led to his involvement in the civil rights movement in the United States of America, including organising the Freedom Riders Protests.
He worked closely with the United Auto Workers Union and trade union activist, Dr Gary K. Busch.
His efforts to engender and inculcate oneness in our diverse cultures where informed by the rise of our country’s nationalist movement in the 1960s.
Today as we remember the late Dr Nzuwah, let us all recommit to protect the gains of our protracted liberation struggle and the democratic society we have entrenched.
Fellow mourners, ladies and gentlemen; In 1970, the late National Hero Dr Nzuwah joined the faculty of the University of Maryland where he assisted in setting up and teaching at the first Department of Afro-American Studies.
In this respect, he worked with Dr Mary Berry, the former chairperson of the United States of America’s Civil Rights Commission.
During this time, the late Dr Nzuwah was actively involved in mobilising support for the liberation war effort of our country. Alongside luminaries such as the late national hero Cde Edson Mudadirwa Zvobgo, Dr Busch and Dr Berry, he made many representations to the United States Congress and various administrations, lobbying against the brutal white settler colonial regime.
He diligently participated in organising material and logistical support for our political freedom and independence. He was always deeply rooted and guided by our African philosophy and cultural identity.
Whilst at the University of Maryland, the late National Hero Dr Nzuwah, established a research journal, the Journal of Southern African Affairs.
It was instrumental in providing academic and practical insights into the liberation movements of Africa and Pan-Africanism. This was part of the wider revolutionary agenda where pen and paper became tools to propel the liberation and development agenda of the African people.
In the same vein, I challenge present day intellectuals, young men and women pursuing various studies both locally and abroad to also play their part in enriching our cultural and ideological consciousness. As the African intelligentsia, you have the responsibility to engender and propel the political and economic development of our country and the continent as a whole.
Fellow mourners, ladies and gentlemen; Upon attainment of our hard won independence in 1980, the late national hero Dr Nzuwah took up the call by the new administration to return home and assist in forming a new Government.
Together with other leading academics such as the late Dr Charles Utete, Dr Tichaona Jokonya, Ambassador Mashaire, and our current Chief Secretary Dr Misheck Sibanda, among others; he became part of the pioneering crop which manned our Administration in post-Independence.
He understood the meaning of nyika inovakwa nevene vayo. Hence, he let go of his professorship at the University of Maryland and joined Government as the deputy secretary in the Ministry of Roads, Road Traffic, Post and Telecommunications.
In 1982, he was appointed the substantive Secretary to the Ministry of Transport. He carried out his duties meticulously through deployment of his wealth of knowledge in various fields.
In 1986, he was appointed Secretary for Local Government. Due to his wide experience and knowledge of the discourse of Public Administration, the late national hero was appointed the first African Chairman of the Public Service Commission in 1992.
The late national hero, Dr Mariyo Mariyawanda Nzuwah, led the Public Service Commission until his retirement 2018. We honour and remember him as a man driven, not only by the passion for the development of our great nation, but by great zeal for developing a sound Civil Service in Zimbabwe.
Our public servants should also identify with communities as well as respect the cultures and languages of the duty stations they would have been deployed.
In light of this, it remains incumbent upon the entire civil service to continue upholding the unwavering, patriotic, humble hardworking character, high degree of professionalism and sense of duty-consciousness, exhibited by the late national hero, Dr Nzuwah.
My Government remains committed to improving the conditions of service, capacities and skills of our workers, in tandem with the demands of the new normal. Meanwhile, I commend all public servants for their resilience, hard work and perseverance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fellow Mourners, Ladies and Gentlemen; the sacrifices that the late national hero, Dr Mariyo Mariyawanda Nzuwah, along with other gallant sons and daughters of the soil made to free us from the shackles of oppression of the colonial settler regime must never be forgotten.
Finally, to the late National Hero, Dr Mariyo Mariyawanda Nzuwah, I say farewell to you Son of the Soil. You fought a good fight. Go well our patriot, eminent academic, hardworking, dedicated moderniser of our bureaucracy and accomplished public servant.
Rest in eternal peace. Rara murugare, Gamba reMagamba! Lala ngokuthula, Qhawe lama Qhawe!
God bless you all. God bless Zimbabwe.
I thank you.