THE country has yet again been plunged into mourning following the death of Lieutenant General (Retired) Douglas Nyikayaramba with President Mnangagwa saying the void he has left will be hard to fill.
Cde Nyikayaramba succumbed to Covid-19 related complications at a local hospital. He was 64.
At the time of his death, Lt Gen Nyikayaramba was Zimbabwe’s top envoy to Mozambique and his demise follows that of another diplomat — the late Cde Jethro Ndlovu — who was the country’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The death of the decorated military commander also comes a few weeks after the country lost several liberation war stalwarts in the mould of Dr Sibisiso Moyo, Cde Paradzai Zimondi, Engineer Joel Biggie Matiza, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba and Major General Collins Moyo in the month of January.
In his statement, the President said the country has lost a veteran of the armed liberation struggle and a revolutionary.
“The news of the untimely death this morning (yesterday) of our Ambassador to Mozambique, Lieutenant General (retired) Douglas Nyikayaramba, at St Annes Hospital in Harare, comes as a great shock to me. When we got to know that he had been admitted to hospital, our hopes and expectations were for his speedy recovery and return to station to Mozambique at the end of his vacation here at home. Regrettably, that was not to be as he succumbed to Covid-19 related complications.
“In the passing on of Lieutenant General Nyikayaramba, Zimbabwe has lost a veteran of the armed liberation struggle, a strong revolutionary cadre who continued to serve his country after independence with utmost loyalty, dedication and commitment to promoting and safeguarding the country’s territorial and national interests.
“His track record in the military speaks volumes about the strong leadership qualities he had which resulted in his meteoric rise to the rank of Lieutenant General, the position he held when he retired from the army in 2019. His military achievements are a matter of record and too numerous to mention. The honours, titles and decorations that were bestowed on him in the course of his military service crown it all,” the President said.
As a soldier, the late Ambassador distinguished himself, receiving during the course of his illustrious military career numerous accolades such as the Zimbabwe Liberation Medal, Zimbabwe Independence Medal, Commander of the Most Meritorious Order of Mohlomi
He also received a medal for Long and Exemplary Service, and for the Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo Campaign as well as the Grand Officer of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit.
During his service in the army he was appointed to several posts in the military that included being the chairman of the Promotions and Appointments of Lieutenant Colonels Board, chairman of Army Schools Welfare Time and Management Committee, chairman Tsenga Lodge Convalescent Centre Finance Committee, chairman ZNA Computer Steering Committee.
From 2012 to 2015 he was appointed to the chairmanship of the ZNA Dress Advisory Committee, Army Projects and from 2015 to 2017 he was the chairman of Promotions and Appointments of Colonels Board B, vice chairman Zimbabwe Defence Forces Benefit Fund (ZDFBF), and during the same time was a member of the ZNA Promotions and Appointments for Brigadier Generals Board.
“Ambassador Nyikayaramba’s death has created a deep void which will be difficult to fill, notably, among his family foremost, our foreign services where he was a remarkable ambassador, in the military where he served with distinction and honour, and in civilian portfolios where he chaired several boards,” the President added.
Apart from serving in the military, Cde Nyikayaramba was also appointed to civilian posts that included in 1995-1996 being the chairman of the Troika Strategy Planning Group (South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe) on the Lesotho crisis.
In 2000 he was appointed chairman of the NOCZIM logistics Committee Fuel Task Force and from 2002 to 2003 he was a member of the SADC Election Commission Forum.
From 2002 to 2004 Cde Nyikayaramba was Chief Election Officer to the Electoral Supervisory Commission
From 2005 to 2009, he was the chairman of the board of directors of the National Railways of Zimbabwe.
He was also instrumental in the food security cluster as the chairman of the Logistics Sub-Committee to the National Food Security Programme from 2008-2009.
Cde Nyikayaramba was also, from 2010-2013 the chairman of Board of Directors for Global Platinum Resources and in 2011 he was a member of the Thematic Constitution Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) that authored the country’s Constitution.
“On behalf of the party, Zanu PF, Government, the people of Zimbabwe, my family and indeed on my behalf, I wish to convey my sincere condolences to the Nyikayaramba family, especially to his wife and children, who have lost a dear husband, father and mentor. May they take comfort from the knowledge that we are together with them during their darkest hour of grief,” the President said.
Cde Nyikayaramba was appointed to become the country’s top envoy to Mozambique in July 2019 and prior to that he was a Major-General responsible for Administration in the Zimbabwe National Army.
During his spell as Ambassador to Mozambique, Cde Nyikayaramba played a key role in ensuring the smooth movement of grain imports from Mozambican ports into the country.
And in line with President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement thrust, Cde Nyikayaramba was also pursuing transactional diplomacy to boost the country’s economy.
He continued to source investors for Zimbabwe and sought opportunities for companies to explore opportunities in Mozambique, in line with the Second Republic’s demand for economic diplomacy to turn-around the country’s economic fortunes so as to create jobs and improve the peoples’ standards of living.
Ambassador Nyikayaramba, who hailed from Mutoko and left the comfort of his home at the age of 14 to join the liberation struggle distinguished himself as a military commander par-excellence and a patriot during his service to the nation in a period spanning over five decades.