PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday described the late founding nationalist and Zanu PF Central Committee member Cde Moton Dizzy Paul Malianga and Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba who both died last week, as dedicated cadres who distinguished themselves during and after the liberation struggle.
The two were conferred with national hero and national heroine status by President Mnangagwa on Saturday for their contributions to the liberation struggle.
They are likely to be buried at the National Heroes Acre on the same day.
Dr Gwaradzimba, who was 60, succumbed to Covid-19 while Cde Malianga (91) had been ill for some time.
President Mnangagwa described Cde Malianga as a rare-breed of a Pan Africanist and a nationalist who dedicated his entire life for the betterment of the people.
Speaking to journalists at State House yesterday, the President said the two were a rare breed of liberation fighters.
On Cde Malianga President Mnangagwa said: “He was consistent and remained supportive of the revolution until we liberated our country. He continued supporting the party to the last day of his breath. He has been with us and he has been a member of the National Consultative Assembly of Zanu PF.
“He is the last outstanding nationalist of the early 60s we had in the country. It has been befitting that we grant him a national hero status. Most importantly, people like us who have worked with him know his background. There is no way of thinking of something else but to grant him the highest honour.”
President Mnangagwa said the late Cde Malianga had his education in South Africa but when he came back in the early 1960s he joined the African National Congress, Southern Rhodesia and he was in the executive.
When it was banned, he joined the National Democratic Party (NDP) and again he was in the executive.
President Mnangagwa said NDP was banned and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) was formed and he had a position in the national executive of the party.
“Thereafter, there was that split when a few in the executive of Zapu formed Zanu. He moved with the team that formed Zanu. We had his brother Washington Malianga who became the first publicity secretary of Zanu. I remember him as early as 1963 when I first had contact with Cde Dizzy.
“We called him Cde Dizzy when we were young because there were three persons in the nationalist movement whom we enjoyed when they spoke English. The top one was the late former President Robert Mugabe. We enjoyed his English very much. And then there was TG, Togarira Government, George Silundika and the third was Dizzy, Morton Malianga. We enjoyed them when they spoke.”
Cde Malianga was founding president of the NDP and after the NDP was banned in December 1961, he became Zapu secretary for Public Affairs.
He was appointed Zanu’s first secretary for Youth and Culture at the party’s first congress of May 1964.
In 1965, he was arrested by the settler regime for his liberation efforts and spent 10 years in prison.
During his time at Salisbury Maximum Security Prison, Cde Malianga obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in economics, business economics and accounting.
After his release from prison in December 1974, he worked with other members of the Zanu Central Committee in mobilisation for the liberation war.
He attended the Victoria Falls talks, the Geneva Conference and the Lancaster House Conference.
In the First Parliament of Zimbabwe, Cde Malianga was appointed Senator and became Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Development in 1981 and two years later, he became Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.
In the second Parliament, he was elected Member of Parliament for Mutare West and appointed Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce in 1988 and in March 1990 was re-elected as MP for the constituency and appointed Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Cde Malianga had a special interest in media and when he was in exile in Cairo, Egypt, around 1963, he edited a journal called the Zimbabwe News which was distributed to diplomats.
He also once sat on the Zimpapers Board in the early 1980s.
Cde Malianga is survived by his wife Cde Effie Malianga, two sons and two grandchildren.
Turning to Dr Gwaradzimba, President Mnangagwa said she went to join the war in Mozambique when she was a schoolgirl with many other young girls.
“She went through military training. She was very very strong and very bright throughout the war. She also got deployed to the front.
“After independence she remained within the party, worked with the party. Most importantly she was such a determined woman. She got married to one of our officers, the late Trevor Mbudzana (Chimurenga name). He was Godfrey Mtausi Gwaradzimba.
The President said when her husband passed on, she remained in the party and worked for the party.
She was a member of Central Committee.
“She then educated herself and did her Ordinary Level and Advanced Level studies, her first degree, her master’s degree and her PhD.
“When this New Dispensation came in, we recognised her efforts and promoted her to be the Provincial Minister for Manicaland. This is why because of this consistency and revolutionary spirit that she had to be promoted to work towards the betterment of her country so we granted her the national heroine status,” he said.
Dr Gwaradzimba, whose Chimurenga name was Cde Shee Tapera, joined the liberation struggle in 1976.
She underwent military training in Tanzania at Nachigwea Military Academy in 1977 and was deployed and operated in the Gaza Province that covered the south-eastern zone between 1977 and 1978 where she rose to detachment command level in the provincial command structure.
After independence, Dr Gwaradzimba rose through the party ranks to be a member of the Zanu PF Central Committee and Manicaland provincial chairperson in the Women’s League.
In 2018, she was elected a Senator for Manicaland with the party asking her to concentrate on areas around the constituencies of Mutare Central and North, Mutasa South and Dangamvura-Chikanga.
Dr Gwaradzimba was appointed Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister in 2018, a post she held until her untimely death.
She is survived by three sons.
President Mnangagwa urged the public to remain disciplined during the Level Four lockdown period.
“We are extremely concerned about the current upsurge of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we have instituted measures up to Level Four. Initially, we were very worried that people were not observing these measures. Now I am briefed by the Acting President that he is seeing a positive response now by our people.”
President Mnangagwa added: “As long as our people become disciplined, we will defeat this pandemic.
“It only requires us to be disciplined and to keep ourselves at home if we are not engaging in essential services, and only go out for critically important missions, like going to buy food, medicines or some other important engagements, but the only way to fight this pandemic is to observe the measures as well as to comply with World Health Organisation protocols.”
During the first phase of the pandemic, Zimbabwe was one of the countries with the lowest level of infections.
“As we did during the first phase, Zimbabwe was one of the countries with lowest level of infections in the region.
“I appeal to our people to show that discipline and observe these protocols to ourselves, our relatives and our friends,” he said.