Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday urged the nation to unite in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic to suppress the spike in deaths related to the disease.
He made the plea yesterday while presiding over the burials of the late Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba and the late Zanu PF Central Committee member Cde Moton Dizzy Paul Malianga at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
Dr Gwaradzimba succumbed to Covid-19 complications in Harare last week with the pandemic killing more than 879 people since March last year.
Other high-ranking Government officials who have so far died of Covid-related complications include Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo and Lands and Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri.
The pandemic has killed more than two million people across the globe, infecting over 96 million people.
President Mnangagwa said the war of liberation was won on the basis of collective effort, adding that the ongoing pandemic would be defeated if all Zimbabweans played their part.
“As we mourn and lay to rest our departed national hero and heroine, let us be reminded that our freedom and independence was achieved by many in their own various ways.
“No one family, clan or tribe can ever be exclusively credited. We achieved our aspiration for independence and peace as a united people.
“Equally, with the current deadly war against this evil Covid-19 pandemic facing our nation, we will win as a united people,” said President Mnangagwa.
He warned of a new and deadlier variant in communities and urged behaviour change and adherence to the prescribed containment measures.
“The present Covid-19 variant is stronger and spreads much faster, hence we must be more vigilant, disciplined and shift our attitude and behaviour.”
President Mnangagwa implored the nation not to lose heart and advised the public to follow the prescribed control measures.
“Alive to the ongoing reality, let us however not lose heart. Let us fight on and resolve to overcome.
“In our organisations, communities and families, social groups and communication platforms, we must keep hope alive.
“It is also of paramount importance that we all follow the health and security protocols and procedures to contain the spread of the pandemic,” said the President.
He urged everyone to continue sanitising, wear face masks properly as well as maintain social distance rules.
President Mnangagwa said it was not time to be tired and drop guard in hopelessness and called on all people except essential staff, to stay at home.
“Those who are not on essential duties should stay at home. Learning from our departed heroes who brought our nation thus far, let us serve, fight on and save lives to flatten the curve. United with one common purpose, we will overcome and defeat Covid-19.”
Speaking of Dr Gwaradzimba who played a critical role in the education sector, President Mnangagwa challenged academics to play a part in the development of the country.
Zimbabwe is working towards attaining an upper middle income society by 2030 on the back of rapid economic growth underpinned by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
“Her history as an academic and continued service to the nation in the political arena must challenge more academics to avail themselves for strategic national deployment across all sectors of the economy.
“Our National Vision 2030 and the present National Development Strategy 1 requires all hands on the wheel, across all sectors of the economy and fields of specialisation. Iwe neni tine basa,” said President Mnangagwa.
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.
She was a member of the academic staff at the University of Zimbabwe, Mutare Polytechnic and Africa University where she was the Dean of Students before being appointed Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, a position she held until her death.
Cde Malianga was founding president of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and after the party was banned in December 1961, he became Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) secretary for Public Affairs.
He was appointed Zimbabwe African National Union’s first secretary for Youth and Culture at the party’s first congress in May 1964.
In 1965, he was arrested by the settler regime for his liberation efforts and spent 10 years in prison but during his incarceration 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 mobilising for the liberation war.
He attended the Victoria Falls talks, the Geneva Conference and the Lancaster House Conference.
After independence he 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 he was re-elected as MP for the constituency and appointed Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce.