The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veteran Association has send a message of condolence to three national heroes, Zimbabwe National Army Commander, Lieutenant General Edzai Chimonyo, Cdes Michael “Vhuu” Chakabva and Abraham Nkiwane who died last week.
In a statement, ZNLWA chairperson, Cde Chris Mutsvangwa described the contribution by the trio as critical and valuable in ensuring the country attained its independence in 1980.
Lt Gen Chimonyo and Cde Chakabva will be buried at the national heroes’ acre while Cde Nkiwane will be buried at his farm in Umguza today.
“ZNLWA is heartbroken by the untimely death of Lt General Edzai Chimonyo, the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army. He is an outstanding freedom fighter from the Samora Machel-Soweto Uprising 1976 generation of selfless youths. He is among the group that opened the 1000km Mozambique war front in 1975-6. He was deployed into Gaza Province which bordered apartheid South Africa, that unholy all of racist, settler and colonial Rhodesia. His valour and prowess saw him rise to provincial field commander of ZANLA Forces,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
He said Lt Gen Chimonyo played a great role in the diplomatic offensive of the Patriotic Front national liberation movement and was later to help in the integration of the erstwhile enemy’s armies and that of liberation movements to form a professional Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
“A versatile Cde Edzai Chimonyo went back to diplomatic life as the Ambassador of Zimbabwe to Tanzania. He would don his military fatigues once again as he rose to the rank of the Commander of the National Army. ZNLWA salutes a life wholly lived for patriotism, sacrifice, freedom, democracy, safeguarding independence, national progress and the unstinting defence of the motherland,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
He said his association was equally saddened by the passing on of Cdes Nkiwane and Chakabva.
“The ZNLWA is plunged into deep mourning over the death of comrades Nkiwane and Chakabva. Both of them are the early cadres of the fledgling guerrilla armies of ZIPRA and ZANLA.
“Their forward looking self sacrifice was as visionary as it was fearless. Their battlefield courage showed the enemy can be engaged and that the populace can win a just people’s war,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
“The victory in 1980 was vindication of their patriotic foresight. Post independence, they played their part in nation building. ZNLWA is proud of their great contributions.”