Africa Moyo-Deputy News Editor
The Second Republic will forever accord the highest respect and honour to liberation war heroes and heroines for their contribution to the independence of the country, President Mnangagwa has said.
He said this on Saturday at the National Heroes Acre during the burial of national hero, Cde Wereki Sandiyani, whose Chimurenga name was Cde Phillip Gabela.
Cde Sandiyani died on September 25 at Mt Darwin Hospital.
“My Government, under the Second Republic shall never forget them, but will always grant them the respect, honour and recognition they truly deserve and are worthy of,” said the President.
“Their deaths, injuries, wounds and torture marks remind us that our independence and democracy is hard-won and precious. Let us never take it for granted; let us defend and guard it jealously.
“As a nation that has self-belief and a rich heritage of bravery and fortitude; through hard work and determination, we will prosper and realise sustainable development and prosperity for the people of our great country.”
President Mnangagwa said Cde Gabela, alongside other fearless and gallant sons and daughters of the soil, overcame their challenges and handed over an independent and sovereign nation to the present and future generations.
He said riding on the revered efforts of the liberation fighters, it was important for citizens to remain “unwavering, unflinching and focused” during this time when the country is being built “stone upon stone, brick upon brick towards a Zimbabwe that we all want”.
President Mnangagwa added that in honour of the veterans of the liberation struggle, and leveraging available vast resource endowments, citizens must never succumb to the challenges they face.
“We must continue to define and shape the political and socio-economic development of our great country as a truly free and independent people, always acting in the national interests of the majority of our people.
“The prevailing national peace, unity and harmony must never be sacrificed on the altar of narrow, blinkered and treacherous behaviour against our mother country,” said the President.
Cde Gabela was not only a pioneer of the second phase of the liberation struggle, but also a remnant of that rare crop of fighters who opened up new fronts of the struggle.
The President said given that only a few of his peers still survive to this day, it was critical to document their experiences for posterity to inform and motivate future generations.
In 1974, together with seven other comrades, Cde Gabela was despatched to the Madziva area and came under heavy attack from Rhodesian forces at Kanengoni Village, resulting in injuries to some guerilla fighters.
Cde Gabela survived the Kanengoni attack and was later withdrawn from Madziva and redeployed to Ruwane, where he, and other fighters were attacked again and he sustained an injury to his right leg.