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Mnangagwa accords wife national honour

by Staff reporter
07 Aug 2021 at 07:14hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has awarded his wife, First Lady Auxillia a gold medal for her "outstanding performance in her philanthropic activities among 99 other outstanding institutions, civilians and gallant fighters of the liberation struggle.

Also on the list is Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi, chiefs Chinengundu Mashayamombe, Chingaira Makoni, Inkosikazi Lozikeyi Dlodlo, Mtshana Khumalo, Mgandane Dlodlo among other spirit mediums who were hon-oured with Order of the Great Zimbabwe Diamond, Generals Josiah Magama Tongogara and Nikita Alfred Mangena (Grand commander of the Zimbabwe order of merit), Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri, Lieu-tenant General Sibusiso Moyo, Major-General Paradzai Zimondi and Joel Biggie Matiza for the National Historical Legacy Award.

Auxillia was awarded the Order of the Star of Zimba-bwe gold medal recipient together with Zaoga founder Ezekiel Guti and Sports minister, Kirsty Coventry.

At least 33 individuals will receive a commen-dation award, among them a serving and ex-minister, politicians, journalists and corporate leaders deemed to have excelled in their field of work. Among them are journalists Tawanda Kanhema, Reuben Barwe, Judith Makwanya, Education minister Cain Mathema, ex-minister Fay Chung and authors Stephen Chifunyise, Charles Mungoshi and Phathisa Nyathi.

The medals will be handed over to the recipients during the 2021 Heroes' and Defence Forces holiday commemorations at the Na-tional Heroes Acre next week. This is the first time Zimbabwe has awarded Heroes' Day medals to civilians who might have excelled in their respective activities.

Five liberation war heroes got the Grand Officer of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit. These include Zapu stalwart Jane Ngwenya, who died on Thursday this week aged 86, Moffat Hadebe, Abraham Nkiwane (who died recently and was declared a national hero), John Maluzo Ndlovu and Gibson Mayisa. The late national liberation war hero Josiah Chinamano was granted the medal of the order of the Great Zimbabwe silver.

Other notable names award-medals were former universities vice-chancellors Phineas Makhurane, Ngwabi Mulunge Bheb-he, Primrose Kurasha, Walter Kamba, Women's University in Africa Hope Sadza, Christopher Chetsanga, Joanna Girlie Moyo-Sibanda among other academics, who got the Order of the Star of Zimbabwe Silver medals.

Maurina Msisinyama was awarded Silver Cross of Zimbabwe medal. Defence secretary Mark Grey Marongwe, former Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede and Margaret Muchada got long service awards.

Manicaland provincial development coordinator Edgar Seenza got a humanitarian award. Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa on Tuesday said the Heroes' Day commemorations will be a hybrid event with a gathering of 200 people representing the national outlook, such as war veterans, spouses of heroes and heroines and the youth.

There were, however, mixed reactions over the awards, with some questioning the nature of contributions deserving recognition.

Political analyst Eldred Masunungure said there was need for transparency in coming up with the hierarchy of honour to dispel possible public criticism of the First Lady's award, given the close relationship between the President and his wife.

"President Emmerson Mnangagwa cannot escape the allegation of favouritism and nepotism in this scenario where his wife has been awarded with a top medal," Masunungure said.

"Whether the conferment is warranted or not, the mere fact that there is a close relationship between the President and his wife will cause people to raise eyebrows. We have a situation where on one hand; we have an academic like Professor Makhurane who spent almost his entire life contributing to the advancement of education in the country getting a silver medal."

Masunungure added: "On the other hand, we have a First Lady, who gained popularity in the past three years after her husband ascended to power, leapfrogging such deserving nominees and getting the top medal."

But Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana defended the First Lady's selection, stating that she had been nominated by various ministries.

"She was a very popular nominee," Mangwana posted on Twitter. "If I remember well, she was on the nomination list of at least eight ministries."

Auxillia is the health ambassador for the Health ministry and has championed nationwide health campaigns in the fight against cervical cancer. She also spearheaded the traditional cooking competitions which she said was aimed at popularising traditional foods to promote a healthy diet. Recently, she launched the national traditional dress so that Zimbabwe also has a national identity just like other countries.

Heroes' Day commemorations will also be held at all the provincial shrines where Provincial Affairs ministers will officiate and confer medals to nominees of the 2021 honours and awards.

Source - newsday