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Calls for unity as Dabengwa is buried

by Staff reporter
02 Jun 2019 at 07:20hrs | Views
A SEA of people from all walks of life thronged Manxeleni Village in Ntabazinduna, Umguza District, about 37km from  Bulawayo to bid farewell to national hero Dr Dumiso Dabengwa who was laid to rest yesterday at the family cemetery.

The burial was attended by politicians from the national and regional divide who testified that Dr Dabengwa was indeed a dauntless icon of the liberation struggle whose life and contributions to Zimbabwe's nationhood belonged to important archives of the country's history.

Speaking on behalf of President Mnangagwa at the burial, Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs, Richard Moyo, urged the spirit of oneness and unity among the people of Zimbabwe saying that was the wish of liberation icons such as Dr Dabengwa.

"Dr Dabengwa fought in the liberation struggle and later worked in various capacities in Government after independence. May I also take this opportunity to remind the people of Zimbabwe that we should unite and promote peace in our country as by so doing we will be upholding the values of the liberation struggle that was fought by Dr Dabengwa.

"I would also want to thank the Dabengwa family who nurtured Dr Dumiso (Dabengwa) into being a son of the soil, a liberation icon, a man who sacrificed his life to the struggle that unyoked the country from the shackles of colonial despotism," he said.

He added that the family should take consolation from the immense and selfless contribution given the country by Dr Dabengwa whose life and works would forever be cherished by all as the country enjoys the fruits of independence that he gallantly fought for.

The ANC delegation that was standing in for South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa and led by Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo described Dr Dabengwa as a true child of Africa, a son of the soil and commander.

"We are here to bury a son of the soil, the commander of Southern Africa revolutionary struggle, a child of Africa, the defender of the rights of those that are down trodden, the defender of the revolution of the people of South Africa and a child of the world," said President Ramaphosa in a speech read on his behalf by Minister Dlodlo.

President Ramaphosa said Dr Dabengwa was a hero not only of the Zimbabwean people and the liberation struggle but was a hero of South Africa too.

"He is a hero of the world, his name will relive through the skies of Africa it will run and flow through the rivers of our respective countries – Limpopo River, it will shine like the sun that always rises in the east and set in the west," said President Ramaphosa.

The South African President described Dr Dabengwa as, "a hero that none of us should have the luxury to forget".

He paid special tribute to the family for having involved the people of South Africa and Zimbabwe as they prepared to lay a hero to rest.

"Special emphasis goes to those that fought with him in the battles in Sipolilo and this is the battle that crafted the history and umbilical cord between the people of Zimbabwe and the people of South Africa and for that we pay special tribute.

"We are nations that speak the same language, our cultures are the same let us remember and solidify the relationship between the two countries and between the two peoples that were fought for by Dr Dabengwa. That is history that should never be undermined, a history that should never be edited; his name must remain in the history books of both countries," he said.

Lieutenant-General Gilbert Ramano a veteran of the South African liberation struggle also sung praises for Dr Dabengwa.

"I had the opportunity of serving under the command and leadership of Dabengwa, he was a commander who was special, and he was a political military commander. He understood the struggle of the people of Zimbabwe and South Africa. It was an opportunity for me to be under a man of this calibre.

"He knew the whole front line all the way to Beira. And as a foot soldier myself, I can say he was involved in all aspects. He was brave and fearless but very kind and humble," he said.

Shelly Brown who spoke on behalf of Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA) said they were honoured to be in Zimbabwe for the burial of their fellow soldier.

"Dabengwa shared the trenches with most of the veterans in the liberation struggle. It was therefore with a deep sense of loss and sadness that (MKMVA) received the devastating news of Dabengwa's death. We honour and recognise him as one of the greatest sons of Zimbabwe both in the position as the President of Zapu and as a former Zipra chief of intelligence," she said.

"It was in the latter capacity that blood ties of revolutionary solidarity were formed between Dabengwa and MKMVA.

"As committed as he was to the liberation of Zimbabwe he was similarly committed to secure the liberation of the people of South Africa.

"He was a true Pan-Africanist. Dabengwa was never an armchair revolutionary, he lived out his unwavering commitment on the battle front.

"He lead from the front and was prepared to face the enemy and faced danger and potential death with his fellow soldiers. Dabengwa never created parallel structures, even severe provocation never allowed political wounds inflicted on him as an individual to influence his understanding of the revolution and his commitment to unity," she said.

Zapu secretary-general,  Strike Mnkandla said the regional representation at the funeral was much appreciated and was testimony to the unity that was there between Dr Dabengwa and other countries.

"Dr Dabengwa breathed politics and he lived politics as a result he was involved in many initiatives.

"He encouraged us a lot and told us that the war was over and that people must work and develop the nation with peace and respect," he said.

"I want to thank President Mnangagwa for what he did, he openly said Dabengwa was a hero as seen by his works and no one can dispute that. This was a very important statement on his part because another person would have said Dabengwa was critical of our work and was not always forthcoming in some things but the President was resolute and made sure that there was nothing that stood in the way in recognising Dabengwa's work," he said.

The Zapu SG said Dr Dabengwa's death marked the end of an era across countries in Southern Africa and beyond and he stood as a bridge across political, racial, ethnic and other divides. Dr Dabengwa, who was Zapu president, died recently in Nairobi, Kenya en-route to Zimbabwe from India where he had gone to seek medical attention. He was aged 79.

He was declared a national hero but the family demanded that he be buried in the village as per his wish which the Government respected. His burial was attended by Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, Government Ministers Cdes Sithembiso Nyoni, Monica Mutsvangwa, Victor Matemadanda, Judith Ncube as well as senior Zanu-PF officials Simon Khaya Moyo, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube and Jabulani Sibanda.

Others were opposition politicians; Mr Nelson Chamisa,  Dr Joice Mujuru,  Mr Tendai Biti, Mr Welshman Ncube,  Mr Temba Mliswa, Dr Thokozani Khupe, Mr Lovemore Moyo, Mr James Maridadi and Mr Harry Wilson. A number of chiefs led by Chiefs' Council President, Chief Fortune Charumbira, also attended. Speaking at the graveside, Mr Chamisa lauded President Mnangagwa's decision to declare Dr Dabengwa a hero and called for the people of Zimbabwe to unite and not use death to score cheap political points.

The same sentiments were echoed by Chief Ndiweni who said the Government should allow for dialogue and truth in reconciling the country's communities.

Source - sundaynews
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