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National hero Nleya's burial set for Wednesday

by Staff reporter
22 Jun 2020 at 07:54hrs | Views
NATIONAL hero Stanley Nleya will be buried at the National Heroes' Acre on Wednesday and not on Tuesday as earlier reported.

Nleya (72), described as a true soldier, died on Tuesday at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) from a heart disease.

The late national hero was one of Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (Zipra) commanders during the liberation struggle. His pseudonym was Elish Gagisa.

He was declared a national hero on Friday in recognition of his leadership qualities and contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe.

President Mnangagwa mourned Nleya saying through his leadership the country benefitted as he nurtured high ranking military persons such as Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Phillip Valerio Sibanda.

Nleya's brother and family spokesperson Mr Tshaka Nleya said the national hero will be buried on Wednesday. He said villagers from their rural home in Masendu in Bulilima district, Matabeleland South, will today be given an opportunity to pay their last respects to the national hero.

"The body will be airlifted from One Brigade tomorrow (today) at 2PM to Masendu Village where it will lie in state.

"We will conduct our rituals in line with the Kalanga culture on the same day. After that we will have a night vigil followed by a funeral service early in the morning on Tuesday. At 9AM the body will be airlifted back to Bulawayo where a send-off service will be held at White City Stadium from 10AM to 12PM," said Mr Nleya.

He said Nleya's body will then be flown to Harare at 1PM in preparation for burial on Wednesday. Mr Nleya commended the State for working closely with the family in giving Nleya a befitting send-off.

"We really appreciate the support we have been given by Government so far. They have been with us since he was declared a national hero. They even brought an official from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage who is assisting us with burial arrangements. They have made the planning very easy. I believe that my brother is getting a send-off that befits him considering his contributions to the country," said Mr Nleya. Bulawayo's Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube said Government will render all the necessary support to the family.

"Government position is that we provide all the support to the deceased's family in preparation for the burial. They come up with the timetable for burial arrangements until the State takes over.

"The family has told us that they want the body to lie in state at their rural home in Masendu tomorrow before it is brought back in Bulawayo on Tuesday morning and we have no problem with that," said Ncube.

Nleya was born on 26 September in 1947 in Masendu area in Bulilima District. He did his primary education in the same district before proceeding to Hope Fountain Mission for his secondary education.

Nleya also attended Inyathi Mission in Bubi District before abandoning school in March 1968 to join the armed struggle in Zambia via Botswana. He received military training at Morogoro in Tanzania in 1969 and his group of 100 recruits was the third to be trained there.

Some of the people in his group included national heroes like the late Retired Colonel Masala Sibanda and Major-General Jevan Maseko as well as Retired Brigadier-General Abel Mazinyane, Rtd Brigadier-General Tjile Nleya and the late Eddie Sigoge Mlotshwa.

After completing training Nleya together with Maj-Gen Maseko, Rtd Brig-Gen Tjile Nleya, Sigoge and Elias Ndlovu were named the most five outstanding recruits and therefore were elevated to be instructors.

During the formation of the Zimbabwe People's Army (Zipa), an amalgamation of Zipra and Zanla, Nleya was chosen as the Chief of Staff at Mgagao in Tanzania where he worked closely with the present Minister of Agriculture and former commander of the Airforce, Retired Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri.

As an instructor some of the people who went through his hands are decorated freedom fighters such as the Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, General Philip Valerio Sibanda, Todd Mpisi, Rodwell Nyika (Retired Brigadier-General Collins Moyo), former St Paul's Assembly Point commander and frontal commander for NF1 and 2, Nicholas Nkomo (Gilbert Khumalo).

In 1974 Nleya was sent to Lebanon and led a group of five that had himself, Gen Sibanda, late Assaf Ndinda, Elias Ndou and Joel Dambudzo for a commando training course after which they were deployed alongside Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) guerillas.

As the armed struggle intensified, Nleya was promoted to the rank of deputy chief of operations, deputising Maj-Gen Maseko together with Richard Mataure (Ngwenya) and the late Mike Reynolds and he started getting into operational areas especially in Mashonaland West Province. He covered areas such as Hurungwe and Karoi. At the attainment of the ceasefire he was appointed second in command to Sigoge at Papa Assembly Point in Mashonaland West.

At independence he led the demobilisation process before being integrated into the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) where he served as one of the senior commanders. When he left the ZNA, Nleya worked for Hwange Colliery Company as a buyer.

At the time of his death he was working for a liquor franchise run by his nephew and Highlanders Football Club treasurer, Donald Ndebele. He is survived by wife who is based in the United Kingdom and four children. Mourners are gathered at Number 30 Old Luveve.

Source - chronicle