There was an outpouring of emotions yesterday as the nation mourned former President Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who died in Singapore yesterday. Senior Government and Zanu-PF officials, and ordinary Zimbabweans spoke glowingly about the role that Cde Robert Mugabe played in the nation.
Zanu-PF Manicaland chairperson Cde Mike Madiro, who is also the Home Affairs Deputy Minister said: “I am really saddened to hear of the passing on of our former President. I think you are aware that the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe was our icon.
“He led the revolution to liberate this country for a very long time and to the young people of Manicaland and Zimbabwe as a whole, it is a sad loss.”
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) Manicaland chairperson Gift Kagweda said Cde Mugabe was a true revolutionary.
“We came back together from the liberation struggle, even though he went his own way here and there, he was a true revolutionary. He was the founder of the Zimbabwean revolution.
“As a leader, he came with the freedom that we are enjoying today. He was the first (Executive) President and Prime Minister for Zimbabwe,” he said.
People interviewed in Bindura said the country had lost a liberator, who sacrificed his life to see an independent Zimbabwe.
In his home province, Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi said the province was poorer without the liberation icon.
“This is a great loss to the people of Mashonaland West Province, the people of Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole. He is our liberation icon and founding father whom we shall cherish and respect to eternity,” said Cde Ziyambi.
Minister of State for Mashonaland West Mary Mliswa-Chikoka said Zimbabwe had lost a legend who has left a legacy of education and empowerment of the black majority.
“Indeed, a dark cloud is upon us as a province and as a nation. The sad news of the passing on of our founding father Cde RG Mugabe pierced our hearts today (yesterday) as we woke up to a black Friday.
President of the Chiefs Council Chief Fortune Charumbira, who was attending the installation of Chief Kanzangarare in Hurungwe yesterday said the history of Zimbabwe will never be complete without the name of former President Mugabe.
“Representing all the chiefs in the country, I would like to say we are greatly saddened with the passing on of former President Mugabe as announced by President Mnangagwa this morning.”
Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs and Devolution, who is also a Zanu-PF Politburo member Monica Mavhunga, said as a province they were saddened by Cde Mugabe’s death.
“We join the rest of the world in mourning our former President. He did a lot for this country and we have lost a great leader.
“We will continue to cherish the good works which he did for the country and this province in particular,” said Minister Mavhunga.
Mashonaland Central provincial war veterans chairman Cde Sam Parirenyatwa said no one can wash off Cde Mugabe’s contributions to Zimbabwe.
“As a country, we should celebrate his death because it is rare to have such a charismatic leader. He represented the country very well, especially at international summits and events and was not afraid to speak out his mind,” he said.
A Bindura resident Mr Johannes Phiri said Cde Mugabe’s contributions to the causes of Zimbabweans are well-documented. Mrs Josephine Jera said Cde Mugabe championed the empowering of blacks and should be remembered for that.
Former Masvingo Governor and secretary for Production and Labour in the Zanu-PF Politburo Cde Josaya Hungwe paid tribute to Cde Mugabe, who he said was a towering figure in the country’s fight for autonomy.
Cde Hungwe suggested that Cde Mugabe deserved a place among other dear departed heroes whose remains were interred at the National Heroes Acre.
“Death is a fact of life, but he has left a legacy. He was one of the founding fathers of our nation and the longest-serving leader who led both Zanu and Zanu-PF.”
“Cde Mugabe was a true champion of black empowerment and he so much treasured the right for Africans to determine and chart their own course. He restored dignity to black people. He deserves his place at the National Heroes Acre,” said Cde Hungwe.
Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial spokesperson Cde Ronald Ndaba said there was no doubt that Cde Mugabe was a hero, not only for Zimbabwe, but for the entire African continent.
Masvingo war veterans provincial chair Cde Tendeukai Chinooneka also described Cde Mugabe as an icon of black empowerment for leading the epoch-making land reform programme that saw tens of thousands of previously marginalised Zimbabweans getting land.
Chairperson of Masvingo Chiefs Assembly Chief Chitanga (Felani Chauke) said Zimbabwe’s struggle for Independence was synonymous with Cde Mugabe’s name.
Reformed Church University Vice Chancellor Professor Obert Maravanyika mourned Cde Mugabe, hailing him for shepherding Zimbabwe’s development into an educational giant on the African continent.
Professor Maravanyika said Cde Mugabe was not only a politician and nationalist, but also an academic who had deep passion for education.
Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe national co-ordinator Bishop Lyphet Matenda of Zion Christian Church-Kumuka Kuvakafa said Cde Mugabe should be credited for giving dignity to indigenous churches. Commercial Sugarcane Farmers Association of Zimbabwe chair Cde Admore Hwarare said Cde Mugabe was a giant figure in the struggle for equitable distribution of land in Zimbabwe.
In Matebeleland South, Beitbridge residents said the nation had been robbed of an icon, statesman and liberation war hero who fought tirelessly to end white supremacy ruling in Zimbabwe.
“He made major personal contributions and sacrifice to the country’s struggle and to building of educational, health and other institutions in our country as a whole,” they said.