Zimbabwe: Venezuela Honours Muchinguri-Kashiri

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recently conferred Zimbabwe’s Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri with the Francisco de Miranda award, the country’s highest civilian honour.

The Order of Francisco de Miranda is conferred on Venezuelan citizens and foreigners with outstanding contribution to the sciences, to the progress of the country and to humanity.

Francisco de Miranda was a Venezuelan military leader and revolutionary who led a romantic and adventurous life in the political and intellectual climate that emerged from the Age of Enlightenment that influenced all of the Atlantic Revolutions.

He participated in three major historical and political movements of his time; the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution and the Spanish American wars of independence.

Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri becomes the first Zimbabwean to be given the award.

Among Africans to receive the honour on the same day as Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri are former Presidents Sam Nujoma of Namibia, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, the late former ANC president Oliver Tambo (posthumously), Namibian deputy prime minister Netumbo-Nandi Ndaitawah and the secretary-general of the organisation of Angolan Women, Mrs Luzia Ingles.

Bestowing the honour on the six virtually, President Maduro said Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa should always be united in taking development forward.

He thanked all historical figures who sacrificed their lives in searching for freedom from bondage.

“I am honoured to confer this award on these African fighters, some who lost their lives while fighting colonialism and apartheid. These are historical figures worth recognising,” he said.

“We shall continue to work with Africa. We share the same future that’s why we need to be united to vanquish all our struggles and fight neo-colonialism, neo-imperialism and sanctions aimed at eradicating our fundamental rights.”

Accepting the honour, Minister Muchinguri said: “It gives me great pleasure to be conferred with this prestigious order. This is indeed an honour to me as an individual as well as to Zimbabwe. I am truly humbled that the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has found me worthy to be bestowed with its country’s highest honour.

“I express my most sincere gratitude to President Maduro, his Government and the people of Venezuela for this recognition. It is with great humility and pride that I have been honoured for my contribution to humanity by a land that is thousands of kilometres away.

“I am a woman of a very humble background who took up arms at a very tender age and joined the liberation struggle to help liberate the country.”

She said the two nations were still battling the same imperial forces that were bending on imposing their will and reversing the gains of hard worn independence.

“We have been singled out for punitive sanctions by those imperial forces that we fought many years ago for being resolute in gaining control of our natural resources. We are being punished for our strong sense of conviction and firm belief in the ideals of revolutionary figures like Miranda and Zimbabwe spirit medium Mbuya Nehanda,” she said.

Diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Zimbabwe strengthened after the rise to power in 1999, of the late former president Hugo Chavez.

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