Friday, December 28, 2012

Zimbabwe Liberation War Commander Honored

Parties hail plans to honour Tongogara

Friday, 28 December 2012 00:00
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

POLITICAL parties have given the thumbs up to the proposal to rename Zimbabwe National Army’s KGVI Barracks after former Zanla Chief of Defence Cde Josiah Magama Tongogara. Zimbabwe

Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga made the proposal on Wednesday during the launch of the Josiah Magama Tongogara Legacy Foundation which coincided with the commemoration of the demise of the national hero.

During the commemoration, chairperson of Josiah Magama Tongogara Legacy Foundation Dr Simbi Mubako proposed that Boxing Day be renamed after the liberation struggle icon.

KGVI was conferred with that name in 1947 when King George made a royal visit to the then Salisbury, now Harare.

The proposal by Gen Chiwenga and Dr Mubako, a former diplomat and High Court judge, was received with thunderous applause.

In an interview yesterday, war veteran and former Zimbabwe ambassador to China, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa said renaming KGVI after Cde Tongogara was befitting.

“It makes patriotic sense that the premier army barrack in the country be named after the most illustrious son. It also makes sense to name Llewellyn Barracks in Bulawayo after Cde Nikita Mangena,” he said.

Cde Mutsvangwa said Cde Tongogara masterminded the most memorable battle at Mavonde in Mozambique in which the British imperial army suffered huge casualties.

He said the Rhodesian army, led by Peter Walls, had as a matter of habit waged wars during peace negotiations to create an impression that they were winning so that the British would not make concessions.

The Mavonde battle was fought during the Lancaster House Constitutional Conference and Cde Tongogara had trained an underground army to repel the Rhodesian army.

The Rhodesian army had engaged in that battle to humiliate Zanla forces and their leaders at the Lancaster House Conference.

“They had underestimated the military preparations of Cde Tongogara, so they attacked using both ground and air forces. It was a major military war and as a result, the British summoned Peter Walls to Lancaster with his tail between his legs and told him he would not win the war,” said Ambassador Mutsvangwa.

It was interesting, said Ambassador Mutsvangwa, that the Mavonde battle was the only war that the Rhodesians did not issue war communiqué announcing how many enemy soldiers had been killed or weapons recovered because they lost it.

“No other African general has achieved that except Gen Tongo. The battle put paid the aura of invincibility of the British imperial army,” he said.

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora concurred with the honour.

“Our position as MDC is that Tongogara is a true national hero and a person who must be respected in this country. We have absolutely no objection to naming buildings or institutions after him,” he said.

Zanu (Ndonga) acting president Mr Gondai Vutuza said his party was not against the proposal.

“We support the idea. It is quite befitting. Our concern is that we need to honour other people as well like Cde Ndabaningi Sithole,” he said.

The MDC could not be reached for comment.

‘We won’t let heroes down’

Thursday, 27 December 2012 00:00

Mrs Angeline Tongogara, the widow of national hero General Josiah Magama Tongogara and her grandson Magama, lit candles at the commemoration of Cde Tongogara’s death at Army Headquarters (KGVI Barracks) in Harare yesterday

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

LAND reform and indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes have fulfilled the wishes of fallen national heroes like Cde Josiah Magama Tongogara, President Mugabe has said.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said Cde Tongogara fought for an indigenous and egalitarian Zimbabwe full of empowered masses.

The President said this in a speech read on his behalf by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa during the official launch of the Josiah Magama Tongogara Legacy Foundation at KGVI in Harare yesterday.

The launch coincided with the commemoration of the former Zanla Chief of Defence and member of Dare reChimurenga who died on December 26, 1979 in a horrific car accident in Mozambique.

“Above all, with the land that has since come back into the hands of its true, rightful owners, and this after so long a painful wait, I am sure Josiah today celebrates with us the resolution of this age old grievance, celebrates with us the settlement finally of this grievance of all grievances for our people.

But again, he wants us to fend for those who have got the land so they prosper sustainably,” he said.

The President said he was sure the late national hero was keenly seeing and following what the Government sought to do through its policy of indigenisation and economic empowerment.

“He urges us on, all the time exhorting us to use that policy to effectively restore to the masses their material dignity, indeed their place and voice in the national economy.

“We hear his voice daily saying Zimbabwe’s resources belong to its people. We dare not let him down, we dare not trash his dreams of all those who fell in the war of liberation.”

Zimbabwe, he said, owed a lot to families of departed comrades and those who are still surviving.

“Truthfully, Government programmes meant to fend for widows and children of our departed heroes, meant to give our surviving veterans substantial wherewithal, have not gone far enough, have not met some of their basic needs.

“This nation owes a lot to those who sacrificed for its coming into being. I thank the Ministry of Defence for its forward looking gesture, hoping we can build on programmes such as this one, in memory of all our heroes.”

The President lauded Cde Tongogara’s widow, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Angeline Tongogara for launching the Foundation in memory of her husband.

“The Foundation must make Tongo a living legacy, a living tissue of those values and ideals that liberated us, indeed values and ideals that must continue to inspire our nation. He deserves the honour.”

Chairperson of the foundation, Dr Simbi Mubako, said the reason for the existence of the institution was to perpetuate the memory and honour of Cde Tongogara’s great life and pass on the legacy of dedication and patriotism to younger generations.

He said over the years, the day used to be a low-key commemoration atten-ded by family and church members who would conduct a church service, but the foundation has teamed up and pooled resources to have a bigger event.

“The objective is to promote the national character of the event and it is our hope and plan to expand such a programme in years to come,” he said.

Yesterday’s event began with the laying of wreaths at the National Heroes’ Acre where Cde Tongogara was interred.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga read Minister Mnangagwa’s speech, while Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri read Gen Chiwenga’s speech.

It was then followed with the main event at KGVI where several Government officials, friends and relatives attended.

Mai Tongogara lit 33 candles signifying the number of years that have passed since her husband’s death.

The event was attended by Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu, Secretary in the Ministry, Mr George Charamba, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, senior Government officials and diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe.

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