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‘Deal decisively with armed robberies, ritual murders’

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‘Deal decisively with armed robberies, ritual murders’


PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday sounded the death knell on armed robbers and ritual murderers, calling on law enforcement agents to decisively deal with the violent criminals.

Speaking at the burial of the late National Hero, Major-General (Retired) Godfrey Chanakira, who led a life of honesty, hard-work and discipline, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans should take a leaf from such exemplary leaders.

Maj-Gen Chanakira, whose Chimurenga nom de guerre was Cde Garikayi Musavengana, died on May 26 at West End Hospital in Harare from a heart ailment.

“I am, however, concerned about the rising cases of armed robberies and ritual murders occurring in our country. I, thus, exhort stakeholders in the criminal justice system to speedily deal with these emerging negative trends. Equally worrisome are road traffic accidents on our major highways. I call upon drivers to always exercise extreme caution,” said President Mnangagwa.

The country has of late experienced violent crimes where innocent lives have been lost in ritual murders that often target women and children. Armed robberies are also on the rise, with suspects using guns and other weapons to seize huge amounts of cash from businesses and individuals.

Outlining the elaborate life of Maj-Gen Chanakira from his early age, political life, his service in the army and as a civil servant, up until his demise, President Mnangagwa described the national hero as a loyal and honest person.

“The late national hero Major-General Chanakira will be fondly remembered for his humility, discipline, hard-honest work and commitment to duty. These cardinal virtues must be emulated by both those in the Public Service and our country’s security establishments,” said President Mnangagwa.

“As we lay to rest the late national hero, Major-General Godfrey Chanakira, at this sacred shrine, let us re-commit ourselves as a nation to the defence and preservation of our revolution, independence, freedom and democracy. The flames of unity, peace, non-violence, love and respect must continue to be at the centre of our interactions at every level and across communities.”

He implored Zimbabweans to continue focussing on achieving national objectives aimed at improving the country’s economic prospects.

“Fellow mourners, comrades and friends; let us continue to shoulder the responsibility to develop, modernise and industrialise our country. The development philosophy ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’ is instructive and must embolden us never to tire in building our roads, dams, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure as well as in producing what we eat and manufacturing our own clothes and what we use,” said President Mnangagwa.

He noted that during the course of the week, the country also lost four distinguished comrades namely, Cde Francis Komboni Gondo, Cde Charles Savanhu, Cde Christopher Kuruneri and Cde Leonard Chikomba.

“These comrades have been granted provincial hero status. In addition, we have also lost Chief Denis Ndlovu Nhlamba of Gwanda who passed on at the United Bulawayo Hospitals on May 28 2022. Earlier, we had lost Chief Vusumuzi Khumalo Mabhikwa of Lupane, on May 23 2022. May the souls of these departed comrades rest in peace.”

President Mnangagwa said the nation acknowledges the supreme sacrifices of liberation fighters and the Second Republic will continue looking after the welfare of the veterans of the liberation struggle.

He described the passing on of Maj-Gen Chanakira as sudden, adding that the country was still to come to terms with the fact that he was no longer there.

“On behalf of the revolutionary party, Zanu PF, the Government and indeed on my own behalf, I express my sincere condolences to the Chanakira family, to his wife and children, for the loss of a beloved husband and father. May you draw comfort from the knowledge that the whole nation shares and endures in the sad loss and grief for the late national hero, Major-General Chanakira, who was no longer yours alone, but ours together,” he said.

Maj-Gen Chanakira was born on May 24, 1957 at Mutepfa homestead, under Chief Marange in Manicaland Province. This was a period the settler regime sought to consolidate its cruel unjust colonial rule.

“The oppressive system enforced by the settler regime made it very difficult for many of our people to afford access to quality education. The life experience of the late national hero Maj-Gen Chanakira was no exception. As a young learner, he was a very bright student who excelled in both his primary and secondary education. He completed Form 4 at St Augustine’s Mission, Manicaland in 1973 and later transferred to Mzilikazi High School in Bulawayo for Advanced Level, but later returned to St Augustine’s Penhalonga,” said President Mnangagwa.

In 1975, the assassination of late national hero and then Chairman of the Zimbabwe African National Union, Cde Herbert Chitepo, by the Rhodesian white settler regime, proved to be a turning point for the young Godfrey and his colleagues at St Augustine’s Mission.

The late Maj-Gen Chanakira and six other Advanced Level students absconded from St Augustine’s to join the liberation struggle.

The journey was not easy as it was fraught with many dangers and uncertainties because one had to dodge mine fields along the border and would go through a rigorous vetting exercise in Mozambique by both Frelimo and ZANLA forces, to determine suitability for the war effort.

Maj-Gen Chanakira and others of his generation remained determined to fight for the country’s independence despite ever looming Rhodesian attacks.

In Mozambique, Maj-Gen Chanakira was amongst 700 recruits that were selected to proceed to Tanzania in 1975, destined for Mgagao Training Camp.

While at Mgagao, the group went through Maoist doctrine grounded guerrilla warfare training under the mentorship of military trainers such as General (Rtd) Dr Constantino Chiwenga, the current Vice President and the late Air Marshal Perrance Shiri, among others.

On completion of training, Maj-Gen Chanakira and his group were deployed as reinforcements to the war front.

He was appointed Section Medic and deployed to Zanla’s Gaza Operational Province.

His group was subjected to an air raid by the Rhodesian Forces at Chicualacuala Two Frontier Base but remained resolute.

At one point he selflessly treated and cared for 11 comrades that had been poisoned after receiving clothes laced with a deadly and harmful chemical agent.

Maj-Gen Chanakira was appointed Section Commander and fought a number of battles in the Mushawasha area.

In December 1978, the late national hero served as Detachment Security and Intelligence Officer for Zaka ‘A’ Detachment and in 1979 became Detachment Second in Command, where he operated with Lieutenant General David Sigauke, the current Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army.

At independence, he joined the Zimbabwe National Army, rising through the ranks to Major-General in 2017.

During his career in the military, he held several positions including that of Director Finance at Army Headquarters and later at the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Headquarters where he helped set up an efficient army payment system.

As a Finance and Logistics Specialist, Major-Gen Chanakira headed Zimbabwe’s delegations to the United Nations’ Working Group on Reform of the Methodology for Reimbursement of Contingent Owned Equipment in Peacekeeping Operations, from 1995 to 2011.

He was later to assume the Vice Chairmanship of Phase 4 of the programme, in 2000.

In recognition of his gallant and exemplary service, the late Maj-Gen Chanakira was awarded the Liberation Medal; Independence Medal, Long and Exemplary Service Medal; Mozambican Campaign Medal; Democratic Republic of Congo Campaign Medal and, the Grand Officer of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit.

He was also an astute academic who lectured at the University of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe National Defence University.

In 2015, he was seconded to the Civil Service in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development before he was transferred to the Office of the President and Cabinet the following year to oversee Policy Co-ordination and Promotion of Socio-Economic Ventures.

In 2018, he was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Vice President Chiwenga, a position he held until his death. Herald

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