National Hero Malinga: President mourns special interest groups champion
Sikhumbuzo Moyo, [email protected]
THE late Special Advisor to the President and Zanu-PF Politburo member, Cde Joshua Teke Malinga, has been declared a national hero.
The distinguished special interest groups champion and former Bulawayo mayor died on Friday evening at his Richmond home in Bulawayo after battling prostate cancer.
He was 79.
President Mnangagwa, who is also the ruling party’s First Secretary announced the national hero status conferment to Cde Malinga in his condolence message last night.
“I learnt with a deep sense of grief and sadness of the passing on last Friday of Cde Joshua Teke Malinga, following a brave fight against a malignant form of prostate cancer,” said President Mnangagwa.
“In recognition of his distinguished role in the struggle for our Independence, in the development of our nation since its inception, and in championing the cause of special interest groups in public policy and national development, the ruling Zanu-PF Party has unanimously decided to accord Cde Malinga national hero status. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace.”
A nationalist stalwart and vocal proponent of disability rights, the President said the late Cde Malinga was a leading voice both in the ruling party, Zanu-PF and in Government on disability issues, including ensuring, in his capacity as a special advisor, that Government policy was alive and sensitive to interests of disabled persons across gender, age, class or colour.
“My decision to appoint him to advise me on this all-important yet often easily overlooked area was informed by his unequivocal and fervent interest in protecting and defending the rights of disabled persons,” said President Mnangagwa.
A victim of polio at the tender age of two, President Mnangagwa said the late national hero’s illustrious life and career bear testimony to the fact that circumstances of disability need not diminish one’s ability and life chances.
“For him, disability became a spur to an exceptional life and career, including courageously participating and sharing in the risks of nationalist politics, and in the struggle for our Independence,” he said.
An accounting graduate, the President recalled how Cde Malinga rose through the ranks of the country’s nationalist politics until he was elevated to the Central Committee and, later to the Politburo of the ruling party, Zanu-PF which he served with utmost loyalty, even as his health gradually failed.
“He never missed any party functions or meetings,” said the President.
“A two-time executive mayor of our second capital, Bulawayo, the late Cde Malinga, personified diligence and integrity in civil and municipal matters, virtues woefully scarce nowadays. His wise leadership and profound counsel will thus be sorely missed at different echelons of our party, our Government, and our nation,” he added.
“May I, on behalf of our nation, the ruling Zanu-PF party, the Government, my family and on my behalf, express my deepest, heartfelt condolences to the Malinga family on this saddest loss. May they derive solace from the knowledge that the nation in whose defence and interest Cde Malinga was put under illegal sanctions, today joins them in mourning his sad, untimely demise, and in him deserved honours and a befitting farewell.”