‘Zimbabwe brooks no interference’ President Mnangagwa hands over the national flag to Cde Ronia Malinga, widow of the late national hero Cde Joshua Malinga at the National Heroes Acre in Harare yesterday — Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda

Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau

ZIMBABWE will not allow meddling in its internal affairs by erstwhile colonisers — who come dressed in sheep’s skin as champions of democracy but seek to foment chaos and disunity as cover to loot the country’s resources, President Mnangagwa has said.

The President said it was strange that the same forces trying to lecture Zimbabweans about democracy, orchestrated the brutal killing of freedom fighters who were demanding democracy and majority rule during the liberation struggle.

The Head of State and Government said this yesterday while addressing mourners at the National Heroes Acre in Harare during the burial of Zanu-PF Politburo Member and Special Adviser to the President and Cabinet on Disability Issues, Cde Joshua Malinga, who died last Friday and was declared a National Hero.

“The struggle to liberate Zimbabwe was not a walk in the park as the racist Rhodesian regime brutalised the black majority to preserve their dominance. Democracy did not come cheaply as many of our comrades lost life and limb in the gruelling struggle for our Independence,” said President Mnangagwa.

“It was the liberation movements, PF Zapu and Zanu, that brought democracy, independence and freedom. Today, the same forces that orchestrated and supported the incarceration, maiming and killing of our cadres for demanding independence and majority rule, come to us masquerading as champions of democracy. We will never forget.

“Day and night they continue in their devious attempts to create chaos in our country so that they can loot our resources. As a sovereign nation, we will not allow interference in our internal affairs.”

Western countries, he said, have a record of meddling in the country’s internal affairs through supporting puppet opposition political parties and the same countries that prop up their lackeys have imposed illegal economic sanctions to cause the people to turn against the Zanu-PF-led Government.

“The settler regime, in line with Ian Douglas Smith’s ‘never in a thousand years’ declaration, kept banning nationalist movements to thwart all efforts towards majority rule. The Rhodesian machinations failed to dampen the determination of the nationalists who formed successor movements to fight for the independence, democracy and freedom we are enjoying to this day,” President Mnangagwa said.

He warned newly-elected councillors against corruption saying they should emulate Cde Malinga who led by example during his time as Executive Mayor of Bulawayo.

“Newly-elected councillors and management in councils are exhorted to emulate the leadership and sacrifices that were made by luminaries such as our National Hero, who realised notable milestones as an Executive Mayor of Bulawayo. Newly-elected Councillors must leave no stone unturned in addressing the many challenges within our local authorities,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Our citizens deserve quality service delivery and public officials must deliver. Corruption, dereliction of duty and disregard for the concerns of our people have no room in our governance system. Nyika inovakwa, inotongwa, inonamatigwa nevene vayo, ilizwe lakhiwa, libuswe, likhulekelwe ngabanikazi balo.”

He said the Second Republic was on an irreversible course towards modernisation, industrialisation and economic growth building on the remarkable achievements that have been witnessed across sectors.

“During this 2023/2024 summer cropping season, I challenge the nation and stakeholders in the agriculture sector to consolidate our country’s food security and sovereignty. We must continue to be a nation which is able to feed itself. The Presidential Input Support Programmes are being availed to our people. No one and no place must be left behind in the allocation and distribution of agricultural inputs as we scale up production and productivity across all agriculture sub-sectors,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Further, I urge all our farmers to take advantage of extension services, particularly given the projected rainfall fluctuations that the region may experience in the coming season.”

President Mnangagwa

He described Cde Malinga as a decorated, brave, courageous nationalist, and champion of human rights.

“His defence and unflinching love for our beloved motherland, Zimbabwe, saw the late Cde Malinga placed under heinous and illegal sanctions. We accord him well-deserved honour and a befitting farewell as we lay him to rest alongside his compatriots here at the National Heroes Acre,” said President Mnangagwa.

He challenged Zimbabweans, people with disabilities in particular, “to never allow ourselves to be objects of charity and sympathy’’. 

“We are all ‘differentially abled’. Let us, therefore, rally our energy, skills, capabilities, and competencies to build, modernise and industrialise Zimbabwe.

“On its part, my Government will continue to ensure the accelerated implementation of our National Disability Policy. Under the Second Republic, all persons of our beloved motherland, Zimbabwe, have a role to play in developing, modernising and industrialising our country”.

Cde Malinga was born on 28 April 1944 in Filabusi, Matabeleland South province. He was the third born in a family of nine.

Despite becoming a victim of polio at the tender age of two, he went on to lead an illustrious career during the liberation struggle and after Independence.

He joined the Jairos Jiri Association at the tender age of 13 and was a youth activist against the oppressive Rhodesian settler regime under the tutelage of Comrades Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo and Naison Ndlovu, among others, in the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress.

The late Joshua Malinga

In 1961, he moved to Nguboyenja and Mzilikazi and joined the National Democratic Party following the banning of the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress.

Cde Malinga became a member of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), People’s Caretaker Council (PCC) and the Patriotic Front Zimbabwe African People’s Union (PF ZAPU).

In 1975 and 1979, he held senior executive positions in the Gwabalanda Branch of PF ZAPU. He was later instrumental in organising PF ZAPU branches and cells in the Richmond and Lookout Masuku Districts.

After Independence in 1980, Cde Malinga continued to serve his Party and Government with unwavering commitment.

During the period of the Unity Accord of 1987, he was elected the Vice Chairman of the Lookout Masuku District, holding the position until 1994 when he was elected Treasurer of Bulawayo Province. He later served as Vice Chairman of Bulawayo Province until his elevation to the Zanu-PF Central Committee.

He distinguished himself as a man who believed in a leadership style anchored on quality service delivery in the local governance sector.

In this regard, Cde Malinga served as Deputy Mayor of the City of Bulawayo during the period 1992 to 1993 and Mayor for two terms over the period 1993 to 1995.

Pall bearers carrying a casket bearing the body of the late National Hero Cde Joshua Teke Malinga arrive at the family home in Richmond, Bulawayo recently.

In 1999, Cde Malinga was appointed member of the Constitutional Review Committee and elevated to be a member of the Zanu-PF Politburo as Deputy Secretary for the Disabled and Disadvantaged.

In 2006, he was appointed into Senate, becoming a Member of the Select Committee of Parliament on the Constitution Making Process (Copac) before being elevated to become the Secretary for the Disabled and Disadvantaged in the Politburo, a position he held until his passing on.

In 2017, he was appointed to the Ministerial post of Special Advisor on National Disability Issues in the Office of the President and Cabinet.

He also served on several boards and leadership positions such as Advisory Board Member of the African Development Bank; Secretary General and Founder Member of the Pan African Federation of the Disabled, United Nations Expert on Disability, and Human Rights Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations among others.

Cde Malinga graduated with degrees in Accounting, as well as Disability, Psychology, and Development Studies.

He was awarded the Rotary Foundation International Paul Harris Fellow in appreciation of his role in the tangible and significant furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the World.

The burial was attended by First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, the two Vice- Presidents, Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, Senate president, Cde Mabel Chinomona, Cabinet Ministers, legislators, Service Chiefs, diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe among others.

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