By Mary Taruvinga
ZIMBABWE will observe an indefinite period of national mourning following the death in Singapore of the country’s founding leader Robert Mugabe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced Friday.
Mnangagwa told journalists after cutting short his trip to the African leg of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town South Africa that Mugabe the ruling Zanu PF party had met and declared him a hero.
“Zanu PF the party which the late departed leader founded has met and accorded him national hero’s status which he earned and richly deserves,” said Mnangagwa.
“As we await for the arrival of the remains of the dear departed icon, we pray that the good Lord grant him mercies, grant his dear soul eternal rest. We as Zimbabweans declare days of mourning for our leader until he is buried.”
Mnangagwa was mum on where and when Mugabe will be buried.
In his address, Mnangagwa said Mugabe’s life will be celebrated not only by Zimbabwe but by the international community.
“In his life and political career, he made moves and shifts in our story of the national struggle and quest for freedom and statehood including the tragedies, pains and wriggles, which underwrote that epic story.
“He was incarcerated for 11 years in settler colonial prisons alongside late father Zimbabwe comrade Joshua Nkomo. He remained bold and resolute eventually escaping in order to lead and guide the resumption and escalation of our liberation struggle.
“Today our country is free. Has been since 1980, thanks to the late icon and to the dedicated fighters of the liberation struggle,” said Mnangagwa who took power in November 2017 after the army toppled Mugabe.
He said the struggle regained momentum through Mugabe.
Mnangagwa also described Mugabe as a great teacher and mentor.
“He played a great role in national reconciliation. He thus wrote a lasting page on nation building and state craft for the world, making him a remarkable statesman of our century who took Southern African politics to another level and will always be remembered for that,” said the President.
He added that the history of land reform would not be complete without including Mugabe’s name.
“The late departed icon will be eternally remembered and honoured for the bold and historic land reform programme he undertook to the end. Through this programme Zimbabweans regained their land rights. For that he was vilified, shunned and punished by those who stood to lose from an end to colonial rights. He stood firm and undaunted,” said the Zanu PF leader.
Mnangagwa said economic sanctions were triggered by Mugabe’s decision to repossess the land that he said was one of the grievances that led to the struggle for independence.
Mnangagwa also showered praises on Mugabe’s wife, Grace for remaining committed until her husband’s death saying her commitment should be a lesson to all Zimbabweans.