PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday conferred national hero status on Brigadier-General Epmarcus Walter Kanhanga (Rtd), who died on Thursday.
He was 73.
In a statement, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Mischeck Sibanda, said Brig-Gen Kanhanga deserved the honour for the role he played in the liberation struggle, as well as his consistent and diligent service to the country.
“His Excellency the President, Dr ED Mnangagwa, today announced conferment of National Hero Status on the late Brigadier-General Epmarcus Walter Kanhanga (wartime name Cde Charles Munyoro), who passed on at his Guruve home in the early hours of Thursday, 2nd February, 2023,” said Dr Sibanda.
“This decision by the party to honour the late Brigadier-General in this very special way is in recognition of his wartime role as a freedom fighter; his loyal and diligent service to the country and region as a senior officer of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, ZDF; his role as a Deputy Minister of Government; as a Member of Parliament; as a leader in the corporate world, and as a consistent cadre of the ruling ZANU PF party.”
Details of Brig-Gen Kanhanga’s burial at the National Heroes’ Acre will be announced in due course.
In his condolence message, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga described the late national hero as a patriotic and forthright cadre, who dedicated his life to serving his country.
“I wish to extend heartfelt condolences to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, His Excellency Cde Dr E.D. Mnangagwa, the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Mrs Kanhanga and children, the greater Kanhanga family, as well as the entire nation, on the sad loss of a distinguished freedom fighter and nation builder, who dedicated his entire life to serving his people,” said Dr Chiwenga.
“Indeed, he was a colleague who will be dearly missed.
“The late Cde Munyoro was forthright and clear in his conscience that he and his peers needed to work hard and remain determined to liberate our beloved Zimbabwe from the yoke of repressive colonial rule.
“His sacrifice and efforts were not in vain. Today, our people enjoy their sovereignty, freedom and live peacefully because of that invaluable sacrifice.”
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, ZANU PF Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Cde Kazembe Kazembe expressed gratitude for the honour bestowed on Cde Kanhanga.
“We want to thank President Mnangagwa for honouring our request and conferring him with the national hero status,” said Cde Kazembe.
“As a province, we also want to thank the rest of Government and ZANU PF for finding it fitting to confer national hero status on a deserving freedom fighter.”
He described Brig-Gen Kanhanga as a “humble and down-to-earth leader”, who has left a void that will be difficult to fill in the province.
“As a province, we are deeply saddened by the passing on of Brigadier-General Kanhanga.
“The way he passed on is very saddening because he was not showing any signs of being unwell; he was fit and healthy.
“Up to now, people are still to come to terms with the news of his passing.
“He was an irreplaceable leader and father to the province and it is quite sad that he has left us.”
Born on January 6,1950, Brig-Gen Kanhanga went to school in Guruve before skipping the border for military training in the early 1970s.
After independence, Brig-Gen Kanhanga was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army, rising through the ranks until he attained the rank of Brigadier-General.
He saw action in various military missions in the region, including helping the country secure strategic routes to the sea.
On retirement from active service, he took up active politics.
He represented the ruling party in Parliament and was also a member of the Politburo.
At the time of his demise, he was a member of the Central Committee.
He was once appointed Deputy Minister of Tourism.
In addition, he also served on different boards such as Zimpapers and the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe.
He is survived by his wife and four children.
Mourners are gathered at number 33 Hyton Road, Mandara, Harare, while others are on his farm in Guruve.
— Sunday Mail