PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday sent condolence messages to the Matiza and Zimondi families following the passing on of Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Dr Joel Biggie Matiza and former Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Commissioner-General, Retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi.
Both Dr Matiza and Maj-Gen Zimondi succumbed to Covid-19 related complications on Friday aged 60 and 74 respectively.
“It was with profound shock and sadness that I learnt of the death yesterday of our Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development and Zanu PF Provincial Chairman for Mashonaland East Province, Dr Joel Biggie Matiza, after succumbing to Covid-19 related illness.
“The death of Dr Matiza adds to the pain and anguish in Government, the ruling party, and more so to our nation, following last week’s deaths of prominent public figures including two government ministers one of whom, our late national hero and Cabinet colleague, Retired Lieutenant General Dr S B Moyo, still awaits burial.”
President Mnangagwa said the sudden death of Dr Matiza created a void in Government which would be difficult to fill.
“As we mourn his sad departure, we commit ourselves to honouring him by taking forward the infrastructural projects which he championed with such extraordinary passion.
“On behalf of the ruling party, Zanu-PF, Government, my family, and indeed on my behalf, I wish to express my sincere condolences to the Matiza family, especially to his wife Lilian and the children who have lost a loving husband, father and a shoulder to lean on. May they be rest assured in the knowledge that the nation joins them in this hour of grief.”
President Mnangagwa said the nation had lost a pillar of strength in consolidating the gains of Independence.
“Soft-spoken, cheerful and a workaholic, the late Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development had helped in re-awakening the otherwise dormant construction industry into a vibrant sector.
“Under his leadership, the sector and our engineers were beginning to tackle bigger projects, executing them to world standards. The results have been evident, most notably, the rehabilitation of our national highways under the first phase of the National Rehabilitation Programme.”
The President said Maj-Gen (Rtd) Zimondi’s death conjured pain and sorrow as he had only recently started his retirement.
“Major General (Rtd) Zimondi’s death evokes pain and sorrow as two months ago, he had started a well-deserved rest from public service following his retirement from long, meritorious service to his nation. He had set his sights on fulfilling his long-delayed passion for full-time commercial farming.
“A decorated soldier and veteran of the liberation struggle, the late Retired Major General Zimondi Tonderai Nyika will forever be remembered for his immense contribution to the freedom and independence of Zimbabwe, and for defending the gains of that freedom, initially as a senior officer in the Zimbabwe National Army.”
President Mnangagwa said the passing on of Maj-Gen Zimondi robs the country of the remaining crop of brave cadres who transformed the armed liberation struggle from the front.
“His record in combat operations were nothing short of legendary. On behalf of the ruling party, Zanu-PF, Government, my family, and indeed on my behalf, I wish to express deep heartfelt condolences to the Zimondi family for the loss of their beloved son who was a father figure and family mentor. May they take comfort from the knowledge that we share in their great loss as he was no longer theirs alone, but ours together.”