Zimbabweans must remain on their guard to beat back Covid-19 whose third wave has seen a spike in deaths and new infections, the President has said.
He was speaking at the burial of Major-General (Retired) Clever Shadreck Chiramba at the National Heroes Acre in Harare yesterday.
Maj-Gen (Rtd) Chiramba (66), whose Chimurenga name was Simangaliso Gumede, died on Sunday last week at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals of Covid-19-related complications.
With the rise in deaths and new infections spreading out of hotspots already under and intensified localised lockdown, President Mnangagwa announced an upgrade of the Level Four national lockdown last Tuesday that saw an extended curfew, shorter working hours, de-congested workplaces, a ban on intercity passenger travel, and a confirmation of the previous intensified measures that included a ban on social and religious gatherings except for funerals with under 30 mourners.
“The third wave of Covid-19 is upon us with the current variants being highly transmissible. Many lives have been lost within a short space of time. We should therefore not gamble with our lives. Our country is now operating under Level Four lockdown to curb the present infection and death spikes.
“Let us all work harder to quickly return to normalcy. The country must continue to religiously observe the WHO public health protocols and the preventive measures Government has put in place,” said the President.
Zimbabwe reached a cumulative total of 53 665 confirmed cases and 1 859 deaths by Saturday, but is seeing more than 1 000 new cases a day at the moment and daily deaths in the high teens or twenties.
The President urged Zimbabweans to get vaccinated as part of efforts to combat the disease.
Supply chains have been secured with an extra 500 000 doses arriving just over a week ago and 2 million doses expected any time, allowing the vaccination drive to be accelerated.
On the life of Maj-Gen (Rtd) Chiramba, President Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to emulate the late national hero in promoting and defending the country’s interests.
“The life of the late national hero Maj-Gen (Rtd) Chiramba is a testimony that he was a true revolutionary, a patriot and comrade par excellence. Our citizenry must emulate the sacrifices made by such heroes and heroines. In the face of various forms of neo-imperialism let us all remain united and alive to the clandestine machinations by detractors calculated to reverse the gains of our independence. We should never grow tired of defending, protecting and safeguarding our country’s sovereignty.”
The President said it was every Zimbabwean’s duty to promote the country’s history, identity and vision and the experiences of natural disasters and illegal sanctions should spur the nation to modernise, industrialise and develop.
The true meaning of self-determination which many heroes had sacrificed their lives for should be seen in the improved quality of life for the country’s citizens.
The President said the late Maj-Gen Chiramba was a devout Christian and humble man who never abused his position to access privileges and benefits.
He was accorded several awards and medals due to his dedication and exemplary service and these include the Liberation, Independence of Zimbabwe, Mozambique as well as the Long and Exemplary Service medals.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, who trained with the late Maj-Gen Chiramba at Morogoro Training Camp in Tanzania, described him as a dedicated and humble cadre and urged young people to emulate his humility.
Seventh Day Adventist pastor Godfrey Musara said the national hero was a committed Christian who was active in the church’s activities, including the establishment of the Waterfalls SDA School.
Maj-Gen Chiramba was born on February 2, 1955, in Chivi District in Gude Village, doing his primary education at Jenya Primary School from 1961 to 1968 and then going to Mashava where he did O-level through correspondence. He joined the liberation struggle, which led to the independence of the country, and after independence was attested into the ZNA retiring as a Major General in 2004.
Maj-Gen (Rtd) Chiramba led Two Infantry Brigade during the DRC campaign under the auspices of the SADC Allied Forces.
He is survived by his wife, Beatrice Chiramba nee Pawandiwa, eight children and 16 grandchildren.