SAD NEWS: Top government official dies

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President Mnangagwa consoles Mr James Kenneth Jonga’s widow Mirriam Chipo Jonga while nephew Tawanda Kanengoni (left) looks on, at their Borrowdale home in Harare yesterday.

THE late Permanent Secretary for the District Development Fund (DDF) in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr James Kenneth Jonga, was a dedicated and highly committed civil servant, President Mnangagwa has said.

Dr Jonga (70) died in Harare on Thursday after a short illness and was granted a State-assisted funeral.

Speaking at the Jonga residence in Crowhill, Borrowdale yesterday, President Mnangagwa said Dr Jonga was unwaveringly focused on development, as evidenced by the numerous projects that he had established and spearheaded.

“We, therefore, mourn a towering professional with exemplary work conduct who was unflinchingly focused on fulfilling the development needs of the nation,” President Mnangagwa said.

“A servant who was at the beck and call of our citizens, particularly in the rural areas, Dr Jonga was an avid performer with boundless energy and had a clear understanding of the country’s infrastructural development trajectory.

“He led and mentored his subordinates, who together with us all will no doubt be inspired to safeguard his legacy through diligently continuing with the programmes that he was passionately implementing in order to uplift livelihoods under NDS (National Development Strategy) 1 and Vision 2030 under the Second Republic.

“Our sincere condolences go to his wife, Mrs Mirriam Jonga, the children and grandchildren for losing a loving husband, father and guiding pillar of strength.”

President Mnangagwa also conveyed his condolences to the Jonga family following the death of their family member, Anne Knuth, who passed on after losing a battle with cancer early this month.

“May I also take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt condolences following the death of another member of your family and cousin to James Jonga, Mrs Anne Annastasia Knuth, a former chief director of State occasions in my office who passed on recently.”

Speaking at the same occasion, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga said he was deeply saddened and shocked by Dr Jonga’s death.

“I was not aware of his illness and thought his absence was because of the decongestion of offices due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I had enlisted several developmental projects which needed his help and expertise and I was hoping to continue to work with him,” VP Chiwenga said.

Dr Jonga joined the DDF as an assistant director in 1987.

He became the deputy director in 1989 when the DDF merged with the Department of Rural Development (DERUDE).

He was appointed principal director, and subsequently the director- general of DDF in 1998.

In 2014 he was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet in charge of DDF and Related Infrastructure Development, a post he held until his death.

Dr Jonga was instrumental in the establishment of developmental projects such as the water division, which he superintended under the Rural Roads Programme.

He spearheaded the purchasing of drilling equipment and the recapitalisation of the DDF’s plant and equipment unit.

Dr Jonga was the chairman of the Rural Wash Programme and deputy chairperson of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP 2) steering committee.

He was at the forefront of the Zunde ra Mambo programme and championed the “Lest we Forget Programme” for the late national heroes and heroines.

Dr Jonga is survived by his wife Miriam and five children.

He will be buried in Mhondoro on Tuesday.

— SundayMail


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