President Mnangagwa will cut his leave tomorrow to preside over the joint burial of national heroes Moton Malianga and Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba at the National Heroes’ Acre, showing the importance he attaches to the two for the critical roles they played before and after independence.
Acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Secretary Dr Jenfan Muswere confirmed last night that the President “will preside on Thursday”.
The burials have to be conducted in line with Covid-19 guidelines, so there can be no body viewing at Stodart Hall and the limited numbers at Heroes Acre will need to be masked and spread out.
Malianga (91) was a founding nationalist, while Dr Gwaradzimba ended the liberation war as a fighting detachment commander in the south-east before progressing through other work after independence and was Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister at the time of her death.
Malianga was a member of Zanu-PF Central Committee who died after a long illness while Dr Gwaradzimba succumbed to Covid-19. Malianga The double burial will be the third such ceremony following that of national heroines Victoria Chitepo and Vivian Mwashita in 2016, and George Rutanhire and Maud Muzenda in 2017.
Malianga was founding president of the NDP and after the NDP was banned in December 1961, he became Zapu secretary for Public Affairs. He was appointed Zanu’s first secretary for Youth and Culture at the party’s first congress in May 1964.
In 1965, he was arrested by the settler regime for his liberation efforts and spent 10 years in prison but during his incarceration at Salisbury Maximum Security Prison, Malianga obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in economics, business economics and accounting. After his release from prison in December 1974, he worked with other members of the Zanu Central Committee in mobilising for the liberation war.
He attended the Victoria Falls talks, the Geneva Conference and the Lancaster House Conference. After independence he was appointed Senator and became Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Development in 1981 and two years later, he became Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.
In the second Parliament, he was elected Member of Parliament for Mutare West and appointed Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce in 1988 and in March 1990 was re-elected as MP for the constituency and appointed Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce. Dr Gwaradzimba Dr Gwaradzimba whose Chimurenga name was Shee Tapera, joined the liberation struggle in 1976.
She underwent military training in Tanzania at Nachigwea Military Academy in 1977 and was deployed and operated in the Gaza Province that covered the south-eastern zone between 1977 and 1978 where she rose to detachment command level in the provincial command structure.
After independence, Dr Gwaradzimba rose through the party ranks to be a member of the Zanu-PF Central Committee and Manicaland provincial chairperson in the Women’s League.