Story by Josephine Mugiyo, Diplomatic Correspondent
ZIMBABWE’S young generation has been urged to emulate the principles and selfless sacrifice of heroes of the liberation struggle such as the late General Josiah Magama Tongogara.
He never got to live in a free Zimbabwe, but his role in liberating the country will forever be cherished.
With the nation commemorating the death of the man affectionately known as General Tongo, Acting President, General Retired Dr Constantino Chiwenga has described the national hero as an intelligent military strategist who was crucial in winning the liberation struggle.
“Today, we commemorate 43 years after the death of our Commander General Josiah Magama Tongogara on the 26 of December in 1979. To be where we are is because of that intelligent and brilliant commander. He foresaw things that we did not see ourselves and I will tell you that as I have always have repeated many times, he was very aware that he would not see the new Zimbabwe.
“So he would always say well let’s fight, the day I go is the day you are going to be free. He had a prophetic mind and since he took command in 1973 to be the ZANLA chief of defense, the war changed. Yes, we were going through problems even when he was in prison there was communication and it was quite clear that we would liberate the nation,” he said.
General Tongogara and many other liberation heroes took to the battle front when they were still young and as such, the Acting President said the young generation should take a leaf from their predecessors and defend the sovereignty of their country.
“He was just in his prime youth, but he commanded the liberation of this country. When he took over command of ZANLA he was still in his youthful days. So the youths of today must emulate what their predecessors did, to be principled and love one’s country,” he added.
General Retired Dr Chiwenga is however concerned about drug abuse among young people, noting that they should make meaningful contribution to the country’s wellbeing.
“Today, we are having running battles trying to stop the youth from drug abuse. In all these things, they must be stopped. If the generation of Tongo were to indulge in thism who would go and the liberation struggle. Now, the youths of toady there’s no more war but their war is to build the Zimbabwe we all want. We must make sure they fulfil this task,” he noted.
General Tongo died in a car accident in Mozambique on the 26th of December 1979.