Story by Justin Mahlahla
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has described the late Brigadier General (Rtd) Epmarcus Walter Kanhanga who died yesterday as a stalwart of the liberation struggle and a man who stands tall in the epic making of the nation of Zimbabwe.
In his condolence message, President Mnangagwa expressed shock at the sad news of the sudden death early yesterday morning of Brigadier General (Rtd) Kanhanga at his rural Guruve home in Mashonaland Central.
He said the late Brigadier General belonged to an early crop of freedom fighters who left their homes, families, and interrupted their education far back in the early 1970s to join the armed struggle for Zimbabwe’s National Freedom and Independence.
“Back then, it called for men and women of extreme courage and advanced national consciousness to brush aside the many perils which existed everywhere, in order to join in the Armed Struggle for National Independence. It required exceptional courage and a rare sense of sacrifice to dare and challenge what evidently looked like an invincible racist settler war machine, which had been carefully constructed and designed for more than half a century, solely to keep the indigenous people permanently subdued, occupied and in deep awe of the occupying foreign white settler power,” said the President.
“Alongside key districts of Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Manicaland, Guruve and cadres like the late Cde Kanhanga were instrumental in hosting early fighters who took the tempo of our struggle to a new, carefully cultivated level of a People’s War, after initial efforts by a courageous generation of founding cadres who had been trained and were active as small groups in the early 1960s. Guruve was singularly important in this second phase of our Struggle; it saw early infiltrations by liberation fighters from both ZANLA and ZIPRA, who used Zambia and parts of Mozambique as both rear and launching pads. Moved by the spirit of Struggle and an ardent desire to free his people, the late Brigadier General would be counted among this pioneering crop of cadres which ignited this decisive phase of our Struggle.”
President Mnangagwa said the nation will forever salute and remember the late Brigadier General and his brave comrades for this seminal role.
He added, “After Independence, the late Cde Kanhanga attested into the Zimbabwe National Army, rising through the ranks until he attained the top rank of Brigadier General. He saw further action as our Defence Force ably fulfilled its mission in building peace in our SADC Region, and in securing our strategic routes to the sea. On retirement from active service, Brigadier General Kanhanga would resume his role in the ruling ZANU PF Party. He ably represented his Party and community in the Parliament of Zimbabwe; in the Politburo and, at the time of his demise, in the Ruling Party’s highest decision-making organ between Congresses, the Central Committee. He served Government in the Office of a Deputy Minister. His appointment to the Board of Governors of ZIMPAPERS, a listed publishing company formed at Independence to decolonise and de-settlerise media structures, saw him contributing immensely towards its mooring into the ethos of Liberation.”
President Mnangagwa said as the family grieves over the passing on of their beloved son, husband, father and guardian, they should find solace in that the late departed stands tall in the epic story of the making of the nation.
“Those of us who worked closely with him, both before and after Independence, keenly feel the loss, and join the Kanhanga Family in mourning his sudden departure after a life of courage and illustrious service to his people and country. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace.”