Story by Peter Chivhima
NATIONAL Hero, Brigadier General Retired Walter Kanhanga who was buried at the national shrine this Friday has been described as an epitome of patriotism.
‘An epitome of patriotism,’ ‘A Stalwart of the Country’s Liberation,’ and ‘Brave and Courageous soldier,’ are some of the words that were inscribed on banners at the burial of National Hero, Brigadier General (Rtd) Walter Kanhanga this Friday.
True to those words, those who worked side by side with him in the trenches, said Brigadier General (Rtd) Kanhanga was a brave and patriotic soldier.
Colleague, Brigadier General Kenneth Chihumba said, ‘‘The late National Hero was a man of few words, but very courageous. I remember him as commander of the Gaza Province and you know how difficult it was, but the man we gathered for here today denied the white racist to dominate us.’’
Colleague Colonel Retired Midson Mupasu noted, ‘‘I knew Cde Kanhanga before he joined the liberation struggle. I remember seeing him as a young man when he came to us while on deployment in Mashonaland Central Province and wanted to join the liberation struggle. He went to training until he came back and he remained patriotic to the nation.’’
The political leadership from his home province of Mashonaland Central spoke of a patriotic cadre who was unwavering in his stance to see a liberated and developed Zimbabwe.
Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Honourable Kazembe Kazembe notes, ‘‘Cde Kanhanga will be greatly missed for the role he played in liberating our country. Cde Kanhanga was a humble man and as a ministry, we have been robbed of a man who was committed to developing our national shrines. The void he left will be difficult to fill.’’
Mashonaland Central Province Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Honourable Monica Mavhunga said, ‘‘Cde Kanhanga was so patriotic when it comes to the issue of our country. Cde Kanhanga joined the liberation struggle at a tender age and he operated in Mashonaland Central Province. After his retirement, Cde Kanhanga continued to work hard, especially in Mashonaland Central Province. We have lost a man who was ready to our province developing.’’
Principal of Chitepo School of Ideology Cde George Machacha notes, ‘‘The late National Hero, Cde Walter Kanhanga was so patriotic. I knew him during the liberation struggle, the fact that he left whatever he was doing to join the liberation struggle and ready to free the country from colonial bondage.’’
The Kanhanga family applauded President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government for the national hero status.
Kanhanga family representative Mr Allan Kanhanga noted, ‘‘I want to thank you Your Excellency for according our brother a National Hero status. This means that we as the Kanhanga family, are now in the book of the country’s records. Cde Kanhanga was a family unifier who also loved farming.’’
The late Brigadier General (Rtd) Kanhanga who died on the 2nd of this month at his farm in Mvurwi at the age of 73 was a key participant during the liberation struggle where he was appointed Provincial Political Commissar for Gaza Province in 1976.
He was also involved in the famous Gaza attack of 1976 before he was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army at independence in 1980 as Deputy Commander 2 Infantry Brigade.
The National Hero moved to take up a similar position at the 4 Infantry Brigade in 1983 before being appointed Director of Management Services in 1984.
He was then appointed Commander of Midlands District in 1985, Colonel Transport at Army Headquarters in 1988 and Colonel Administration at Army Headquarters in the same year.
He was later promoted to Brigadier-General in 1991, a position he held until his retirement in 1997 when he went into active politics.
He was also honoured with several medals which include the Grant Officer of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit Award, Long and Exemplary Service Medal and the Mozambique Campaign Medal.
At the time of his death, the National Hero was a member of the ZANU PF Central Committee and the board chairperson of the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe.
He is survived by his wife, Agnes and four children Charles, Samantha, Michelle and Audrey.