The former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe died on September 6th, 2019, in Singapore at the age of 95. He will be laid to rest in Harare at the National Heroes Acre, set aside for Zimbabweans deemed to have made significant sacrifices for the nation, which emerged from the end of colonial Rhodesia.
The long-serving president of Zimbabwe will be remembered for a lot of things, good and bad, as the mixed reactions to his death reflect on his complex and controversial legacy.
Writing in a statement issued on Monday, the Civic Society and Churches Joint Forum (CSCJF) said the nonagenarian’s legacy can not be denied and that he will stand as a beacon of strength against global white supremacy.
The sentiment has also been upheld by the Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), a community of advocates responsible for U.S. relations with Africa. In their orbituary message to the iconic leader, the faith-based organisation said that the liberator of Zimbabwe will be remembered for his persistent call to reform the United Nations Security Council.
Writes the network;
During the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 26, 2012, President Mugabe stated:
“We have been seized with the debate on the reform of the Security Council for far too long. My delegation fully supports the current intergovernmental negotiations on the reform and expansion of the Security Council. However, we wish to caution against an open-ended approach which short-changes those of us from regions that are not represented at all among the permanent membership of the Council.
Zimbabwe stands by Africa’s demand for two permanent seats complete with a veto, if the veto is to be retained, plus two additional non-permanent seats, as clearly articulated in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. For how long, Mr President, will the international community continue to ignore the aspirations of a whole continent of fifty-four countries?
We shall not be bought-off with empty promises, nor shall we accept some cosmetic tinkering of the Security Council disguised as reform. It is indeed a travesty of justice that the African continent, which accounts for almost a third of the membership represented in this August Assembly, has no permanent representation in the Security Council. Is this good governance? Is this democracy? And, is this justice?”
Melancholically, AFJN ended up by reminding Africa that it was sad that the reforms that Mr Mugabe championed for have not been finalised.
“Unfortunately, the reform that President Mugabe called for is yet to be realized,” wrote the network.
AFJN works closely with Catholic missionary congregations and numerous Africa-focused coalitions of all persuasions to advocate for U.S. economic and political policies that will benefit Africa’s poor majority, facilitate an end to armed conflict, establish equitable trade and investment with Africa and promote sustainable development.
Other churches in Zimbabwe have also paid their condolences to Mr Mugabe.
“He believed in God and may his soul rest in peace. He was 95 years old, and he has rested. Cde Mugabe was the founding father of Zimbabwe, the founder of nationalism in Zimbabwe and the foundation of the nation. We thank him for the role he played in the liberation of Zimbabwe. Our hearts are heavy, we are mourning,’’ he said.
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) also described the former president as a liberation icon who played an important role in shaping the history of Zimbabwe.
In a statement, ZCC general secretary Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata said Mr Mugabe’s call for reconciliation in his inauguration speech in 1980 gave hope that Zimbabweans would work together and transcend the racial and ethnic divide.
“In mourning RGM, the nation stands at the ambivalence of the man who together with other liberation heroes oversaw the liberation struggle for the independence of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“He showed determination, tenacity and principle during the Lancaster House negotiations. The early years of his rule were marked by the exponential growth and development of primary and secondary education, which firmly set Zimbabwe’s education system among the best on the continent. He also championed a robust primary health system across the country.
“He boldly addressed the outstanding land question through the contentious land reform programme, whose intention was to give land back to the landless black majority. These milestones must be celebrated.”
Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe Africa (UDACIZA), an umbrella body for Apostolic and Zionist churches also sent its condolences.
“We have lost an icon, a hero and Zimbabwe’s founding father who played a critical role in the liberation of the country,” said Rev. Edson Tsvakayi.
Meanwhile, a delegation led by Vice President Kembo Mohadi left Harare for Singapore yesterday for the repatriation of the remains of the former president. The delegation comprised members of the Mugabe and Marufu (the former President’s in-laws) families, Zanu-PF secretary for Women’s League Mabel Chinomona and Politburo members Edna Madzongwe and Sydney Sekeramayi.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa confirmed the delegation’s departure.
“Government has today dispatched a delegation headed by Vice President Cde Kembo Mohadi to Singapore and they are expected to accompany the body of Cde Mugabe back home.
The body is expected in Zimbabwe at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport any time on Wednesday, 11th of September 2019. On Thursday, which is the 12th and Friday the 13th September, the body will be taken to Rufaro Stadium to allow members of the public from all the provinces to pay their last respects to the illustrious liberation war hero,” she said.
On Saturday the 14th of September, the body would be at the National Sports Stadium for the State Funeral Service where Zimbabweans and other foreign dignitaries and members of the diplomatic corps will have an opportunity to pay their last respects to the departed hero.
The minister said Mr Mugabe will be buried on Sunday.
Born in 1924 in what was then Rhodesia, Mugabe went on to co-found a resistance movement against British colonial rule and was jailed for 10 years between 1964 and 1974.
He ruled Zimbabwe for nearly four decades before he was forced out in a military coup in November 2017.
Agencies contributed to this report
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