Robert Mugabe’s full transcript of Heroes Acre speech: What is your cause today?

AMAI Murozvi and the bereaved Murozvi family,
Vice-President, Comrade Emmerson Mnangagwa and Amai Mnangagwa,
The President of the Senate, Mai Ednah Madzongwe,
Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda,
The Chief Justice, Honourable Luke Malaba,
The Metropolitan Minister of Harare Province, Mai Miriam Chikukwa and all Honourable Ministers here present,
Our Service Chiefs,
Traditional Leaders here present,
War Veterans, Detainees, Restrictees and Collaborators,
Members of Parliament,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Fellow Mourners,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Comrades and Friends.

We are, yet again, gathered here at the National Heroes Acre, in deep sorrow as we mourn and give a befitting send- off to one of our distinguished freedom fighters of the Second Chimurenga, the late Brigadier-General James Jotham Murozvi, whose Chimurenga name was James Tichatonga.

Brigadier-General Murozvi’s sudden death on Thursday last week, in circumstances that have shocked all of us, has robbed the Murozvi family, the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe, our party Zanu-PF and the Civil Service, of an illustrious family figure, freedom fighter, colleague and compatriot.

May I, on behalf of Government and the people of Zimbabwe, Murozvi’s wife Group Captain (Retired) Joice Murozvi, the children and his entire family, express my deep condolences over the untimely death of their beloved one. May his family draw comfort and courage from the knowledge that they are not alone in this their moment of grief. The pain they are going through is our pain together. For the late Comrade Murozvi was no longer their son alone, but our son together.

Comrades and Friends,

Many of us might wonder who Comrade Murozvi was, to deserve national hero status, which we have seen fit to bestow on him. National hero status is not conferred willy-nilly on our fallen comrades, but is given after careful consideration of one’s personal attributes and contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe, and quality of faithful service to our nation and our people, throughout one’s life.

The late Brigadier-General Murozvi’s life is characterised by acts of valour and supreme sacrifice for his beloved country, his family, which he had to leave behind, when he decided to join the trail to Mozambique, like many young men and women of his age. Many of them, if not all, abandoned education and work to join others in the liberation struggle.

Leaving the country to join the liberation struggle was in itself an act of bravery and chivalry, which very few men and women voluntarily undertook at the same time. Some people who were coerced to join the liberation struggle were the very ones who deserted the struggle. But not so for the likes of the late Brigadier-General Murozvi, who volunteered to go for military and guerrilla training, in order to fight for the liberation of our country.

In the period between 1975, when the young Comrade Murozvi crossed into Mozambique, until the time of the ceasefire in 1979, he undertook various assignments which he discharged admirably.

As a member of the Education Department at the rear in Mozambique, Comrade James Tichatonga, as he was called then, played a very important role in teaching many children of school-going age, who had crossed the border into that country.(image)

He ably and conscientiously applied the skills he had acquired during his short teacher training programme which he was forced to cut short, to avoid being conscripted into the national youth service that would have seen him fighting alongside our erstwhile colonial regime forces, but that would have been against his own oppressed fellow black Zimbabweans.

After receiving specialised military training, Comrade Murozvi was deployed to the front where he distinguished himself both in combat in Manica Province and as a political commissar. He was later to serve as Detachment Security Officer in the Gaza Province until the attainment of our Independence in 1980.

Some of the commanders he served under during the war of liberation struggle testified to Comrade Murozvi’s heroic and remarkable achievements during that period. Some of his commanders include the likes of Comrades Paradzayi Zimondi (Commissioner-General of Prisons and Correctional Services), Major-General (Rtd) Gibson Mashingaidze, Colonel (Retired) Shumba and others.

At the time of the ceasefire, Comrade Murozvi was deployed among a select Zanla Reserve Force which did not go into the Assembly Points, but instead remained in the operational areas, as our precautionary measure in case the ceasefire broke down, needing us to fall back on Comrade Murozvi’s group, for us to continue prosecuting the armed struggle. As it turned out, the ceasefire remained in force and Comrade Murozvi and his team were to become instrumental in mobilising our people to go and vote en-masse in the 1980 general elections.

After the attainment of our Independence, Comrade Murozvi was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army, starting at the level of lieutenant and rising through the ranks, to the level of Brigadier-General. Among his notable achievements as a serving member of the army include his involvement with the pioneer group of officers who spearheaded the integration of Zanla, Zipra and the Rhodesian Forces into the Zimbabwe National Army.

As Military Intelligence Officer at Headquarters 1 Brigade, under General Chiwenga (current Commander of the Defence Forces), the late Comrade ensured the security of the South African National Congress’ Umkhonto we Sizwe fighters, inside Zimbabwe en-route to South Africa, to wage war against the apartheid regime.

He actively participated in the Operation Butterfly, along the Beira Corridor and Operation Cobweb, along the Nyamapanda-Zobwe Corridor during the Mozambique Campaign. After serving as our Defence Attaché in the United Kingdom, his recent secondment was to the Ministry of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees, as Principal Director.

The late Brigadier-General Murozvi excelled in his illustrious military career, before and after Independence. Academically, he is the proud holder of a series of several professional and academic qualifications, which include four academic degrees.

In recognition of his selfless dedication to the liberation struggle and loyal service to Zimbabwe, the late Brigadier-General received the following medals:

The Liberation Medal;
The independence Medal;
Ten Years of Service Medal for his contribution during the integration of the Zanla, Zipra and the Rhodesian combatants into the Zimbabwe National Army;
Fifteen Year Long and Exemplary Service Medal;
The Mozambique Campaign Medal, for his contribution to peace and stability in Mozambique;
Democratic Republic of Congo Campaign Medal; and
The Grand Officer of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit Award, for the distinguished service to Zimbabwe and the sub-region.

Comrade Murozvi was well decorated indeed.

Comrades and Friends;

The hallmark in the life of a national hero is dedication to a cause. All our national heroes who lie at this National Shrine fought for a cause, the common cause of our Independence, the common cause to defend our National Sovereignty, and the common cause to foster Unity, Peace and Development.

What is your cause today? It certainly can’t be a departure from our common cause, the revolutionary cause? People like Comrade Murozvi never prevaricated. They stood firm on the principle of national sovereignty and would not be compromised into betraying their hard- won Independence.

To Comrade Murozvi, we say thank you for a job well done, a life well lived. You did not disappoint us during and after the liberation struggle. You saved your country well.

May I, on behalf of all of you gathered here, bid our gallant son of the soil, Brigadier-General James Jotham Murozvi, farewell.

Go well freedom fighter; go well beloved Comrade.

May your soul rest in eternal peace!

I thank you.

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