Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
FORMER President, Robert Mugabe, who died in Singapore yesterday morning, has been declared a national hero and the Government has declared days of national mourning until his burial.
Cde Mugabe (95) was receiving medical treatment in the Asian country when he succumbed to an undisclosed illness.
Addressing journalists at State House in Harare following a Zanu-PF Politburo meeting at the party’s headquarters, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who cut short his trip to the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, said the death of Cde Mugabe leaves a big void in the nation.
“Zanu-PF, the party which the late departed helped found, has met and accorded him National Hero status which he earned and richly deserves.
“As we await the arrival of the remains of our dear departed icon, we pray that the good Lord grants him mercies, putting his dear soul to eternal rest. We as Zimbabweans declare days of mourning for our leader until he is buried,” said President Mnangagwa.
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He paid tribute to the Government and people of Singapore for the hospitality and medical care they extended to Cde Mugabe up to the very end.
“In particular we are most grateful to the team of medical experts and support staff which cared for him with such great diligence, dedication and compassion. They did all they could up to the very end,” said President Mnangagwa.
The President hailed former First Lady Mrs Grace Mugabe for supporting her husband until he breathed his last.
“On behalf of our nation, that of my family and on my own behalf, I wish to express my deepest, heartfelt condolences to the Mugabe family, to Amai Grace Mugabe and the children especially, on this their saddest loss. Amai Mugabe stood by her husband to the very end, thus imparting to our nation a lasting lesson on devout love and care. For that, we deeply thank her as we join her in the grief of loss and bereavement which is also ours to feel and bear,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the death of Cde Mugabe, whom he described as an iconic leader of the country’s struggle for liberation, has left a huge void in the nation. “A veteran nationalist and a doughty Pan Africanist fighter, Cde Mugabe bequeaths a rich and indelible legacy of tenacious adherence to principle on the collective rights of Africa and Africans in general and in particular the rights of the people of Zimbabwe for whom he gave his all to help free.
“In his life and political career he met and melded key phases, moods and shifts in the story of our national struggle and a quest for freedom and statehood including the tragedies, pains and rigors which underwrote that epic story,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Incarcerated for 11 years in settler colonial prisons, he, alongside fellow nationalists who included the late father Zimbabwe, Cde Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, remained unbowed and resolute, eventually escaping from the then Rhodesia in 1974 in order to lead and guide the resumption and escalation of our war of liberation at a time of its tragic setbacks and paralysis.
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