PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has expressed sadness on the death of the chairperson of United States-based political lobby, the December 12 Movement, Cde Viola Plummer, describing her as a gallant liberation fighter, a true pan-Africanist who stood by Zimbabwe throughout her illustrious life.
Cde Plummer, the co-founder of the Brooklyn-based civil and human rights organisation, died aged 86 on Monday.
In a statement yesterday, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe will forever remain grateful and indebted to the great sacrifices that Cde Plummer made for the country.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have learnt of the demise of one of our own, Cde Viola Plummer, chairperson of the December 12 Movement.
“On my own behalf, the party Zanu PF and indeed the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, I wish to extend our deepest condolences to the Plummer family, the entire December 12 family, and all the revolutionary peoples of the world, for the loss of a great companion and comrade.
“We have been robbed of a gallant liberation fighter, a true Pan-Africanist who stood by us throughout her illustrious life.”
Zanu PF, President Mnangagwa said, first struck a chord with the December 12 Movement in the 1960s, in the formative years of the struggle.
“Since then, an unbreakable bond was created. Cde Viola, and her fellow comrades, including the now departed Cde Coltrane Chimurenga, were drawn into the struggle for black liberation by the desire and commitment to fight the unjust evil system that treated black people as second-class citizens in the United States of America.
“Cde Viola was instrumental and central to the formation of the December 12 Movement, which morphed into an underground liberation movement right in the belly of the beast.”
President Mnangagwa said her journey was one of selflessness and sacrifice, braving all the brutality brought upon her and her movement by the racist US system.
“After realising that their fight for freedom and justice in the US was not going to be completely fruitful without going back to the roots, Cde Viola, Cde Chimurenga and others decided to scan for brotherhood and solidarity with fellow Africans and other global citizens fighting for the freedom of all humanity, and the eradication of the system of racism.
“This strategic move saw Cde Viola and her comrades establishing solid relations not only with the liberation movements in Zimbabwe, but also in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Venezuela and Cuba, to mention a few.
“The December 12 Movement effectively took the African liberation voice deep into the US, albeit under very difficult conditions, and in most cases at the expense of their own personal freedom and prosperity.”
The President also said that the solid solidarity cemented with liberation movements in Zimbabwe in the 1960s was further strengthened when the nation gained political independence in 1980.
“When the West imposed its illegal and inhumane sanctions upon us for taking back our land, the December 12 Movement led by Coltrane Chimurenga as a founding member was the first ‘out of the continent’ group to take up the fight in defence of their motherland.
“Despite the successive US governments’ sustained efforts to specify, isolate and render the movement dysfunctional, the December 12 Movement, under the continued leadership of Cde Viola, stood tall and tough, telling the racist US government to keep its hands off Zimbabwe.
“Owing to Cde Viola’s uncompromising stance, the December 12 Movement literally owned the anti-sanctions campaign in the US.
“Cde Viola and her troops became a regular feature at the United Nations General Assembly where each year they stood firm in defence of Zimbabwe, and played a critical role in countering the feeble but toxic actions of some of our own Zimbabwean nationals who continue to campaign for the West to suffocate us.”
President Mnangagwa also pledged to safeguard the already established strong ties between Zimbabwe and the December 12 Movement.
“In Cde Viola, Cde Chimurenga and the entire December 12 Movement, we had a presence in spaces we could not reach on our own to defend our cause.
“As we mourn our Dear Comrade, we will forever remain grateful and indebted to the great sacrifices that Cde Viola made for our beloved country.
“Her glorious efforts will not be in vain. As Zanu PF and the Government of Zimbabwe, we are going to ensure that the strong relations established between us and the December 12 Movement are safeguarded as we venture into new areas of cooperation.
“My wish is to see the December 12 Movement comrades in the US actively participating in our national economic recovery and growth effort. Zimbabwe is your country, one of your great comrades is buried here and we want to see this relationship grow beyond political solidarity.”
President Mnangagwa said Cde Viola’s legacy as revolutionary would live on.
“We have confidence that within the movement, there remains Comrades who have learnt from the best and are eager to defend the motherland till death. Zanu PF is ready to work with these Cdes in advancing our noble cause for humanity.
“Together, we have a duty to ensure that what Cde Viola died fighting for does see the light of day. To our Sister Viola, we say go well, you fought a good fight. We will carry on the good work that you selflessly gave your life to.”
In 2022, she led a December 12 Movement delegation that was in the country for the 7th Zanu PF People’s Congress.