We will never forget our liberators — President

Wallace Ruzvidzo Herald Reporter

FOUNDING Southern African fathers such as the late former Tanzanian President Ali Hassan Mwinyi played an invaluable role that should never be forgotten but rather be precisely expressed and safeguarded, President Mnangagwa has said.

President Mwinyi died on February 29 from lung cancer in Tanzania’s commercial hub, Dar es Salaam, where he had been hospitalised for several weeks.

He was 98.

Former President Mwinyi was largely known for pushing through tough economic and political reforms that transformed the East African nation from socialism to an open economy and multi-party democracy.

He was President from 1985 to 1995, having succeeded Tanzania’s first post-independence President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who left office in 1985 after 22 years in power.

President Mwinyi was in turn succeeded by the late Benjamin Mkapa in 1995.

In an interview after signing former President Mwinyi’s book of condolences at the Tanzanian Embassy in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa chronicled how the region’s founding leaders had facilitated their training and capacity to liberate SADC countries, Zimbabwe included.

The President himself went to Tanzania for training in the early 1960s before fighting in the liberation struggle.

He said the founding fathers’ liberation acumen had inspired his generation to liberate their respective nations.

“I felt this was an occasion in my life to express my internal feelings about these revolutionary leaders who in the early 1960s led us into committing our lives to liberate our respective countries.

“I remember in the early 60s when we were very young when we went to Tanganyika before it became Tanzania and we were kept by these leaders at the time. They facilitated our military training at the time and we came back home and fought the liberation war and we are now independent,” President Mnangagwa said.

He said it was important to acknowledge the immense role played by the region’s founding fathers in facilitating its liberation.

“So, it is now our turn to express precisely with the younger generation of that time how these leaders helped us to facilitate our capacity to liberate our respective countries in Southern Africa.

“So, to us, they are not only our commanders, but they are the founding fathers of our revolution and our freedom,” President Mnangagwa said.

Former President Mwinyi was buried in Zanzibar on March 2 after seven days of national mourning.

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