The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa says the renaming of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) barracks marks exorcising of the ghost of colonialism.
President Mnangagwa said this when he officially renamed the King George VI Barracks to Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks in Harare this morning.
The ceremony also marked the renaming of several Zimbabwe Defence Forces barracks countrywide.
“We rid ourselves of the colonial mentality. The ghost of colonialism has been exorcised by the renaming of these barracks,” said Cde Mnangagwa, adding that this is one way of preserving the nation’s history that will be bequeathed to future generations.
The President described the late national hero and ZANLA Commander, General Josiah Magama Tongarara, as one of the greatest military strategists during country’s war of independence.
He quoted the words of former President Robert Mugabe and the late President of Mozambique, Samora Machel, who described General Tongogara as ‘always a very frank man, who spoke his mind,’ and a ‘simple soldier who grew in stature.’
“All in all, he was a Pan African soldier, committed to bring true liberation of Africans,” says President Mnangagwa.
He also said Cde Tongogara strongly yearned for the unity of ZANLA and ZIPRA and this culminated in his election as the leader of the joint command of the two liberation armies in Tanzania in 1962, in which he was deputised by Cde Rogers Alfred Nikita Mangena.
The widow of the late General Tongo, Cde Angeline said this is the biggest day in the history of her late husband.
She thanked President Mnangagwa and the ZDF Commander, General Constantino Chiwenga for the honour bestowed on her husband and the Tongogara family.
Mrs Tongogara added that it is sad that her husband died just after the liberation struggle and could not live to enjoy the fruits of what he sacrificed his life for.
General Tongogara, who was born in 1940 in Shurugwi, died on 26 December, 1979 just before independence in 1980.
Several barracks have been renamed and President Mnangagwa said several ZDF institutions will be named after Zimbabwe’s liberation icons such as Cde Mangena, Cde Herbert Chitepo and Cde Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo, among others.