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National hero, Brigadier General (Rtd) Epmarcus Walter Kanhanga, was a humble and measured man with a fine political mind who has left a legacy of love, peace and unity which should be cherish by all, people who knew him from close range said in separate interviews yesterday.
Brig-Gen Kanhanga (73) died in his sleep on Thursday last week at his rural home in Guruve, Mashonaland Central Province.
President Mnangagwa has since conferred Brig-Gen Kanhanga with national hero status and would be buried at the National Heroes Acre at a date to be announced.
A stalwart of the armed liberation struggle, Brig-Gen Kanhanga belonged to the pioneering crop of freedom fighters who ignited the decisive phase of the country’s struggle for independence.
Businessman and Bindura North legislator Cde Kenneth Musanhi, who knew Brig-Gen Kanhanga well since they were from the same province, Mashonaland Central, said the late was a man of the people who did not hesitate to engage everyone including those from lower social classes.
Cde Musanhi said he was devastated by the death of Brig-Gen Kanhanga, whom he described as a principled politician, who had an appetite for making the country a better place to live.
“He had a fine political mind and served his nation so well and was always in touch with the poor, helping them improve their lives,” said Cde Musanhi.
“I am proud to have known Brig-Gen Kanhanga for many years and the nation today is poorer without him. All the good things found on good people went with him.”
However, Cde Musanhi said Brig-Gen Kanhanga left a legacy of love, peace and unity, which the nation should cherish.
Mashonaland Central Zanu PF vice chairman Cde Christopher Magomo, who worked with Brig-Gen Kanhanga, said the late hero was “a fine gentleman”.
“It is sad that we have lost a cadre whose leadership credentials are unparalleled,” he said.
Cde Magomo said at the time of his death, Brig-Gen Kanhanga was working tirelessly in the province to ensure the ruling party’s victory in this year’s elections.
“We worked so closely with this fine gentleman, not showy but humble and full of jokes. The gap he has left is difficult to fill.”
Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Mazowe North Constituency Cde Campion Mugweni said apart from knowing him as a politician, he interacted with Brig-Gen Kanhanga in business circles for over 30 years.
His death is a sad unfortunate, not only for his family and province, but the nation at large, said Cde Mugweni.
“He was a very stable and solid person, a big listener who would give you sound advice whenever you approached him for guidance,” he said.
In his condolence message last week, President Mnangagwa described Brig-Gen Kanhanga as an icon of the liberation struggle.
The President said alongside key districts of Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Manicaland, Guruve and cadres such as Brig-Gen Kanhanga were instrumental in hosting early fighters who took the tempo of the struggle to a new, carefully cultivated level of a people’s war, after initial efforts by a courageous generation of founding cadres who had been trained and were active as small groups in the early 1960s.
“Guruve was singularly important in this second phase of our struggle. It saw early infiltrations by liberation fighters from both Zanla and Zipra, who used Zambia and parts of Mozambique as both rear and launching pads,” he said.
“Moved by the spirit of struggle and an ardent desire to free his people, Brigadier-General Kanhanga would be counted among this pioneering crop of cadres which ignited this decisive phase of our struggle. Our nation will forever salute and remember him and his brave comrades for this seminal role.”
President Mnangagwa said Brig-Gen was moved by the spirit of struggle and an ardent desire to free his people.
Born on January 6,1950, Brig-Gen Kanhanga went to school in Guruve before skipping the border for military training in the early 1970s.
After independence, Brig-Gen Kanhanga was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army, rising through the ranks until he attained the rank of Brigadier-General.
He saw action in various military missions in the region, including helping the country secure strategic routes to the sea.
On retirement from active service, he took up active politics.
He represented the ruling party in Parliament and was also a member of the Politburo.
At the time of his demise, he was a member of the Central Committee.
He was once appointed Deputy Minister of Tourism.
In addition, he also served on different boards such as Zimpapers and the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe.
He is survived by his wife and four children.
Mourners are gathered at number 33 Hyton Road, Mandara, Harare, while others are at his farm in Guruve.