NO decision has been taken on a 2012 proposal to rename the national army headquarters in Harare after Zanla chief and liberation war hero General Josiah Magama Tongogara, it emerged Thursday.
The revelation was made during events to mark the 34th anniversary of Tongogara’s death in a car crash on December 26, 1979 in Mozambique, days before the Lancaster House talks which ended the war leading to independence in 1980.
None of the Zanu PF presidium attended the event with defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi’s speech read by air-force chief, Air Marshal Perrance Shiri.
Among those present at the commemorations were Tongogara’s family, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, his deputy Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, and service chiefs.
In his speech, Sekeramayi revealed that no decision had been made on last year’s proposal by defence forces head, General Constantine Chiwenga, to rename the King George VI Barracks – where the event was held – in honour of the late Zanla chief.
“It is very unfortunate that today’s commemorations are being held before the final decision is made but I am quite positive that the proposals that were made by Gen Chiwenga will see the light of day,” Sekeramayi said.
The minister also revealed that the site of Tongogara’s fatal crash in Mozambique was only marked by a poll and dagga clinic built by the locals.
“As government we may also want to recognise the great work by the Mozambican locals who have built a pole and dagga clinic at the accident site in memory of Cde Tongo by building a proper clinic and drilling a borehole which the foundation is contemplating,” he said.
“He played an important role in unifying Zipra and Zanla forces in the fight against the Rhodesian forces. Tongogara taught us how to work and relate with the public,” he said.
Major-Gen Douglas Nyikayaramba added: “His death was as if the world had come to an end. Losing such a commander was very difficult to fathom.
“We need to celebrate the greatness of Gen. Tongogara together with the family. We believe we should join them every year on this particular day to perpetuate the objectives for which Gen. Tongogara sacrificed his life.”