The Sunday Mail
Present and future generations have to tap into the country’s rich cultural system and moral compass that inspired the generation that took up arms to defeat colonialism and use them as an inspiration to contribute to “the present development epoch for a better Zimbabwe”, President Mnangagwa has said.
Zimbabweans, he said, should remain peaceful and reject divisive elements bent on pursuing neo-colonial interests at the expense of unity and development.
Addressing multitudes at the burial of Brigadier-General Charles Kaneta at the National Heroes Acre in Harare yesterday, the President said it was now time for everyone to demonstrate unquestionable national character and patriotism.
“Let us continue to expose and reject those groupings pursuing selfish, divisive and neo-colonial interests at the expense of our national unity, peace, progress and prosperity,” he said.
“The rich cultural system and moral compass that saw cadres such as the late national hero, Brigadier-General Kaneta, join and wage the protracted armed struggle should inspire present and future generations in the present development epoch for a better Zimbabwe.
“Now is the time for everyone to demonstrate the unquestionable national character and patriotism, especially against global predators and their local proxies who are bent on stifling our modernisation and development.”
Zimbabweans were reminded that peaceful elections and stability required for national development are only possible if the nation puts aside political differences.
“Across the political and socio-economic spectrum, we must never allow our political contestations to degenerate into violence and hate,” said President Mnangagwa.
“I commend churches and all religious organisations for praying and interceding for our nation, as well as other national institutions that are advancing peace, harmony and prosperity.”
His administration, President Mnangagwa also said, owes the ongoing drive to modernise and industrialise the country to national heroes such as Brig-Gen Kaneta, who made sacrifices to liberate the country and its people.
“As we pay our last respects to the late gallant son of the soil, Cde Kaneta, we must never forget the sacrifices he and other heroes and heroines made for the freedom of our motherland,” he said.
“In their honour, my Administration will continue to implement policies, programmes and projects that guarantee a better and more prosperous life for the people of Zimbabwe. Step by step, brick by brick and stone upon stone, we are progressively building our nation.”
Brig-Gen Kaneta, whose Chimurenga name was Cde Santana Tongai, is one of the young people who sacrificed their education and chose to fight for freedom and Independence.
“He was part of those cadres who vowed to liberate Zimbabwe rather than live a life of servitude in their rightful birthright land under a colonially exploitative and racist Rhodesian settler administration,” said the President.
“In the late Brigadier-General Kaneta, Zimbabwe has lost a liberation war icon and an exemplary General Officer who served in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces with distinction, unflinching patriotism, exceptional loyalty and bravery.
“His strong willpower to fight for the liberation of our country and defend its sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity and national assets will remain etched in the history of our motherland, Zimbabwe, for posterity.”
Brig-Gen Kaneta was described as a brilliant military instructor who trained a number of decorated freedom fighters, some of whom are still serving in Government.
“His contribution to the armed liberation struggle stands out in our rich liberation history, especially his prowess as a military instructor par excellence,” he said.
“In post-Independent Zimbabwe, the late General remained focused and steadfast in the face of sinister neo-imperial machinations by our country’s detractors.”
Brig-Gen Kaneta was born on October 2, 1958 under Chief Ngorima in Chimanimani District, Manicaland Province.
He enrolled at Hlabiso Primary School and Biriri Secondary School between 1965 to 1975.
On August 30, 1975, the crossed into Mozambique from his home village in Honde Valley to join the liberation struggle.
In March 1976, he received his initial military training at Mapinduzi under Monomotapa Company.
Upon completion of the initial military training in October 1976, he was selected to specialise in the 75mm Recoilless Rifle and became an outstanding instructor.
Whilst at Mapinduzi, he was key in the training of several comrades in the 75 mm Recoilless Rifle together with the likes of Cde Zitterson Zuluka.
He served in that capacity until early 1977 when he was selected to undergo further military training at Nanjing Military Academy in the then-Peking City (now Beijing) in the People’s Republic of China.
While at Nanjing, the late General received training covering military theory and tactics at infantry battalion level, communication as well as engineering.
He was later awarded a diploma by the Military and Political Cadre’s Academy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Nanjing Unit, upon completion of his training.
On returning to Mozambique at the end of 1977, he was redeployed at Takawira Base Two, where he joined the Instructors Team.
Throughout the period leading up to 1978, the late Brig-General was involved in operations in Manica Province as a Detachment Commander under the leadership of the late national hero, Major- General Paradzai Zimondi.
In the same year, he was re-deployed to Tembwe Base Two as an instructor under the leadership of Colonel (Rtd) T Dzinzi, who was a training officer and member of the General Staff.
Brig-Gen Kaneta was later re-deployed back to Mozambique and subsequently selected to undergo specialised military training in Syria.
In March 1981, he was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army.
At the time of his death on September 10, aged 63, Brig-Gen Kaneta was serving as Director General Logistics at the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Headquarters.
Yesterday, family spokesperson Colonel Patrick Kaneta (Retired) thanked the Government for honouring Brig-Gen Kaneta.