Condolence Message by His Excellency the President, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, following the passing on of Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo, 8th July, 2021.
The death this morning of our Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Lieutenant-General Edzai Absalom Chakanyuka Chimonyo, after a long battle with cancer, is a devastating blow to our Nation.
A veteran freedom fighter, commander and diplomat, Major General Chimonyo was a decorated career soldier who was moulded in the heat of our protracted Liberation Struggle which he joined from school to become a veteran freedom fighter from a tender age. After absconding from the then Rhodesia, the late Lieutenant-General Chimonyo would train in the art of war in our bases both in Mozambique and Tanzania where he stood out as a tough and brave freedom fighter, and later as a key instructor.
During the struggle, he was instrumental in opening many war fronts in the then Rhodesia, thus ensuring the embattled Ian Smith Regime suffered countless reverses which would eventually soften it for talks that yielded our Independence in 1980.
Never to shirk from the call of national duty, the late General would attest into the newly integrated national army as a senior officer. In that capacity, he played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the delicate integration process which united the hitherto warring armies of Rhodesia and our Patriotic Front Forces.
Thereafter, he assumed several command positions in the Army, each time steadily rising up the rungs until he attained generalship. In his various positions of command, he led units of our forces in Mozambique, Somalia and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when the Zimbabwe Defence Forces were called upon to stabilise troubled situations in our Southern African Region, and on our African Continent. The numerous staff courses he successfully attended here and abroad made him an astute commander and very competent administrator of military affairs.
General Chimonyo would take a break from his military career to temporarily join the then Ministry of Foreign Affairs as our Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania, itself a key rear-base during our Liberation Struggle.
This posting reflected on his importance as a key and trusted cadre we could rely upon to discharge crucial and sensitive missions on behalf of our Government.
With the advent of the Second Republic, I, without any hesitation, raised him to the position of Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, an appointment and trust which he vindicated through absolute loyalty and dedicated commitment to duty and to his country. In him, we have lost a rare cadre, freedom fighter, an exceptional commander and prized son of the Nation who inspired our men and women in uniform. He will be sorely missed.
On behalf of the Party, ZANU-PF, Government, and as Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, I wish to express my deepest, heartfelt condolences to the Chimonyo Family, and to his children especially who have lost a loving father and mentor.
My heart also goes out to all the officers, men and women he commanded who today grieve at his passing on. General Chimonyo will live in our hearts, and in the hearts of all those comrades he shared the trenches with, both before and after our Independence.
May his dear soul rest in eternal peace.