Gen Tongogara was prophetic — Chiwenga
Fungai Lupande: Herald Reporter
The late veteran nationalist and national hero, General Josiah Magama Tongogara, who died 37 years ago, was yesterday described as an unparalleled prophet who foresaw Zimbabwe’s future. Gen Tongogara died on December 26, 1979 in Mozambique in a car accident.Speaking at Gen Tongogara’s commemoration at the National Heroes Acre, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Dr Constantino Chiwenga talked about his last telephone conversation with him.
“He was prophetic and whatever he said would come true, happen and came to pass. I don’t understand even up to now what kind of intelligence he was given,” he said. “He was prophetic and he predicted that on the day Zimbabwe becomes independent, he will not be able to go home, he will remain.
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“Some of you remember that when we launched the Tongogara Trust, I said these words that it was on December 4, 1979 as I was coming from Gaza going to Manica because he had called me and he said before you go I want to speak with you.
“We spoke for over an hour over the telephone. After discussing everything, he said these are my last words with you and I said what? And he said well, Muzorewa is giving us a lot of problems here, he is not a person to be trusted. But remember what I have said to you.
Gen Dr Chiwenga said he told Amai Tongogara about the conversation.
“The unity, which we have in the country, he predicted it. He said Zimbabwe is going to prosper, we shall have problems, but we shall have unity and surely we had unity in 1987. Whatever challenges we are facing as we speak today, he predicted them and we know how they will end.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, said Gen Tongogara was a remarkable political and military leader.
“He had a rare combination of a man with a vision and a strategist of the highest order within the leadership of our party and our liberation forces ZANLA, which he led,” he said.
“He was a man of strength. He was big in every respect. His principal characteristic as a leader, as a commander was that he was firm and fair.
“Once decisions were made he always insisted that they be respected and therefore his untimely departure was a great loss not only to the party, liberation forces, but to the entire country.”
Amai Angeline Kumbirai Tongogara, said her husband’s commemoration was a special day for her.
“Good deeds will never be forgotten. Today it’s a holiday, but people chose to be here to celebrate his life,” she said. “I feel respected. I lost my husband, but I know many people grieve with me and are happy with me because he is not forgotten.”
Nyaradzo Tongogara-Hamphilo, who was born three months after the death of Gen Tongogara, described her father as a great man who had a lot on his shoulders and made big national sacrifices.
“Today it’s Boxing Day, but we regard it as Tongogara Day because this is the day he left us after doing so much work for this country,” she said. “I feel robbed because I never met this man, I hear all these comrades that talk about him, hear my mother, my siblings got a chance to be with him.
“For him to leave his family to go and fight for a country, that is a lot and a great sacrifice because he was thinking of everybody and not himself and his family.”