Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Acting President Joice Mujuru yesterday challenged Zimbabweans to jealously guard the country’s independence and that they should never betray the cause of the liberation struggle.
The Acting President said this while officiating at the burial of national hero and liberation war icon Cde Stanley Urayayi Sakupwanya at the National Heroes Acre.
Cde Sakupwanya died on Tuesday after his health deteriorated following a road accident in 2010.
Cde Mujuru said freedom did not come on a silver platter as many people sacrificed their lives to free the country from the racist regime of Ian Smith that favoured the white minority.
“We must totally commit ourselves to a continuous process of guarding jealously that independence so that our country will forever be politically and economically free,” said Cde Mujuru.
“As we gather here today, and many other times that we come to this National Heroes Acre, let us give ourselves time to reflect on the long and difficult road that our comrades walked to independence and the challenge they leave us with, that is the challenge to defend and safeguard that independence.
“All that these gallant sons and daughters ask of us is that at least, we do not betray them and all that they fought for, through our own acts of omission or commission.”
Cde Mujuru described Cde Sakupwanya as a dedicated and dependable cadre who devoted his entire life to serving his country.
Although Cde Sakupwanya had a rich and decorated political history, Cde Mujuru said he chose to live a humble life.
“Not once after independence did he ever get to the rooftop and shout about his liberation credentials nor his positions in the party, always humble and respectful to the leadership of the party and obedience was his key word,” she said.
“That is the discipline we talk about in Zanu-PF.
“Cde Sakupwanya remained very modest. There are many like him, men and women who moved our struggle and made great sacrifices for our independence, but who have moved on in life without attracting attention to themselves or going about beating their chests that they liberated this country.
“We are servants of the people and not elected or appointed to be served, and this, we must always remember.”
Cde Mujuru said Government had not forgotten the contribution made by liberation war fighters in pursuit of the country’s independence.
As such, she said Government was striving to improve their welfare as the economy improved.
Cde Mujuru described Cde Sakupwanya as a great nationalist whose legacy would be forever cherished.
She said Cde Sakupwanya was a great revolutionary par excellence who was committed to his work.
“Our liberation struggle needed young people of Cde Sakupwanya’s character and revolutionary disposition, political cadres who were straight forward, trustworthy and morally forthright,” she said.
“The struggle needed cadres who knew and believed in the mission they set out to accomplish, cadres like Cde Sakupwanya who subordinated themselves to the party leadership during those days in exile in Zambia, Uganda and back home after independence.”
Cde Mujuru said Cde Sakupwanya executed all his duties with equal measure.
He was born on May 14, 1939 in Bulawayo to Estella and Steven Urayayi Sakupwanya.
He grew up in Bulawayo and did his primary education at St Columbus Primary School before proceeding to Moeng College in Botswana.
He left Rhodesia in 1963 and was deployed by the party to the Soviet Union to study medicine in preparation for future tasks.
Cde Sakupwanya completed medical studies in 1971 and was recalled to Zambia and later redeployed to Uganda.
On leaving the Soviet Union, he went to Uganda where he worked as a medical doctor at Kilembe Mines.
Cde Sakupwanya was later made the party’s representative in Uganda, taking over from Cde Simon Khaya Moyo upon the latter’s recall to Lusaka, Zambia as special assistant to the late Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.
He was recalled to Lusaka to assist with the critical medical requirements after bombings by the Rhodesian forces.
At ceasefire, Cde Sakupwanya was deployed with the advance team to integrate the guerrillas into one force to form the Zimbabwe National Army.
He was co-opted into the medical corps and served in 1 Commando Regiment, retiring later on as Colonel, in 1986 after receiving various decorations. He then went into private medical practice in Rusape.
Cde Sakupwanya played a major role in the integration of Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu into a united Zanu-PF.
He became a member of the united Zanu-PF Central Committee and later on a member of the Politburo until his untimely demise.
Cde Sakupwanya was Zanu-PF’s Secretary for the Welfare of the Disabled and People Living with Disabilities at the time of his death.
He is survived by 11 children and 15 grandchildren.