Huge send off for national hero Malinga ahead of burial today Pallbearers carry the casket bearing the body of national hero Cde Joshua Malinga at Charles Gumbo Barracks in Harare yesterday ahead of his burial at the National Heroes Acre today. - Picture Innocent Makawa

Ivan Zhakata Herald Correspondent

THE body of national hero and Zanu PF Politburo member, Cde Joshua Teke Malinga, who succumbed to prostate cancer last Friday aged 79, was flown from Bulawayo to Harare yesterday ahead of burial at the National Heroes Acre today.

The body arrived at Manyame Airbase and was taken to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ funeral palour at Charles Gumbo Barracks where it lay in state before interment this morning.

Earlier in Bulawayo before the body was transferred to the capital, thousands of people paid tribute to Cde Malinga at his funeral service held at the city’s Amphitheatre.

The former Mayor of Bulawayo was feted for his tireless efforts to improve the welfare of people living with disabilities whose life work also revolved around the empowerment of all people.

At the time of his death, Cde Malinga was a Special Advisor to the President on Disability Issues.

In her remarks during the service, Bulawayo Minister for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Cde Judith Ncube said Cde Malinga opened the floodgates for people with disabilities to be recognised as contributors to the national economy, instead of being beggars who live on handouts.

“It is a dark day for the city of Bulawayo following the death of a nationalist stalwart who fought for the rights of the minority. The honour given to Cde Malinga is befitting considering the role he played in uplifting previously marginalised citizens,” said Minister Ncube.

The minister said Cde Malinga was a principled man and a champion for special interest groups.

“He was instrumental in setting up the Disability Act of 1992. He lived a purpose-filled life and I challenge everyone to live a purpose-filled life,” she said.

The Disability Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, education, publicly available premises, provision of goods and services, accommodation, clubs and associations, and other contexts.

“We should uplift each other and this is what Cde Malinga lived to do. As a province, we are saddened by the death of Cde Malinga. We acknowledge the works that Cde Malinga did to develop this country. We should remain united as President Mnangagwa has reiterated to us. He was a peacemaker and unifier. I want to express my heartfelt condolences to the Malinga family and I want to assure you that we are in this together,” said Minister Ncube.

She expressed gratitude to President Mnangagwa for establishing an office for those living with disabilities.

Speaking in Harare on behalf of the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Major General (Rtd) Gerald Gwinji, Director of Finance and Administration, Mr Eaxvier Chisoko, said all was in place for the burial.

“Tomorrow morning we will come and pick up the body for burial at the National Heroes Acre and we expect everyone to be seated by 8am. The programme will go as prescribed by the Government,” he said.

Cde Malinga died last Friday at the Malinga family home in Richmond, Bulawayo.

He was born on April 20, 1944, in Filabusi. Cde Malinga was born able-bodied and was attacked by polio at a very young age. He studied at Mpopoma High School from 1962 to 1965.

Cde Malinga became a victim of the Rhodesian racist discriminatory system as he struggled to get employed, with white counterparts who held similar qualifications as him being absorbed by the industry.

This prompted the late national hero, Jairos Jiri, the founder of the Jairos Jiri Association, to give Cde Malinga a life-transforming opportunity which allowed him to travel across the world enabling him to have first-hand experiences in the treatment of people with disabilities.

Apart from championing issues pertaining to disability, Cde Malinga was elected into office as a Councillor for Ward 2 in 1987.

He served as a councillor from 1987 to 1991, then from 1991 to 1993, and 1993 to 1995.

Cde Malinga was also elected deputy mayor for the 1992 to 1993 municipal year and installed on August 19, 1992.

He served as mayor of the city of Bulawayo from 1993 to 1994 and 1994 to 1995 municipal years.

During his term of office, Cde Malinga served in numerous council committees including the health, housing, amenities and liquor committee, the general purposes committee, the town lands and planning committee and the finance committee among others.

Cde Malinga also represented the City of Bulawayo in various outside bodies and committees including the Local Authorities Pension Fund Management Committee from 1991 to 1992, Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe Executive Committee from 1992 to 1993 and 1994 to 1995, Matabeleland North Provincial Council from 1992 to 1993 and 1994 to 1995, Municipality of Bulawayo Medical Aid Society Management Committee from 1992 to 1993.

He was also part of the Bulawayo 100 years Celebrations Committee from 1993 to 1994, Bulawayo Round Table No.3 from 1993 to 1994 and 1994 to 1995, the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe from 1993 to 1994, Bulawayo Municipal Provident Fund Management Committee from 1993 to 1994; Employment Council from 1993 to 1994 and 1994 to 1995, and the Esigodini Ncema Conservation from 1993 and 1994, and 1994 to 1995.

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