Columbus Mabika Herald Reporter
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA)’s, Colonel Dennis Pahla, who was declared Liberation war hero was yesterday buried at his Riverside Farm in Banket.
Col Pahla ,whose Chimurenga name was Cde Kid Nyikandeyedu, died on Monday at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals from injuries sustained in a road traffic accident, which occurred when the car he was travelling in rolled over into Gwebi River along the Harare Chinhoyi Road.
He was 64. In a graveside speech, read on her behalf by Mr Walter Hwaira, the Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Development, Cde Mary Mliswa-Chikoka described the late Col Pahla as a decorated commander whose vision was to inspire national development.
“The late colonel whose contribution to the liberation struggle is will be sadly missed. He was a cadre whose mind was centered on national building and development. He served in the ZNA in various capacities with distinction,” she said.
“The man we are laying to rest today was no ordinary man but a true revolutionary and comrade. He gave up a promising teaching career in the colonial education system in response to the growing consciousness about the freedom of his country. In pursuit of that he went on to fight for the freedom we enjoy today. He committed his whole life to serving Zimbabwe and fought to defend her interests. He made valuable contributions to the liberation of Zimbabwe and played a pivotal role in nation building during the post-Independence period. Above all, he remained focused and steadfast in the face of neo-colonial machinations by our detractors.”
ZNA Brigadier General Staff, Brig Gen Steven Gwekwerere, said Zimbabweans need to be reminded of the supreme sacrifices made by the gallant sons and daughters of the soil to liberate this country from colonial bondage.
“As we pay our last respects to the late gallant son of the soil, we must not forget the sacrifices he and other heroes and heroines made for the freedom of our motherland, Zimbabwe. We must defend what they stood and fought for, we must defend Zimbabwe’’s independence and sovereignty at all costs. We must uphold the principles and values that the late colonel has left us. The late Colonel Pahla will be remembered for his immense contribution to the Liberation Struggle. Indeed, he was a selfless team player and a true revolutionary cadre,” he said.
“To the late Colonel Dennis Pahla, we say we surely know what it means not to have you now as the standards you set may be unassailable especially to those who lack the strength, spirit and resilience. You raised the bar of patriotism and all that matters to us now is obedience to our great nation of Zimbabwe.”
Col Pahla was born on 17 October 1957 in Chipinge and attended primary education at Madhuklu, Manzire and later Rimai primary schools.
He then proceeded to Chikore Mission for secondary education, where he failed to write his Ordinary Level examinations as the liberation war had escalated in his home area as the Rhodesian forces had increased their patrols into the area following incursion by ZANLA combatants crossing the border from neighbouring Mozambique.
The late Col Pahla subsequently moved to Mutare where he stayed for some months before he crossed the border to join the liberation struggle in Mozambique in 1975.
This was after ZANLA forces had attacked Mutare. Accompanied by a friend, the two crossed the border into Mozambique at Mary mount Mission.
In 1976, the late Colonel was selected to undergo military training in Tanzania and was flown to Nachingweya via Mutwara Airport where he was part of the Songambele group of 5000 ZANLA recruits. After training in 1977, Col Pahla was deployed in Tete province, Detachment ‘B’ of the Chitepo sector inside Zimbabwe then Rhodesia where he operated as a rifleman and rose through the ranks to become section Political Commissar, section Commander before he was elevated to Detachment Commander. At ceasefire in 1979, he went to Echo (Luwanga) Assembly Point from where he subsequently joined the ZNA on independence in 1980. Col Pahla served in various capacities in the ZNA rising through the ranks to colonel- the rank he held until the time of his untimely death. For his illustrious military career, Col Pahla was awarded the following medals- the Liberation Medal, Independence Medal, Ten Years’’, formation Service Medal Long and Exemplary Service Medal and Mozambique Campaign Medal. He is survived by his son, Ngonidzashe Pahla.