The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Ge­orge Maponga Masvingo Bu­reau

GREAT Zim­babwe Uni­ver­sity yes­ter­day awarded Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa an Hon­orary Doc­tor­ate of Pol­i­tics and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions (Hon­oris Causa) dur­ing its 12th grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

The Pres­i­dent was on Wed­nes­day con­ferred with an Hon­orary Doc­tor­ate of Law by the Uni­ver­sity of Zim­babwe.

In a ci­ta­tion ac­com­pa­ny­ing the con­fer­ment of the hon­orary doc­tor­ate to the Pres­i­dent at Great Zim­babwe Uni­ver­sity, for­mer Mid­lands State Uni­ver­sity Vice Chan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus Ng­wabi Bhebhe said the Pres­i­dent de­served recog­ni­tion for the role he played in shap­ing the coun­try’s his­tory.

Prof Bhebhe said Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa over­came many chal­lenges in his strug­gle to cre­ate a free and just Zim­babwe af­ter colo­nial rule.

“His Ex­cel­lency more than de­serves this high­est hon­our and dis­tinc­tion that Great Zim­babwe Uni­ver­sity be­stows upon any­one in recog­ni­tion of an in­di­vid­ual’s strik­ing and un­par­al­leled achieve­ment or con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety,” he said. “Such il­lus­tri­ous and dis­tin­guished in­di­vid­u­als come rarely in any so­ci­ety and we are for­tu­nate to have one in the per­son of Em­mer­son Dam­budzo Mnan­gagwa.”

Prof Bhebhe said Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa de­fied his hum­ble back­ground and rose to be­come a tow­er­ing fig­ure in the his­tory of Zim­babwe’s lib­er­a­tion strug­gle af­ter be­ing among a cast of the first group of young peo­ple to skip the coun­try’s bor­ders and un­dergo mil­i­tary train­ing to con­front the set­tler regime.

“His in­domitable for­ti­tude saw him en­dure ex­cru­ci­at­ing, bru­tal tor­ture and se­vere hard­ships of colo­nial im­pris­on­ment,” he said. “Most of the time he served his prison sen­tence, he lived in a D cell, a cu­bi­cle al­most the size of a big kitchen re­frig­er­a­tor.’’

Prof Bhebhe said the Pres­i­dent over­came the chal­lenges cul­mi­nat­ing in his ad­mis­sion to the Bar of the High Court in Zam­bia in 1976.

He was later to serve for­mer pres­i­dent Mr Robert Mu­gabe with dis­tinc­tion af­ter his ap­point­ment as his as­sis­tant dur­ing the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle.

Prof Bhebhe said Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa showed his po­lit­i­cal skills when he suc­cess­fully su­per­in­tended over the in­te­gra­tion of war­ring armies, namely Zanla, Zipra and Rhode­sian forces, to cre­ate one uni­fied army that de­vel­oped to be­come the envy of Africa and be­yond.

“Cde Mnan­gagwa has held sev­eral min­is­te­rial posts start­ing with that of State Se­cu­rity,” said prof Bhebhe. “That was a post that brought him face to face with apartheid South Africa, a pariah state which sought to pre­serve its do­mes­tic colo­nial op­pres­sion of Africans by means of mil­i­tary desta­bil­i­sa­tion of its neigh­bours.

“It is a chap­ter of our his­tory which left us with deep scars and bruises.’’

Prof Bhebhe said Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa de­served to be hon­oured as a fierce op­po­nent of the death penalty, a stance that saw him re­frain­ing from sign­ing death sen­tences when he was Min­is­ter of Jus­tice.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa es­caped the gal­lows dur­ing the Rhode­sian era af­ter bomb­ing a train in 1965.

The sen­tence was com­muted to 10 years on ac­count of his young age.

Prof Bhebhe said Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa was a tol­er­ant leader, who kept his cool de­spite be­ing pub­licly tor­mented by his de­trac­tors be­fore he even­tu­ally as­sumed the pres­i­dency.

‘“Once in power, His Ex­cel­lency set about end­ing Zim­babwe’s iso­la­tion and re-in­vent­ing our pol­i­tics, plac­ing the econ­omy at the heart of our na­tional nar­ra­tive with the mantra ‘‘Zim­babwe is open of busi­ness’. He com­mit­ted his Govern­ment to elim­i­nat­ing all forms of cor­rup­tion and to re-en­gage the West and the rest of the world in an ef­fort to achieve na­tional eco­nomic re­cov­ery,” he said.

Prof Bhebhe said Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa showed the world that he was a leader with rare for­ti­tude af­ter promis­ing free and fair elec­tions and kept the prom­ise by lead­ing the coun­try to ar­guably the most peace­ful polls in post-in­de­pen­dent Zim­babwe on July 30.

He said Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa also showed bold lead­er­ship by ap­point­ing a Com­mis­sion of In­quiry to probe the Au­gust 1 po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said he was hum­bled by the recog­ni­tion from GZU.

He noted that his past and fu­ture con­tri­bu­tion to Zim­babwe was not about ac­claim.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said there were many unsung he­roes who sac­ri­ficed their lives for Zim­babwe to be what it is to­day.

“Ours was for the love of our coun­try and mo­ti­vated by the de­sire to see a bet­ter qual­ity of life of all the peo­ple of this great land,’’ he said. ‘’I re­ceive this award, there­fore, fully cog­nisant of this rich her­itage, which this uni­ver­sity, the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor and the coun­try in gen­eral must re­claim, re­vive and re­store.

“Our na­tional con­fi­dence, pride, bold­ness and de­ter­mi­na­tion must be re-ig­nited once again, as we jour­ney to­wards the mod­erni­sa­tion and in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion of our coun­try to at­tain Vi­sion 2030.”

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa em­pha­sised love, unity, peace and free­dom.

Higher and Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion, Science and Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pro­fes­sor Amon Mur­wira paid trib­ute to Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa for guid­ing the coun­try to­wards the use of her­itage-based science to de­velop the econ­omy.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa is as­sisted by Great Zim­babwe Uni­ver­sity regis­trar Mrs Sinikiwe Gwatidzo to put on his aca­demic re­galia dur­ing a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony yes­ter­day

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