General Solomon Mujuru, A True Hero
General Solomon Mujuru also known as Rex Nhongo was born in Chivhu, then Charter District, in 1945. Cde Mujuru attended Kwenda and Rufaro missions for his primary education and Zimuto Secondary School outside Masvingo.
His will was to liberate his country that his political activism saw him being arrested while in Form 3. In 1966, Cde Mujuru joined the liberation struggle, and he was imprisoned at Khami and then released in 1968. He skipped the country into Botswana and managed to travel to Lusaka, Zambia and then Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, now Russia where he was militarily trained.
He did further military training in Bulgaria, Egypt and Tanzania and in 1970 he was appointed to lead the group of 45 freedom fighters to cross into Zimbabwe from Mozambique's Tete province. That made him the first sectorial commander to lead a Zanla group of freedom fighters, responsible for the opening up of North-East zone of Zimbabwe.
In 1975 Cde Mujuru was in charge of all Zanla forces outside Mozambique. A year later he was appointed commander of the Zimbabwe People's Army (ZIPA). As part of the Zanla supreme command, Cde Mujuru was responsible for the liberation forces' entire military operations, supervision of deployment and movement of troops in Zimbabwe and coordinating the entire forces from a central command in Mozambique.
At independence the Zanla Commander became instrumental in the army leadership that helped to form the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. In 1981, he took over leadership of the army as a lieutenant general.
He was a man full of history of the liberation struggle that had seen him become second in command to the late General Josiah Magama Tongogara; he remained resolute to the principles of the liberation struggle.
As a natural successor to General Tongagara he was easily accepted by the comrades that made the bulk of the combined national army. General Mujuru took over the command of the Zimbabwe National Army after he was appointed Army Commander in 1981.
Peace and stability were critical for the emerging nation. Cde Mujuru achieved that with the expertise he had gained from years in the liberation struggle. He was later promoted to full general in 1992 before retiring to go into business. He went into politics after his retirement from active service in August 1992. The General was instrumental in the re-organisation of the war veterans advocating that they needed to be resettled to enter into productive farming. On August 31, 1992 General Mujuru ended his military service, which had brought him the danger but ultimately honour, to become a civilian.
In January 1995 Cde Mujuru was sworn in as Member of Parliament for Chikomba constituency. Cde Mujuru relinquished his seat in 2000 but remained a member of the Zanu-PF Central Committee and Politburo.
The late Cde Mujuru was a man of few words. Indeed action was what drove him, and rewarded him and his country. Cde Mujuru was also a businessman and partly owned River Ranch diamond mines.
Cde Mujuru was also a farmer of note and his farm in Beatrice, where he sadly lost his life, was a shining example of the success of indigenous people of Zimbabwe.
Although controversy sometimes stalked the veteran nationalist, in his business and in politics, he maintained a stately silence that won him respect, reverence and even awe. He never commented on newspaper stories, good or bad, right into his death.
Cde Mujuru had several achievements, including an honorary degree in law, appointment as a Grand Commander of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit, and medals for Ten Years of Exemplary Service, the Long Service Exemplary Award, and Lifetime Award in defence of Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
A dark cloud hangs over the country over the untimely death of the former Zimbabwe National Liberation Army chief of operations, former Zimbabwe National Army commander, former Chikomba Member of Parliament, a successful farmer and a businessman. The true story of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, independence and post-independence black empowerment cannot be complete without telling the vital role played by Cde Mujuru.
He was declared Zimbabwe National Hero without question. He will be buried at National hero’s acre on sat the 20th of August 2011. More questions are available than answers to what caused the fire? Why the fire brigade didn’t bring water with them? It is like solider going to war without a gun. Is there anyone to suspect? If yes who? These are just a few questions of many of which everyone asking.