Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday led Sadc member-states attending the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in mourning decorated southern African liberation war icon, Brigadier General Hashim Mbita of Tanzania, who died last Sunday. He was 81.
President Mugabe, who is also the chairperson of Sadc, said the late Brig-Gen Mbita had played a pivotal role in the liberation of many countries in the region.
“It was with a deep sense of sorrow and sadness that we received the news of the passing on of Brigadier General Hashim Mbita. We all know the role that he played under the liberation committee, to superintend the programme of the struggle, struggles indeed led by various groups or organisations that were assembled in Tanzania and located in various places to plan their programmes and execute them.
“It was he, the overall seer working under Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and the Government of Tanzania, who oversaw the formation of our organisations, the programmes of our organisation, the search for the materials that we needed where and how we could get them, type programmes of the training very crucial for the cadres learning to use the gun for the first time and the deployment that was required,” he said.
President Mugabe said Rtd Brig Gen Mbita managed to execute the onerous task of mobilising resources to fight colonialism.
“It was a very formidable task indeed but he managed it all. The fact that we are now what we are, a free people, independent running freely, our own political systems—no longer with the racism here of the Rhodesian settlers in South Africa the apartheid systems of the Afrikaners, that achievement he could claim to have been not just ours but his as well,” he said.
President Mugabe added that Brig-Gen Mbita who once served as Tanzania’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, had been ill for some time.
“Hashim fell ill and has been suffering for a very long time, bed ridden and ailing but finally a few days ago the Almighty called him,” he said.
During the liberation struggle, Rtd Brig Gen Mbita was made Executive Secretary of the Liberation Committee of the OAU tasked with working with liberation movements in Southern Africa and mobilising resources both militarily and materially.