Today the nation lays to rest General Solomon Mujuru, one of the greatest patriots the nation has ever known.
The life and works of this man are a testimony of what genuine patriotism is.
General Mujuru’s life typifies that authentic patriotism benefits the nation.
The humble General did not, like many of our former liberation fighters and politicians, take patriotism as a phenomenon for stimulating dangerous nationalism, preventing fruitful policy debates and directing the nation towards a destructive path with reckless abandon.
He did not usurp real patriotism through rhetorical sloganeering to mask flawed policies that create strife for the ordinary citizen.
General Mujuru was not in the habit of using catchphrases such as “patriotism”, “sovereignty”, “imperialists”, “puppets”, “empowerment”, among others, to promote self-interests.
Although he was a key figure in the liberation of this country from racist rule, he did not regard himself as better than others — that is why he fitted into civilian life with ease.
The modest General did not take dissent as unpatriotic and this enabled him to tolerate diverse political views. He was not known for calling names against those who held different political views from his.
General Mujuru understood that those who dissented were exercising one of the most fundamental human rights in a democracy— the right to dissent.
He was not wont to impose his will on the majority simply because he had played a key role in liberating this country. He was a man who understood that true liberty is living as one should and not as one pleases.
His life defined that patriotism is considering the life of others as well as his own.
From the days of the liberation struggle till the tragic end to his life, the General exhibited to everyone that patriotism is respecting the will of the people and not the pursuit of narrow individual interests.
Unlike some false patriots among us who think that the bedrock of patriotism is egotism and arrogance, General Mujuru remained meek to the time of his death.
He did not go about provoking and terrorising innocent people in villages and high-density suburbs.
He might have had his own faults like all of us, but he was one of those few high-profile figures in our society whom most will remember for the good they did.
He was a man who had the opportunity to stand at the highest pedestal to glorify his works and deeds, but he chose to remain simple, almost unnoticeable, when he retired from active army service and mainstream politics.
He did not direct people’s attention towards his great works — there was no need for they spoke for themselves.
General Mujuru did not give the concept of patriotism a bad name.
Rather, through his life and deeds, he corrected the wrong notion of patriotism exhibited by most of his compatriots today.
Rest in peace, son of the soil.