The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) has described the late Retired General Solomon Mujuru as a unique character who loved to joke and was dedicated to duty before and after independence.
Commander of the ZDF, General Constantine Chiwenga, who was speaking during the military parade to honour Mujuru at 1 Commando Barracks in Harare on Thursday, took mourners down Mujuru’s life, describing him as a unique character.
Chiwenga said: “It’s with a heavy heart that I stand before you to bid farewell to a strategist par excellence, a principled leader and a visionary all rolled into one. He died in a horrific inferno at his farm and was the seventh child in a family of nine. When he was being introduced during the war, we were told that a war machine had been brought.”
Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had been conspicuous by his absence since Tuesday, on Thursday appeared at the military parade to honour Mujuru.
Mnangagwa is believed to be heading a faction opposed to the late Mujuru in the Zanu PF succession battle.
Earlier, service chiefs, among them Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda and Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perrence Shiri accompanied Mujuru’s remains in a maroon casket followed by Acting President Joice Mujuru and her four daughters. Only Chiwenga, Shiri and Sibanda laid flowers while Mujuru and other Cabinet ministers present watched the proceedings.
The only MDC official present was Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is expected from Angola today, has confirmed he will be attending Saturday’s burial at the National Heroes’ Acre .
Tsvangirai has reportedly said he had good working relations with the former military chief.
Mujuru’s remains are today expected to be taken to his rural home in Sadza, Chivhu District, and later to Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera before lying in state at his residence in Chisipite, Harare, ahead of burial at the national shrine on Saturday.