BY SILAS NKALA/RICHARD MUPONDE
ZIMBABWE National Army (ZNA) commander, Lieutenant General Edzai Chimonyo died yesterday morning after a long battle with cancer.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa confirmed his death.
“It is true that he has passed on. Unfortunately, I cannot comment further as I am at a funeral,” she said.
Earlier, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba posted on his Twitter handle that Chimonyo succumbed to cancer.
“Devastated to announce the passing on of General Chimonyo early this morning after a long fight against cancer! Go well freedom fighter, commander and ambassador,” Charamba tweeted.
Last December, Chimonyo was flown to India for treatment.
Chimonyo was appointed ZNA commander in December 2018, taking over from General Philip Valerio Sibanda, who was promoted to the post of Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander.
Meanwhile, rights groups yesterday blasted the late Chimonyo for his part as one of the commanders of the dreaded Fifth Brigade which was responsible for the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, where more than 20 000 civilians were massacred.
They said it was sad that he had died without coming clean on his part in the atrocities.
Human rights activist Effie Ncube said: “It is a pity that the commanders of the Fifth Brigade that masterminded the Gukurahundi genocide are dying without telling the truth to the victims and survivors.
“Government can do the right thing and provide the platform that will ensure that truth and justice is served to the people while the perpetrators, victims and survivors are also still alive.”
He said Chimonyo ran the Bhalagwe Concentration Camp in Kezi, Matabeleland South province, and his death signalled denial of justice to the Gukurahundi victims and survivors.
Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo said: “It is sad that he has died before going to court to explain his role in the 1980s genocide. We would have loved to see those who were active during the genocide also facing their day in court, but since nature has taken its course, he must never rest in peace.”
Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation director Mthulisi Hanana said the victims of Gukurahundi were unhappy that those that killed their parents and relatives were dying without accounting for the atrocities.
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