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Bulawayo province seeks national hero status for Cde Malinga

Source: Bulawayo province seeks national hero status for Cde Malinga | Sunday News (local news)

Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter

THE Zanu-PF Bulawayo Province has applied for the conferment of national hero status on Special Advisor to the President and former senator and Bulawayo Mayor, Cde Joshua Teke Malinga who died on Friday evening. 

Cde Malinga, also a Zanu-PF Politburo member  succumbed to prostate cancer at his home in Richmond suburb, Bulawayo. He was 79. Speaking to Sunday News yesterday evening, the party’s provincial secretary for information, Cde Archibold Chiponda said a letter will be sent to the party headquarters in Harare today.


“We are done with the drafting of the letter. It is ready and I am sure it will be sent tomorrow (today). We were delayed by some administrative issues as some of our administrative staff members were out of town, it being a weekend,” he said.

Cde Chiponda said as a province, they were confident  that Cde Malinga will be given the honour given the sterling work he did for the country and the party. Sunday News yesterday visited the family home in Richmond where a number of senior party members visited to console the family. They spoke passionately about how the late Cde Malinga defied odds in the political and social spheres despite having a disability.

Politburo member Senator Molly Mpofu said although the necessary paperwork for his declaration as a national hero has been done, Cde Malinga was a deserving candidate who worked to earn the recognition. She said his service to the party and the country at large was immeasurable.

“He was very vocal and hardworking though he was disabled. You will know that he was the Mayor of Bulawayo and left it as clean as it was known to be. During his time there were no potholes and garbage that we are seeing under the opposition administration. It is important to note that the President did not just ceremoniously appoint him to various high-level positions but he was rewarding him for his hard work, dedication, and commitment towards improving the welfare of the disabled,” said Sen Mpofu.

Ambassador Zenzo Nsimbi described him as a brave man who spoke objectively and would not take sides.

“He worked in the party from district level and rose through the ranks because of his hard work. He was known for his bravery. During the time he was Mayor, he spoke objectively and at times issues that people feared talking about. I worked with him in the province, when he was treasurer, I was in the economic affairs department. I later succeeded him when he became Vice- Chairperson of the Province. We then both became Central Committee members before I was posted out of the country as Ambassador,” said Amb Nsimbi.

Vice-President Kembo Mohadi yesterday said he was deeply touched by the death of Cde Malinga.
“I am deeply touched by the sad news of the passing on of Cde Malinga. May the family accept my deepest sympathy following this untimely death. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time. Cde Malinga was the Presidential Advisor and Politburo member responsible for the physically challenged people and he was so passionate about his responsibility. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” he said in a statement.

His son Mr Mpehlabayo Joshua Malinga said one of his father’s greatest achievements was being a loving father who supported his children financially and emotionally even when they were now grown-ups.

“As the 10 children, we were very close to our father, we shared jokes, operated together, and politically we were colleagues. I must say he was a loving father. He did something that any other ordinary father would not do for his children even at our mature ages. All of his siblings including his children, we do not collectively match his achievements. He accomplished quite a lot in business, politically, academically and even among the disability community,” said Mr Malinga.

Cde Malinga was born on 20 April 1944 and was affected by polio at the age of two year, which affected his legs while in rural areas. While growing up, he was left to look after grain and ensure baboons did not invade the homestead in Filabusi, Matabeleland South province. He moved to Bulawayo at the age of 12 after one of his brothers suggested that he be enrolled at the Jairos Jiri Centre in Nguboyenja, Bulawayo. His brother later came through with the now late national hero, Cde Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu, who was a member of the family, and they took Cde Malinga to Jairos Jiri where he first trained as a cobbler. 

At the age of 14, Cde Malinga was identified as a very intelligent child as he spoke good English to the amusement of many. He then enrolled for his primary school and completed it in less than the stipulated period. He later went to Mpopoma High School where he passed with flying colours and proceeded to Bulawayo Polytechnic to study accounting. He worked at the Jairos Jiri Centre and rose through the ranks to top management before he was awarded a scholarship to study in the United Kingdom. After completing his studies, he came back and joined the Government income tax department.

Mpopoma High School

“My father later went on to establish businesses constructing several fuel service stations. He built the Pumula, Nkulumane, and Nketa service stations. He later on bought his farm in Filabusi in the 1980s. He also co-owned a lodge called Jabulani Safaris with JR Goddard in Shangani. He established himself as an accomplished businessman to an extent that he won the Businessman of the Year award nationally in 1995,” said Mr Mpehlabayo Malinga. 

He said during the liberation struggle, his disability enabled him to smuggle letters into prison as he visited nationalists who were incarcerated as he would sit on top of the letters on his wheelchair to avoid detection. As a young man, Cde Malinga was touched by how the blacks were treated by the whites leading him to join politics.

He became an activist and rose in politics to become a popular figure. Cde Malinga was later elected Ward 2 Councillor in the early 1990s and became Mayor in 1993 up to 1996 serving two terms. Cde Malinga also served as the president of the disabled in one of the United Nations disability bodies. He served in various portfolios for disability boards in and outside the country. He is survived by his wife, 10 children and several grandchildren. Mourners are gathered at number one Brooke Road, Richmond. – @nyeve14