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Thousands of Zimbabweans are today expected to throng the National Heroes’ Acre for the burial of Major-General Eliah Bandama who died in Harare last Friday.

Maj-Gen Bandama (56) was the Commander of 3 Infantry Brigade in Mutare.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokesperson Colonel Overson Mugwisi said yesterday that Maj-Gen Bandama had been promoted from Brigadier-General on July 10, a day before he passed on at West End Hospital and was declared a national hero.

According to a provisional programme gleaned by The Herald, the body will leave One Commando Barracks, where it lay in State, at 7.30am for viewing at Stodart Hall in Mbare and burial is expected to take place at 11am at the National Heroes Acre.

Harare Metropolitan Provincial Affairs Minister Miriam Chikukwa yesterday urged people from all walks of life to throng the national shrine to bid farewell to Maj-Gen Bandama.

“We have lost not only a soldier, but a national liberator,” Minister Chikukwa said. “We expect people to come out in their numbers and bid farewell to the gallant son of the soil.

“People should be at the usual pick up points by 6am and we urge those with private vehicles to assist people who intend to be at the national shrine.”

Harare acting provincial administrator Mr Alfred Tome, said Maj-Gen Bandama, whose Chimurenga name was Spins Nhamoyesango, deserved a resounding send off.

“This is a sorrowful path we are walking through with a dark cloud hovering over Zimbabwe, but let us come and celebrate the contributions and sacrifices made by Cde Bandama in liberating this country,” he said.

Minister Chikukwa later addressed mourners in Marlborough where she urged Maj-Gen Bandama’s family to remain g and carry on with the legacy he left. Family spokesperson and brother to Maj-Gen Bandama, Mr Owen Bandama said: “He was a pillar in the family who touched many members in a significant way.

“Our family structure can never be the same with that pillar gone. We thank Government for honouring his contributions during and after the liberation struggle.”

Born on December 1, 1958, in Chipinge, Maj-Gen Bandama did his secondary education at Chikore Mission. He left the then Rhodesia for Mozambique en-route to Zambia and Tanzania in 1975, after earlier on being jailed in Chipinge and Mutare for striking against racist school authorities.

While in Mozambique, Maj-Gen Bandama was arrested together with colleagues on suspicion of being British South Africa Police agents.

They were transferred to Posto Machazi as prisoners where they met other Zimbabweans, with their numbers rapidly increasing until there were 6 000 of them.

They were addressed by President Mugabe and after that Maj-Gen Bandama was able to enter several military training camps.

At Chomupani Camp in 1977, he sustained injuries on his knee and thighs following multiple shots by Rhodesian helicopter gunships. He was later chosen to undergo further military training in China and at ceasefire, Maj-Gen Bandama was among the first group selected to form the Zimbabwe National Army.

In 2005, he was appointed commandant of the Zimbabwe Military Academy before he was posted to Army Headquarters three years later as Colonel (Staff General Branch).

In 2010, he was promoted to Brig-Gen and appointed commander 4 Infantry Brigade after which he was moved to 3 Infantry Brigade in the same capacity.

Maj-Gen Bandama is survived by his wife Florence and four children.

Source : The Herald