By- A top Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) official John Mhlanga has died in a fatal road accident along the Bulawayo-Plumtree highway while on his way to Botswana.
He was the country’s Defence Attaché to Botswana.
He was 59 years old.
In a statement, Deputy Director Army Public Relations Lieutenant Colonel Alex Zuva said Colonel Mhlanga was a patriotic cadre who will be missed. He said:
Zimbabwe’s Defence Attaché to Botswana, Colonel John Mhlanga has died. He was 59 years old. Colonel Mhlanga was involved in a fatal road traffic accident along the Bulawayo-Plumtree highway while on his way to Botswana on 19 April 2022.
Colonel Mhlanga was born on the 1 November 1962 at Chikore Mission commonly known as Craigmore. His family emanated from Manjehwe area, under Headman Siyakisa and Chief Musikavanhu in Chipinge District, Manicaland Province. The late Senior Officer started his primary education at Bangira Primary School in 1969 before proceeding to Chinaa Primary School and later on Big Tree Primary School where he completed his Grade Seven. He gave up his education to pursue the revolutionary cause in response to the growing consciousness about the freedom of his country.
He belonged to that crop of young men and women who quickly developed the political consciousness which gave youths of his day the spirit of confronting the white settler regime with its segregatory policies.
It was not long before the late Senior Officer found himself crossing the border to Mozambique on 25 July 1976. He first arrived at Espungabeira before moving to Posto-Machazi. The late Colonel Mhlanga stayed at Chibawawa Refugee Camp until August 1976 when he departed to Chimoio – ZANU Headquarters. He commenced initial military training at the end of 1976. After his initial training, the late Senior Officer went on to specialise in Anti-Aircraft Guns.
He was supposed to deploy to the front in May 1977 but was withdrawn to join an Instructors’ Course which had just commenced. Colonel Mhlanga was one of the cadres who survived the Chimoio attack in 1977. Thereafter, he was deployed to Tangwena Sector in Manicaland Province, Bonda Detachment. He remained in that Operational Area until the end of the war. Other living Comrades that he operated with during the war in that Zone were Group Captain Chikukwa, Retired Brigadier General Zabanyana, Lt Col Mango and Comrade Mike Ndekwere. Colonel Mhlanga was attested into the ZNA as a Private on 11 August 1980 and rose through the ranks Colonel in 2011. During his long and illustrious service, the late Senior Officer attended many courses.
During his illustrious career, the late Colonel Mhlanga held several appointments. He was appointed Defence Attaché to the Republic of Botswana from 2017 until his untimely death.
Besides military courses, the late Senior Officer was a holder of several professional credentials which include Masters in International Studies with the University of Zimbabwe and Masters in Developmental Studies with National University of Science and Technology.
For his continued dedication, selfless and exemplary service to the nation, the late Colonel Mhlanga was awarded the Liberation Medal, Independence Medal, Ten Years’ Service Medal, Long and Exemplary Service Medal, Mozambique Campaign Medal, Democratic Republic of Congo Campaign Medal and Commander of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit Award.
A funeral Parade will be held at the Zimbabwe Military Academy on Friday 22 April in his honour. He was a patriotic, loyal, humble, honest and enthusiastic Senior Officer whose leadership inspired both his peers and subordinates. He will therefore be greatly missed.
The late Colonel is survived by his wife Thandiwe and two children.