By David Mwanza
The late national hero Cde Stanley Gagisa Nleya was a soldier par excellence who as an instructor trained some of the finest military man, ZANU PF Secretary for Administration, Dr Obert Mpofu has said.
Speaking in an interview at the Party headquarters in Harare, Dr Mpofu said Cde Nleya underwent specialized training at Morogoro in Tanzania.
“Morogo cadres were given commando training. Cde Nleya was part of the third group to undergo training at Morogoro after the first two groups of 1967 and 1968.
“He was a soldier par excellence, who on completion of his training was selected to become an instructor. Quite a number of our decorated soldiers who include the Zimbabwe Commander Defence Forces, General Valerio Sibanda were trained by Cde Nleya,” Dr Mpofu said.
Cde Nleya’s instructors included the late Cdes Nikitha Mangena, Lookout Masuku and Tapson Munyanyi amongst others.
Dr Mpofu said he first met Nleya in 1969.
“Cde Stanley Nleya was one of the pioneers of the armed liberation struggle. I first met him in 1969 at place called Chakwenga in the Eastern Front. He was part of group of determined youths who had just dropped out of school to join the armed struggle. The group included the likes of Retired Brigadier General Mazinyane and Cde Richard Dube amongst others,” recalled Cde Mpofu.
Dr Mpofu described Cde Nleya as a humble person.
“An unassuming individual whose mission was to liberate his country. He was not a person to ask for any special favour on the basis of his rich history. He lived a humble life,” Dr Mpofu said.
Cde Nleya succumbed to a heart disease at United Bulawayo Hospitals where he had been admitted.
In his condolence message the President and ZANU PF’s First Secretary Cde ED Mnangagwa described Cde Nleya as a selfless soldier who committed his life to the liberation of the country.
“Cde Nleya’s place and contribution to the national struggle is well recorded and will be remembered and celebrated beyond his sad and untimely departure.
“Many within our current command element, including our Commander Defense Forces, General Philip Valerio Sibanda, went through the hands of this outstanding liberation fighter whose characteristically selfless active service to our nation continued well into our independence, including the early, heady days of demobilization and integration exercises,” President Mnangagwa said.
Cde Nleya was born on 26 September in 1947 in Masendu area in Bulilima District of Matabeleland South.
He did his primary education in the same district before proceeding to Hope Fountain Mission for his secondary education.
He also attended Inyathi Mission in Bubi District before abandoning school to join the liberation war in 1968.
Cde Nleya had his first military training at Morogoro in Tanzania where he was later elevated to the position of an instructor.
At independence he led the demobilisation process before being integrated into the Zimbabwe National Army where he served as one of the senior commanders.