PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday described the death of District Development Fund (DDF) permanent secretary in his office, James Jonga, on Thursday in Harare as heart wrecking.
Mnangagwa said the country had lost a dedicated senior civil servant, who was the fulcrum of the government’s rural infrastructure development.
“A competent and diligent senior civil servant, Jonga was at the cutting edge of our rural infrastructure programme on which our rural transformation strategy revolved.
“From building bridges and improving our rural feeder roads, to sinking community boreholes in historically neglected parts of our country, Jonga led from the field, always ensuring set projects were completed on time,” Mnangagwa said.
The president bemoaned the fact that Jonga’s death came barely a week after the Office of the President and Cabinet was plunged into mourning following the passing on of former director for State Occasions, Anne Anastacia Knuth, who succumbed to breast cancer las week.
Businessman and founder of the Affirmative Action Group Philip Chiyanga yesterday described Jonga as a hero, who left an indelible mark on the country’s rural infrastructure development.
“He was one of the finest senior civil servants the country has ever had.
“He performed a lot of tasks, including road and bridge construction, borehole drilling in the rural areas and other projects that one would not imagine the government delivering on.
“He was at the epicentre of everything and he achieved; it is indeed a sad loss to me since he was my cousin, but also to the country at large.
“He was one of the heroes of our time,” Chiyangwa said.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services secretary, Nick Mangwana was the first to announce Jonga’s death in a tweet.
“Sad to lose a good colleague, the DDF Perm Sec, Cde Jonga. Condolences to his family, friends and other colleagues. MHSRIP,” Mangwana said.
A holder of a Bachelor of Administration degree, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and a Master of Science in International Relations, Jonga was the director of operations in the DDF before assuming the director-general position in 1991.
He was appointed permanent secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet in charge of the DDF and related infrastructure development by the late former president Robert Mugabe in 2014 following the retirement of Edward Ndoro.