“It is with deep grief and sorrow that I inform the Nation of the passing on today, Thursday, of our inaugural First Lady, Mrs Janet Mbuyazwe Banana, at Mater Dei Hospital,” said Mnangagwa.
“When I visited her at the family home in Luveve, Bulawayo, to console her following the death of her son Michael, she was ailing, and our thoughts and prayers were for her speedy recovery.
“Sadly, we lost her when we thought she would be well again. “The country remembers her with fond memories and admiration for the important roles she played during the period of our liberation struggle, and as our First Lady.
“During the struggle for our Independence, the late former First Lady exhibited courage and bravery as she endured persistent harassment at the hands of the Rhodesians for supporting her husband, the late First President of the Republic, Reverend Canaan Sodindo Banana, in his activism.
“To the very end of her husband’s life and her own, she remained a strong pillar of support to both her husband and children.
“We shall not forget her as mother of our Nation. She carried with simplicity and dignity.
“Our country is all the poorer with her passing on.
“On behalf of the Party, ZANU PF, Government, the First Lady, my family, and indeed on my behalf, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the Banana family, especially to the children who remain, and have lost a loving mother.
“May I assure them of our support during this their darkest hour of grief.
“I have directed that the late former First Lady be accorded a State-assisted funeral,” said the President.