Anesu Tonde Herald Reporter

President Mnangagwa yesterday said he learnt with a deep sense of shock and sadness, the death of Mr Somkhosi Malaba, a member of the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) and former Agribank chief executive officer.

Mr Malaba, who was also the Co-Chair of the National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF) Steering Committee, died peacefully in his sleep at home on Thursday morning after succumbing to kidney failure, which he had valiantly fought for 12 years.

President Mnangagwa said Mr Malaba has left an “indelible mark” in the banking sector, where he served for two terms as president of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ).

“Mr Malaba also left his footprints in the Office of the President and Cabinet as Head of the National Economic Planning Commission, as he set a firm foundation for national policy planning, coordination, planning and implementation,” he said.

The President added that Mr Malaba would be remembered for serving his country with dedication, dignity and humility, and was instrumental and helpful in the execution of Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement policy with regional and international development finance institutions.

“I benefited greatly from his well-thought out economic advice as a member of PAC. On behalf of Government, and in my capacity as Patron of the NECF, I wish to express my deepest and sincere condolences to his family in particular, and the Malaba family in general.

“May they derive comfort from the knowledge that his death is not theirs alone, but a great loss to the nation of Zimbabwe as well,” said President Mnangagwa.

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet and NECF Co-Chairperson, Dr Misheck Sibanda, yesterday said the NECF leadership, its entire steering committee members, management and staff of the NECF Secretariat, extend “deepest and sincerest condolences” to the Malaba family on the death of Malaba, popularly known in business circles as Sam.

“He fought his lengthy ailment with grace and great fortitude. Finally, he took the great leap, surrounded by his loving family, to be reunited with his creator and the Lord of life and death.

“Mr Malaba was an active member of the NECF Macroeconomic Taskforce. At the time of his death, Mr Malaba was the NECF Steering Committee Co-Chair, member of the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) and had just retired from the position of chief executive officer at Agribank,” said Dr Sibanda. His illustrious career started as an economist at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, where he rose through the ranks to become Deputy Governor during the period 1998 to 2004.

In 2004, he then moved to become Agribank CEO, a position he held until his retirement at the end of January.

Dr Sibanda said during his tenure as Agribank CEO, Mr Malaba transformed the bank into one of the “most successful and profitable institutions which responded with great zeal in the implementation of Government policies aimed at supporting unbanked new indigenous farmers”.

“To many, he gave them a significant launch pad to become successful farmers. May his family take pride in the splendid development work that he did for the nation knowing fully well that the entire nation is with them in mourning as well as celebrating the life of a true patriot.

“Indeed, we are poorer without his presence but celebrate his outstanding contributions which make him an outstanding personality and technocrat who served his country with unparalleled distinction,” said Dr Sibanda.

Acting Agribank CEO Mr Elfas Chimbera said the death came as a great shock to him and the entire bank’s management, which continued to benefit from his wisdom. Mr Malaba is set to buried today at Glen Forest Memorial Park. A church service has been scheduled for 10am at his Glen Lorne, Harare, home and mourners will leave for Glen Forest at noon.