THE late Zanu PF Midlands provincial deputy chairperson, Kizito Chivamba, has been denied national hero status by the ruling party’s politburo, which declared him a provincial hero instead.
BY Stephen Chadenga
But the late former Gweru mayor, Patrick Kombayi’s family yesterday expressed anger over the honour bestowed to Chivamba.
Kombayi’s son, Hamutendi yesterday said the family was bitter that President Robert Mugabe decided to pardon his late father’s tormentors and even honoured them as heroes, despite the “serious crime that they committed”.
“As a family, we say may his (Chivamba’s) soul rest in peace, but it still hurts us that our late father had to suffer till death from injuries sustained from the shootings orchestrated by the same people, who continued to be rewarded within the Zanu PF rank and file,” he said.
Zanu PF provincial spokesperson, Cornelius Mpereri, confirmed Chivamba’s provincial hero status yesterday, saying the Chiwundura legislator would be buried at the provincial shrine in Gweru tomorrow.
“Yes, he has been confirmed with the honour of a provincial war hero. He will be buried at the Provincial Heroes’ Acre in Gweru on Saturday at 10am,” he said.
The ruling party’s provincial executive had requested the politburo to declare Chivamba a national hero, so he could be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre.
NewsDay could not establish reasons why the request was turned down.
Chivamba died at Gweru General Hospital on Wednesday after being admitted over an undisclosed ailment.
At the time of his death, Chivamba had just been cleared and readmitted into the party structures following his suspension last year on allegations of insubordination and blocking party members from attending Mugabe’s rally in Harare.
Chivamba joined Zanu PF politics in 1972 and rose through the ranks to become the party’s branch chairman in Gweru in 1982 and MP in 2013.
But, it was in the run-up to the 1990 general elections that Chivamba engraved his name in Zanu PF’s history records, when he and the now late Central Intelligence Organisation operative, Elias Kanengoni, grievously shot Kombayi, in an assassination attempt.
Kombayi, then a Zimbabwe Unity Movement candidate, was contesting the Gweru Urban seat against the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda.
Chivamba and Kanengoni were convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to seven years in prison, but were immediately pardoned by Mugabe. Kanengoni died in 2013 and was declared a national hero, much to the chagrin of the Kombayi family.