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Unknown Mashonaland East man declared a national hero

by Staff reporter
04 May 2023 at 01:01hrs | Views
National Consultative Assembly member and former provincial Governor for Mashonaland East, Abraham Kabasa, has been declared a national hero in honour of his immense contribution to the country during the liberation struggle and after independence.

Kabasa died on April 29 at his Waterfalls residence after a long battle with prostate cancer.

He was 91.

The conferment of national hero status was announced last night by Zanu-PF national chairman Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri at his residence.

Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is also Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister, said there was unanimity among Zanu-PF Politburo members led by President Mnangagwa that Kabasa deserves to be declared a national hero.

Kabasa will be buried at the National Heroes Acre at a date to be agreed by the family.

"We have been sent by His Excellency, President Mnangagwa, who is leader of the party from which Kabasa grew and died, to convey a message of condolence following his death. We commiserate with you," said Muchinguri-Kashiri.

"Today, the whole country is mourning. Secondly, his message is that your son has been declared national hero, meaning all the obligations will be borne by the State through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage."

She chronicled the great work done by Kabasa, who was a certified nurse in Mutoko, from the early 60s, and how he participated in national resistance against the Ian Smith regime, and continued to contribute after independence when he became provincial chairperson for Zanu-PF Mashonaland East Province.

Muchinguri-Kashiri said Kabasa's contribution as an ex-detainee and war collaborator, fell within the constitutional definition of a war veteran, hence the decision to declare him a national hero.

"He was a nurse in Mutoko and would help fighters with drugs as well as treat them. He did not recede but remained unwavering, consistent and persistent. He later became a Member of Parliament and Governor for Mashonaland East province," said Muchinguri-Kashiri.

Kabasa would help in treatment of freedom fighters who would have been injured or fallen ill at the height of the liberation struggle.

"It's not easy to define a hero. It entails bravery, endurance and sacrifice," said Muchinguri-Kashiri.

Zanu-PF Secretary for Women's Affairs and Senate President, Mabel Chinomona, commended President Mnangagwa and the Politburo for acknowledging the role played by Kabasa.

"I worked closely with Kabasa in Mutoko from the time he was provincial chairman and held several positions in Zanu-PF since I come from Mutoko as well. As Parliament, we are saddened by his death, which came to us as a surprise because we had just discussed his ailment with Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda on what we could do," said Chinomona.

The deceased's young brother and Headman, Christopher Kabasa, hailed the Government for recognising the work done by his brother.

"We feel relieved as a family with the recognition of my brother. He has been unwell for a long time and has been in and out of hospital, in and outside the country. During the struggle, he would admit liberation fighters to the hospital where he worked in Mutoko and make it appear as if they were ordinary members of the community.

"He was quite brave because that was quite risky," said Headman Kabasa.

He commended Zanu-PF officials, including Politburo member Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, for facilitating that Kabasa get treatment at hospitals.

Born on December 22, 1932, Kabasa was a Standard Six holder and a qualified State Certified Nurse.

He trained nursing at the then Salisbury General Hospital (now part of Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals).

He was also a laboratory and dental technician.

Kabasa worked as a nurse employed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care for 25 years and served at Marondera, Bindura, Binga and Mutoko district hospitals.

He started political activism after he was touched by the racial segregation of service conditions in the Ministry of Health and the whole civil service, where he became an active member of the Nurses Association.

He was inspired by several political rallies addressed by nationalists that included Zimbabwe's founding President, Robert Mugabe, one of which was at Chipadze in Bindura in 1964, and that made him join the party.

At the height of the liberation struggle, Kabasa was in charge of Makosa Rural Hospital in Mutoko where he became heavily involved in the struggle by supplying drugs to the comrades, clothes, shoes, wrist watches and money.

He was also involved in mobilising people to join the liberation struggle.

The hospital was turned into a centre of communication for the sake of supplies, mealie-meal and any other necessary requirements for their cooking.

Kabasa was harassed by Smith's security forces and at one time, his home was burnt down.

He was also detained for three years at Mutoko Prison, but that did not stop him from communicating with liberation fighters.

At independence, he became a Member of Parliament where he became Chairman of Committees in Parliament, Chairman of the Union of Zimbabwe African Parliamentarians, Deputy Speaker of Parliament and was a member of the African Union and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and attended several meetings abroad.

Mourners are gathered at Number 440, Uplands in Waterfalls, Harare.

He is survived by wife, Miriam and 14 children.

Yesterday's event was attended by several Cabinet ministers and senior Zanu-PF officials from Mashonaland East.

Source - The Herald