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State-assisted funeral for former ZPRA commander Mbedzi

by Staff reporter
06 Dec 2022 at 05:00hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has accorded a State-assisted funeral for liberation war stalwart and former Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZPRA) regional commander for the Northern Front Three (NF3), Joseph Mbedzi.

Mbedzi, who was also known as Sibuko, died two weeks ago at Mvurwi Hospital staff quarters where his wife is a nurse.

Matabeleland South had written to Zanu-PF requesting for Mbedzi to be declared national hero in recognition of his contributions to the liberation struggle.

At the time of his death, Mbedzi was a member of the War Veterans Provincial League in Mashonaland West where he had acquired land under the land reform programme.

He, however hails from Beitbridge and traces his liberation struggle roots from Matabeleland South.

Matabeleland South vice chairman Albert Nguluvhe yesterday said Mbedzi was declared a liberation war hero.

"He was declared a liberation hero and was granted a State-assisted funeral. Today, I visited his family together with our provincial party chairperson Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu and that is how we learnt that Mbedzi was declared a liberation hero," he said.

"He was accorded a State-assisted funeral and it is now up to the family to decide where they want him to be buried."

As NF3 commander, the late liberation war fighter's region covered areas such as Guruve which was also the headquarters, Banket, Hurungwe, Chinhoyi, Magunje, Karoi and Umvukwes, which is now called Mvurwi.

The late commander completed his intense training towards the end of 1976 during which they used live ammunition in their demonstrations. He was the deputy platoon commander of a group of 24 troops.

Prior to his death, Mbedzi shared his war time experience during an interview with Chronicle's sister paper, Sunday News.

He said after crossing Zambezi River from Zambia he and his colleagues walked for 16 days before they reached Kachuta where they had their first contact with the masses.

He said upon crossing the river, they were a platoon of 24 guerillas under the command of Biggie Joe. From the Zambezi River, they trudged through a game reserve, which was on rugged terrain.

 "So each one of us was given six packets of one-and-a-half kg of mealie-meal, a 2kg packet of sugar, four tins of beef, two tins of beans, some milk and biscuits. We were told that each soldier should carry food that would last them for 30 days," said Mbedzi during the interview.

"In addition to food, we also had a kasha with 1 400 rounds of loose ammunition and that was shared among two comrades. Besides that, each had his weapon, in most cases an AK-47 rifle and four loaded magazines on each person, grenades both offensive and defensive."

Mbedzi once stayed in Bulawayo before he later moved to Harare where he started a co-operative as former ZPRA cadres.

During the 1985 elections, he was part of the PF-Zapu campaign team in Mashonaland Central Province. At the height of the land reform programme, Mbedzi acquired a piece of land in Kadoma where he ventured into farming.

Mbedzi is survived by wife, Tabeth, five children and 12 grandchildren.

Mourners are gathered at House Number 24/230 Close, Budiriro 1 in Harare.

Source - The Chronicle