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Mugabe laments Muchemwa, Mumbengegwi deaths

by Nyemudzai Kakore/Walter Mswazie
16 Jun 2016 at 14:25hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday mourned the demise of Special Disability Advisor in his office and former Health Minister Retired Brigadier-General Dr Felix Muchemwa, and former Finance Minister and veteran educationist Samuel Creighton Mumbengegwi, who died on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Dr Muchemwa succumbed to cancer in Egypt where he was receiving treatment, while Mumbengegwi passed on at a private hospital in Harare from a kidney ailment, diabetes and hypertension.

In his condolence message to the Muchemwa family, President Mugabe said they would always find solace in the outstanding contribution Dr Muchemwa made that would live forever, etched in national history.

"I learnt with a deep sense of grief and sadness of the death on Monday of Dr Felix Muchemwa after a long illness. A decorated soldier and freedom fighter, Dr Muchemwa will be remembered for his role as part of the Zanla medical corps during the armed phase of our struggle for Independence," he said.

"Alongside other medical doctors like the late Dr Herbert Ushewokunze, the late Dr Gwada, the late Dr Muvuti, and Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, our Minister of Defence, Dr Muchemwa saved life and limb in numerous camps in the rear, often under very difficult surgical circumstances. A lot had to be done through sheer improvisation and this group of medical cadres shall always be remembered by many comrades for their sterling application, often in depressing circumstances."

The President also said Dr Muchemwa would also be remembered as a public servant of outstanding application and a quiet unassuming scholar who picked on his subject from the angle of deep commitment to the cause of his people.

"Always a hardworking cadre, Dr Muchemwa didn't sit back after Independence, or even when illness afflicted him. He remained at the centre of national service, serving in various capacities as a Minister of Government until his condition required that he be given lighter duties.

"At the time of his death, he was my Minister-Advisor on Disability Issues, which role he discharged with characteristic depth and dedication. Amazingly, in spite of his crowded diary, he still found time to embark on research, the result of which was a path-breaking publication, The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe (1890-2010), published only late last year. Sadly this now stands as Dr Muchemwa's parting shot to the very nation he helped liberate.

"On behalf of the party, Zanu-PF, government and the people of Zimbabwe, I wish to express my deepest sympathies to the Muchemwa family, principally to his wife and the children, who have lost a loving husband and a dear father, respectively. We join them in this hour of grief, always finding some solace in the outstanding contribution of the late departed. His works will live for all time, and etched in our national history," said President Mugabe."

Some of the Muchemwa family members are already in Egypt organising the repatriation of his body back home.

Dr Muchemwa was born in Mhondoro on April 22, 1945. Mourners are gathered at 39 Gilmour Drive, Hogerty Hill in Borrowdale.

To the Mumbengegwi family, President Mugabe said, beyond Mumbengegwi's career, the nation would remember him as a politician and a minister who gave his best in all he did, always guided by the ethic that his country and people came first.

He said Mumbengegwi demonstrated his dedication to moulding minds of critical thinkers as he went back to lecturing after serving as a minister in government.

"His days in government were marked by passionate contributions that expressed his wish for the greater promotion and development of our rural communities where most of our people live. Even his tenure as Finance Minister showed that rural bias in his budgetary proposals. In the party, we knew him as an honest cadre who didn't hesitate to speak his mind on any subject.

"Indeed what you saw is what you got in this man, so unused to dissembling. Today, the party organs in Masvingo Province, which he once headed as chairman are all poorer without him," President Mugabe said.

"On behalf of the party, Zanu-PF government, and on my own half, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the Mumbengegwi family, especially to Amai Mumbengegwi and the children who have lost a loving husband and father. We mourn with them in this hour of grief. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace," he said.

Meanwhile, several Cabinet Ministers and services chiefs yesterday visited the Mumbengegwi family home in Harare to convey their condolences.

He was brother to Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi: "For us, it has been a great loss as he was the oldest. He has always played a pivotal role in the family. He was a hard worker. His death robs us of a pillar of strength. He also displayed that strength in public life," he said.

He described Mumbengegwi as consistent, loyal and straight forward.

"For the past few months, he has been unwell. He had problems with his kidneys, was diabetic and suffered from hypertension and in the end all these led to his premature departure.

"We've received a lot of inspiration from him and we will continue to work with the same degree of loyalty, same degree of commitment because loyalty was one of his hallmarks. Loyalty to the family, loyalty to the country, loyalty to the leadership of the party and leadership of the country," Minister Mumbengegwi said.

He said his brother had a distinguished leadership career within the party and government where he was appointed to head five ministries.

Dr Sekeramayi said he last met Mumbengegwi two months ago and realised that he was not feeling well.

"As government, we want to recognise the role that he played for the liberation of our country and for the development of our country. We knew each other and we would sit next to each other in Cabinet. We would talk issues about the development of our country and in Central Committee for the development of the party," Dr Sekeramayi said.

Mourners are gathered at house number 22 Stour Road, Vainona in Harare.

Source - chronicle