Fidelis Munyoro Chief Reporter
Retired High Court judge Justice Simpson Victor Mutambanengwe, who died in Namibia last week, has been accorded a State-assisted funeral.
He was 87.
Justice Mutambanengwe’s body arrived in Zimbabwe on Wednesday and a church service in his honour was held at a city parlour yesterday.
Relatives and friends, including members of the legal fraternity and Government officials, thronged the city parlour to bid farewell to one of the country’s first-generation black lawyers.
Justice Mutambanengwe’s son, Tumai, revealed to The Herald that his father was accorded a State-assisted funeral. “The body came in yesterday (Wednesday) evening from Namibia,” said Tumai.
“It will lie in state at Number 36 Wallis Road in Mandara. After church service tomorrow (today) the body will be taken to his final resting place at Dambakurimwa Farm in Zimunya, Mutare.”
Justice Mutambanengwe succumbed to renal failure on May 10 at Paramount Hospital in Windhoek, Namibia. The judge, who was based in that country, had been on treatment for kidney problems and diabetes.
Justice Mutambanengwe was born in Mutare in 1930. He attended Mutambara Mission and Goromonzi High School, after which he worked as a teacher for one year at Old Umtali Mission.
He read English and History at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1959. He then read law at the Inner Temple in London and became an advocate in 1963.
After practising law until 1964, he returned to Rhodesia to work as an advocate until 1979. During that time, he also served as ZANU secretary for Foreign Affairs.
From 1979, Justice Mutambanengwe worked as a lawyer in Zimbabwe until 1986 when he was appointed High Court Judge. In 1994, he was appointed to the Namibian High Court bench.
Justice Mutambanengwe also served on the Supreme Court of Namibia, both as acting Chief Justice of Namibia and after his retirement, he worked several times as Acting Judge of Appeal.
He was appointed chairman of the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission on March 31, 2010 and served for three years before stepping down on health grounds. At the time of his death, Justice Mutambanengwe was a legal advisor to the Namibian government. He is survived by wife Juliana, three sons and 10 grandchildren.