Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent—
It was a resounding send-off for national hero Cde Don Kwaedza Muvuti, who dedicated his life to the cause of Zimbabwe, as his burial was witnessed by thousands of people at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare yesterday. Cde Muvuti died at West End Hospital in Harare last Wednesday aged 84. A reknowned workaholic writer who was a great advisor and fatherly figure, his burial drew mourners who included high-ranking Government officials and Zanu-PF members, diplomats, captains of industry, friends and relatives. Proceedings began in the morning with people thronging Stodart Hall in Mbare for a brief ceremony and body viewing.Groups of men, women, youths and the Mbare Chimurenga Choir sang and danced to Chimurenga songs. Mourners said Cde Muvuti should be celebrated considering the role he played in the development of Zimbabwe from the pre-independence era and after the country attained independence. President Mugabe and Amai Grace Mugabe led the body viewing procession followed by Cabinet ministers and other dignitaries at Stodart Hall.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife Cde Auxillia Mnangagwa, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, Minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs Mirriam Chikukwa, Senate president Cde Edna Madzongwe, Foreign Affairs Minister Engineer Walter Mzembi, Minister of State Security Cde Kembo Mohadi, Home Affairs Minister Cde Obert Mpofu, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Major-General (Rtd) Happyton Bonyongwe attended the brief ceremony at Stodart Hall.
Defence Minister Cde Sydney Sekeramayi and his wife, Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Retired Colonel Christian Katsande and his family, Minister of State for Mashonaland West Province Cde Webster Shamu and his wife Constance, Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and service chiefs were also in attendance.
After body viewing, the body was ferried to its final resting place at the national shrine on a gun carriage. The National Heroes Acre became a hive of activity as early as 7am when people began trickling in, despite the sweltering heat. Mbare Chimurenga Choir and an apostolic group entertained mourners with revolutionary songs and dances, while the Zimbabwe Republic Police choir also put up a polished performance before the capacity crowd.
Banners inscribed with messages extolling the virtues of Cde Muvuti were displayed all over the shrine. Some banners were inscribed “Cde Don Muvuti, a veteran nationalist”, “Fambai zvakanaka Mhofu yeMukono”, “Famba zvakanaka mwana wevhu”, “Farewell Mhofu yeMukono”, “Ngatirimei tizadze matura”, while another banner screamed “Cde Muvuti, adieu writer of the revolution”.
The inscription on Cde Muvuti’s writing skills resonated well with his legacy, with President Mugabe later on described him as a workaholic whose writings should be collected and put on display at the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology. Cde Muvuti’s body arrived around 11am on a gun carriage draped in the national flag accompanied by President Mugabe and First Lady Amai Mugabe. The arrival turned the shrine into a sombre atmosphere.
Pallbearers carried the casket and placed it in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in slow march before Home Affairs Minister Dr Obert Mpofu took to the podium to lead the proceedings. After the minister of religion Mr Christopher Chadoka gave a prayer and a brief sermon, a family representative, Cde Samuel Muvuti, took to the podium. Cde Muvuti spoke glowingly of the late national hero, saying he was a committed cadre who sacrificed his life for the attainment of independence.
“Cde Muvuti’s decision to join the liberation struggle meant that he was to be away from his family for 20 years. Our grandfather used to say that Don muroyi chaiye anoda kufa ndisina kumuona, our grandfather died before Cde Don Muvuti was back. Cde Don was a selfless person. Everything he did was about us the people of Zimbabwe. He was humble and passionate about his work to the extent that we had a very hard time to convince him to stay home after falling ill in order to recover,” he said.
Zanu-PF national spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, who is also Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister, said in an interview that Cde Muvuti defended the revolution to his last breath. He said a lot of people did not know him because he was not a person who would run around beating his chest saying ‘I did this, I did that’ thus he was going to miss his simplicity and sense of direction.
“To him, sovereignty of this country was supreme. A very humble man, he was gifted with that same humility, gifted with that rare humility, man of high discipline, very quiet in nature, but deep thinking. He wrote too much about our liberation struggle, about the importance of keeping the values of the struggle,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
Water Resources Development and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said Cde Muvuti never jostled for bigger positions in the party or in Government. Cde Mumbengegwi said he knew Cde Muvuti personally and found him invaluable in terms of his commitment to the party’s ideology.
This, he said, he realised when they worked together when he was the Zanu-PF deputy secretary for information, while Cde Muvuti wasa board member of the Zanu Press headed by the late national hero Cde Nathan Shamuyarira. Cde Don was one of those rare individuals in a number of ways,” said Cde Mumbengegwi. “Few of his generation acquired degrees and committed to the liberation struggle. Most of them went to look for jobs elsewhere using their education, but in his case, he committed to the liberation of our country.
“I knew him personally from our time in Zambia when he was a senior member of the Zanu administration and after independence when he was a senior member of the party. He never flinched, he was quiet, but effective. The legacy that we and the future generation learn from him is commitment, patriotism and humility.”