Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Zanu-PF Politburo member and former Matabeleland North Governor Cde Thokozile Angela Mathuthu, who died at her home in Harare early yesterday morning, has been declared a national heroine.
She was 61.
The announcement of the heroine status was made by President Mnangagwa when he went to pay his condolences to the Mathuthu family home in Belvedere, Harare, yesterday.
Cde Mathuthu was declared a national heroine after the Zanu-PF Politburo unanimously agreed that she be accorded the highest status.
“We have what we call a round-robin where we consult each other on decisions like these and I am happy to say we have unanimously agreed that she be accorded the national heroine status,” President Mnangagwa said.
“We are so happy that the leadership has accorded her the status and as President, I so declare.”
President Mnangagwa said Cde Mathuthu had a long history of working in both the party and Government.
“Cde Mathuthu was our Deputy Secretary of the Women’s League at the time of her death, but ever since I have known her, she has always worked tirelessly for the party and if she cannot be a national hero, then no one will.
“She has been unwell for some time, but she would always attend Politburo meetings. She only missed last week’s meeting. That is how committed she was despite her illness.”
President Mnangagwa thanked Cde Mathuthu’s husband, Jonathan, for allowing her to work for Zanu-PF.
“I say to Cde (Jonathan) Mathuthu, your wife was a hero for both the party and country,” he said. “We also say thank you for allowing her to work for the party.
“As Zanu-PF, we have lost and the void she has left will be difficult to fill,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said Cde Mathuthu was a devoted Christian and member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
“I am happy that she was a devoted Christian because it is important that when we are still alive and have time that we prepare for the life after death by mending our ways with God,” he said.
“We should all get salvation when we still can.”
Burial arrangements will be announced in due course after consultations between Government and the Mathuthu family.
Mourners were gathered at No. 12 Catalina Road in Belvedere, Harare.
Cde Mathuthu was born on March 26 1957 in Bulawayo and she became active politically in the 1970s.
Between 1975 and 1978, she was a committee member of the Zapu Youth Wing and assisted combatants operating in the Tinde and Kamativi areas.
At independence, she was a committee member of the Zapu Women’s Wing between 1980 and 1982 and later rose to become deputy chairperson of the same wing in Nengasha district, Hwange.
She was also involved in the integration committees during talks between Zanu and Zapu.
Cde Mathuthu was then elected Secretary for Administration for the Matabeleland North provincial Women’s League between 1987 and 1993, secretary for transport and social welfare in the national executive of the Women’s League between 1994 and 1999.
In 2000, Cde Mathuthu was appointed deputy secretary for transport and social welfare in the Politburo and was promoted to secretary of the portfolio in 2005.
Between 2005 and 2013, she was appointed Governor of Matabeleland North.
Between 2015 and 2016, Cde Mathuthu was Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services.
Cde Mathuthu is survived by her husband Jonathan and four children – two boys and two girls.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, his wife Mary, Vice President Kembo Mohadi and several senior Zanu-PF officials accompanied President Mnangagwa to Cde Mathuthu’s home where they also paid their condolences.
The officials who accompanied the President included Zanu-PF national chairperson Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Secretary of the Women’s League Cde Mabel Chinomona and Harare’s Minister of Provincial Affairs, Cde Miriam Chikukwa.