Church service for National Hero Kabasa ahead of burial Vice President Constantino Chiwenga consoles Miriam, widow to National Hero Abraham Kabasa during a church service in Waterfalls, Harare yesterday. - Picture Innocent Makawa

Rumbidzayi Zinyuke

Senior Reporter

A church service was held yesterday for national hero Cde Abraham Kabasa at the family’s Waterfalls home in Harare ahead of his burial today at the National Heroes Acre.

Speakers described Cde Kabasa as a God-fearing man who loved his country and always strived to help the less privileged in the community.

Cde Kabasa died at the age of 91 on April 29, after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, attended the church service on behalf of President Mnangagwa.

In his address, he said he admired the work done by Cde Kabasa during the war and after independence.

“Today is not a day of mourning, but a day for celebrating because God gave him many years. We are celebrating a life well lived and the good works Cde Kabasa did for Zimbabwe,” he said.

VP Chiwenga said President Mnangagwa, who arrived yesterday from attending the coronation of King Charles III in England, had sent him to relay to the family his condolences and to assure them that he was with them in prayer.

“He (President Mnangagwa) came back this (yesterday) morning and he has gone to attend to some issues and prepare for the burial of Cde Kabasa tomorrow (today),” he said.

The VP narrated how the work of the late national hero, who was a certified nurse, had touched many lives, including his, when he treated his brother who had been injured during the war in Mutoko.

He said although his brother later died, Cde Kabasa had played his part.

Cde Kabasa was one of the pioneers of the first Parliament of Zimbabwe and later became the first Governor for Mashonaland East, both posts he held and executed well with no prior experience, said VP Chiwenga.

“Today, we speak of Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution who now have budgets but all this started with these pioneers.

“Today we celebrate the work done by Cde Kabasa for his family, for his province and for his district in Mutoko. We admire all these works and we pray that God rewards him for his hard work and that he will be united with his ancestors and rest in peace,” said VP Chiwenga.

Many other speakers testified to Cde Kabasa’s love for family and doing God’s work.

Reverend Goodson Ruramai Chipendo from the United Methodist Chinzanga circuit in Mutoko where Cde Kabasa worshipped, said he had learnt a lot from the national hero.

“Sekuru Kabasa was a God fearing man. He loved God and respected everything to do with God and the church. Whenever we communicated with him about church programmes, he never hesitated, but would give ideas and guide us.

“Regardless of his old age, he respected priests no matter their age and this is what made my relationship with him stronger. I saw him as an adviser,” he said.

Rev Chipendo said the church in Mutoko was saddened to lose such a dedicated member, adding they will struggle with the gap he has left.

Cde Kabasa’s daughter and family spokesperson, Mrs Agness Karimazondo, said her father had taught them all to be humble and to always support their children’s dreams.

“My father loved children, that is why I encourage people to identify what their child is good at and nurture them. Our father never stopped us from doing what we wanted to do in life.

“I love doing business and he was behind me all the time and would encourage me and that is why I am where I am today. He gave all my brothers and sisters opportunities to pursue education and we learnt a lot from him,” she said.

Mrs Karimazondo expressed gratitude to President Mnangagwa and the Government for bestowing national hero status on her father.

“During the time he was ill, we took time to speak with our father about many things, including what he would want to happen when he died.

“He was very clear that he wanted to be declared a national hero and I am glad that the Government has granted him that wish. We are really happy with the honour bestowed on our father and the positive remarks we have heard since the day he died.

“This has shown us how important it is to live in harmony with others and being humble. Our father never moved away from the community, he lived with the people and worked with them.

“He taught us well and I hope and trust one of us will take the baton,” said Mrs Karimazondo.

Another relative, Reverend Sabina Kabasa Chikeya, said Cde Kabasa loved helping people.

She said although she was the national hero’s niece, he had raised her as his daughter and taught her a lot about life and God.

“He had many responsibilities under the United Methodist Church where he was responsible for looking after the welfare of the priests and church staff.

“When things got tough, he would take from his own pocket to make sure the pastors were taken care of. He was also in the building committee and until his death, he was always talking of building the church,” she said.

Cde Kabasa was born in Mutoko on December 22, 1932.

He trained as a nurse at the then Salisbury General Hospital (now part of Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals).

He was also a laboratory and dental technician.

Cde Kabasa worked as a nurse employed by the Ministry of Health for 25 years and served at Marondera, Bindura, Binga and Mutoko district hospitals.

He started political activism after he was touched by the racial segregation of service conditions in the Ministry of Health and the whole civil service, where he became an active member of the Nurses Association.

At the height of the liberation struggle, Cde Kabasa was in charge of Makosa Rural Hospital in Mutoko where he became heavily involved in the struggle by supplying drugs to the comrades, clothes, shoes, wrist watches and money.

He was also involved in mobilising people to join the liberation struggle.

Upon the attainment of independence in 1980, Cde Kabasa became one of the 10 Members of Parliament for Mashonaland East Province.

He also served as the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and in 1990, he was appointed Mashonaland East Governor.

Cde Kabasa is survived by wife Mirriam Kabasa, 11 children and 19 grandchildren.

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