Cde Karimanzira collapsed at his Grange home in Harare Thursday morning before being pronounced dead at West End Hospital soon afterwards. He was 63.
Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo said the cause of death was still to be ascertained, but indications were that it could be related to his chronic diabetic condition.
President Mugabe described Cde Karimanzira as a humble man who worked very well with people from all walks of life.
Addressing the family, the President said: “The most painful issue about his death is its suddenness.
“His death is different from others where we see a person being ill before they die. We were together yesterday (Wednesday) at the Politburo and when I arrived at the (Zanu-PF) headquarters I sought to meet Cde (Didymus) Mutasa and Cde Karimanzira who arrived later. We were planning some journeys we would want to undertake and discussed the funds we would need.
“I asked Cde Karimanzira why his face looked swollen and he said he had a toothache and had a cold. However, this is what has happened. Kana zvadai toti musha waparara. Tinoziva kuti paa-nga ari aiva musimboti kumhuri yake, kumudzimai nedzimwe mhuri dzemumusha dzaida kuba-tsirwa.”
The Head of State and Government and Co-mmander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said although Cde Karimanzira was not at the front during the Second Chimurenga, he provided the necessary support for Zimbabwe’s independence, particularly through fundraising and with his contributions to the Lancaster House talks of 1979.
At independence in 1980, the President said people like Cde Karimanzira filled key Govern-ment positions abandoned by whites fleeing the country in solidarity with the racist settler regime led by Ian Smith.
The President said the decision to declare Cde Karimanzira a national hero was unanimous.
“We did not even have to vote because everyone agreed that he should be buried at the Natio-nal Heroes Acre.”
He paid tribute to Cde Karimanzira’s double role as Governor and party secretary for fina-nce.
“Anga ari sukukuviri. Sekuziva kwedu kana uri mubati wehomwe unotanga usina kana ko-biri. So we sent him around to our friends to seek financial assistance. He was also in Government as Resident Minister for Harare.”
President Mugabe said Cde Karimanzira’s legacy was rich and should be preserved.
“We will never forget him and his family. His children are grown, but Government will continue looking after his wife.”
Addressing mourners at the family home, the President said the Politburo had praised Cde Karimanzira’s character.
“He was a doctor, but he never asked to be called a doctor. There are some people who have pride, but not Cde Karimanzira.
“We knew his character and there are a few people who could be compared to him. We argue, even in our meetings, but there was not even a single day that he would raise his voice. How-ever, when he spoke, it was all sense and logic.”
President Mugabe urged Zimbabweans to uphold Cde Karimanzira’s wish to ensure the black majority were empowered and benefit from their God-given natural resources.
He said the indigenisation drive needed strong people in the mould of Cde Karimanzira, people who could stay firm and principled.
President Mugabe reiterated that the National Heroes Acre was for people who had liberated the country and dedicated their lives to Zimba-bwe’s development.
“Tichavaviga kuchikomoko, kunzvimbo yaka-kosha nekuti mabasa avo tinoaziva tese. Kana tichiendesa munhu ikoko tinotarisa vanhuvanorwira kuchengetedzwa kwenyika.
“Kune vamwe vakati toda kuendesawo vedu ikoko, asi takati kwete. Zvikomo zvakazara munyika muno. Ngavatsvagewo chavo chikomo vavigane ikoko,” the President said.
Cde Karimanzira was born on May 25, 1947 at Farm Number 7 in Chitowa, Murehwa. He did his primary education at Chitowa Pri-mary School and proceeded to Nhowe Mission,
Goromonzi High and DadayaMission.He went to the then University of Rhodesia and was detained several times for his nationalist political activities.
Cde Karimanzira taught at several schools in Harare before he went toOxford and Birmingham universities in the UK.
He also studied in Canada.
After independence, Cde Karimanzira joined Government as anunder-secretary and then deputy secretary in the Transport Ministry.He briefly worked for Harare City Marketing as deputy general manager and general manager.
Cde Karimanzira served as a Cabinet Minister in the Youth, Sports and Culture; Higher Education and Technology; and Information, Posts and Communications portfolios.
He was appointed Governor and Resident Minister for Mashonaland East in 2000.
In 2005, Dr Karimanzira was re-assigned as Governor Harare Governor.He is survived by his wife Rungano and three children.