Farirai Machivenyika and Victor Maphosa
The late sister to Acting President Constantino Chiwenga, Mrs Margaret Machekabuwe was buried at Machekabuwe Farm yesterday.
Mrs Machekabuwe, who died on Saturday after a short illness, received a State-assisted funeral.
Speaking at the burial, Acting President Chiwenga described her late sister, who was a war collaborator, as a fearless and principled woman.
“We grew up the three of us at our homestead after a lot of things had happened,” he said.
“Our father had been poisoned and stayed in hospital for a long time and our homestead was burnt and we were left with very few belongings. It was a difficult time.
“We stayed the three of us with our grandmother who drank beer a lot and would leave us alone most times with very little to eat. We would agree with my elder sister to steal money that was kept at home, but she (Margaret) would admonish us from stealing the money that is how honest and principled she was.”
Acting President Chiwenga said while her sister might not have carried a gun during the armed struggle, she had contributed in her own way as a war collaborator.
He said they shared a strong relationship with her late sister.
“We were like Siamese twins although we would have our differences here and there we would always resolve them amicably and remained good friends.
“She stayed at the farm alone and would even drive her tractor on her own. She was hardworking and was both the mother and father of her family following the death of her husband,” added Acting President Chiwenga.
Minister of State for Mashonaland East Province David Musabayana said the late Mrs Machekabuwe had contributed immensely to the development of the district.
“We have lost a great person who always advocated for development in her district and the province as a whole,” he said.
“A few days before she passed on, she visited my office to discuss the possibility of building a clinic and maintenance of several roads in this district.
“She was a woman of few words, but lots of action. We have lost a dedicated person as Hwedza North Constituency and Mashonaland East Province.”
Lieutenant-General Mike Nyambuya (Retired) said he met the late Mrs Machekabuwe during the liberation struggle at Tangwena Sector in Manicaland.
“She was a very brave woman whom we relied on especially in the messenger role she played,” said Lt-Gen Nyambuya (Rtd).
“She is the one whom we used to send with our requests to the doctors and priests who were helping us during the war and she would make sure that she brings whatever packages given to her. She carried difficult assignments, no task was too big or too small for her.”
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Huang Ping also consoled the Chiwenga and Machekabuwe families on their loss.
“On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I would like to express our deepest sympathies to the Vice President Chiwenga family and to the nation for the loss,” he said.
“Unfortunately, I never met Margaret, but from what I heard from testimonies, she indeed was a dedicated person.
“We are good friends with the VP and the people of Zimbabwe and we will continue to support this great country to improve the standards wherever possible.
“VP Chiwenga played a big role in strengthening relations between China and Zimbabwe.”