President consoles Matiza family The President flanked by Vice Presidents Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, addresses mourners at the Matiza family home in Borrowdale, Harare yesterday

Zvamaida Murwira

Senior Reporter

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has conferred a State-assisted funeral to Mrs Lillian Matiza, nee Mbonjani, widow on national hero and former Cabinet Minister Joel Biggie Matiza, following her death in Harare on Sunday evening.

Mrs Matiza suddenly fell ill before being rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

President Mnangagwa yesterday visited the Matiza Borrowdale residence where he consoled the family before conferring a State-assisted funeral on Mrs Matiza, whose burial is set for today at Warren Hills cemetery.

Mrs Matiza’s husband was Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister and Zanu PF Provincial chairperson for Mashonaland East Province.

The Head of State and Government was accompanied by his two Vice Presidents, Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Cde Kembo Mohadi, party chairman Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, several Cabinet ministers, Zanu PF senior officials, among others.

Addressing mourners, President Mnangagwa said he was saddened to hear about the death of Mrs Matiza whom he thought would provide guidance and support to the children following the death of her husband and father to her children in January 2021 due to Covid-19 complications.

He said he was surprised to hear about the death of Mrs Matiza at a time when she had remained as a pillar of the family.

President Mnangagwa consoles the Matiza family following the death of Mrs Matiza, widow to the late Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development and national hero Cde Biggie Matiza in Borrowdale, Harare, yesterday. – Pictures: Believe Nyakudjara

“Cde Biggie Matiza was one of us, very dependable. When he died, we said the mother will take care and support the children. We thought the mother would continue to help, caution children against any possible delinquencies. At one point she even came to see me with her children,” he said.

“Just like the song that was being sung here, no one knows the day when God will take you away from this earth. Each one of us has his or her days on earth and only God knows. God does not have a rubber to vary or alter the numbers like what we do when we want to delete what we would have written. I am now 81-years-old and you might think that I am the next, no, it is only God who knows who is next.”

What was more saddening, said President Mnangagwa, was that Mrs Matiza had been well all along without complaining of any ailment until the last day.

He implored the surviving children to remain united and well behaved.

“We expect you to remain united. We will help and support you should there be any problems you might face, we are equally your parents, so we are prepared to render any support that might be required,” said President Mnangagwa.

Family spokesperson Mrs Dorothy Mabika said they were shocked by the death of Mrs Matiza who never complained of any ailment.

“We are not aware of any ailment that Mrs Matiza had complained of. It was only late on Sunday when she asked her son to bring her water that was when he discovered that she was unwell. She was rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead,” said Mrs Mabika.

She said they had since requested that a post mortem be conducted to establish the possible cause of death.

Mrs Mabika hailed President Mnangagwa and the Government for conferring Mrs Matiza a State-assisted funeral.

The event was attended by several Cabinet ministers, Zanu PF Politburo members who include the ruling party National Political Commissar, Cde Mike Bimha, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Martin Rushwaya, Zanu PF provincial members among other dignitaries.

Mourners are gathered at Number 15 Highgate Road, Borrowdale in Harare.

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