Stamps a national hero
Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Health Advisor to the President and Cabinet and former Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr Timothy Stamps , who died on Sunday, has been declared a national hero. Dr Stamps, who was 81, died at Borrowdale Trauma Centre after a lung infection.
Zanu-PF Secretary for Finance Dr Obert Mpofu announced the decision yesterday to Dr Stamps’ family at their home at Plot 6 Welston Road, Welston, in Goromonzi. Dr Mpofu was accompanied by other Politburo members that included spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, Dr David Parirenyatwa and Cde Tshinga Dube. In his message, Dr Mpofu said the decision to confer Dr Stamps with the national hero status by the Politburo had been unanimous.
“We have been sent by His Excellency, the President (Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa), on behalf of Zimbabwe, to pass his condolences and deepest sorrow on the passing of our colleague,” Dr Mpofu said.
“As you know, he (Dr Stamps) was keen on the welfare of the general populace, so we will miss him a lot. We have been requested by His Excellency to come and inform the family that he has been declared a national hero.
“This followed consultations within members of the Politburo who were unanimous in this decision and we are delighted that his colleagues decided that he be declared a national hero.” Dr Stamps’ burial arrangements would be decided in consultation with the family. Dr Mpofu said they worked well with Dr Stamps.
“His name is like a family name in communities,” he said. Dr Stamps’ eldest son, Kenyon, thanked Government for honouring his father, saying they had also planned a memorial service for him next week.
“We were planning a memorial next Wednesday, as you know, dad had a very much open door policy, was open to everybody, especially the less privileged,” he said.
“He was loved by many people and didn’t even turn down enemies, but as a family we are very grateful (for the national hero status).” Dr Stamps was born in Wales on October 15, 1936 and came to Zimbabwe in 1968. He grew up in England where he became one of the youngest doctors in the United Kingdom at the time.
Before independence, he worked for the then Salisbury (now Harare) Municipality’s health department and rose to become the city’s chief medical officer. He clashed with racist authorities then by trying to facilitate access to health facilities for black people that were marginalised.
Dr Stamps was appointed Minister of Health and Child Welfare in 1990, taking over from Dr Felix Muchemwa, a position he held until 2002. He is credited with playing a pivotal role in the fight against HIV and Aids. In 1999, he led an initiative to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
His efforts, in collaboration with officials from his ministry, saw the creation of the National Aids Council through an Act of Parliament. In 2004, Dr Stamps founded the Dr Timothy Stamps Trust for people living with chronic conditions after being touched by their plight. The foundation also helps to ease the burden of non-communicable diseases in the country. Dr Stamps is survived by his wife, Cindy, six children and eight-grandchildren.