State-assisted funeral for businessman Chidziva The President consoles Mrs Evelyn Chidziva, widow of businessman and farmer Mike Gore Chidziva in Beatrice yesterday. — Picture Innocent Makawa

Zvamaida Murwira

Senior Reporter

Accomplished businessman and farmer, Mr Mike Gore Chidziva has been conferred with a State-assisted funeral in honour of the contribution he made before and after independence, President Mnangagwa has said.

The Head of State and Government visited the Chidziva family homestead yesterday at their farm in Beatrice to console them following his death at a Harare hospital early this week.

President Mnangagwa said Mr Chidziva, who was a renowned farmer and businessman, supported the Government in its programmes and provided financial and material support to the liberation struggle.

“I came here to give testimony of how close I was with the deceased. Ndivo vadhara vemusangano (They were elders of the party). We worked well with him and has left a mark which I do not think anyone of you will be able to emulate. He will get a State-assisted funeral. All the expenses will be paid by my Office,” said President.

He chronicled how he came to know Mr Chidziva whom he described as his contemporary and close friend in the 1960s. During the time, they would meet to discuss various issues together with the founding president, Cde Robert Mugabe.

“We were about four, Edward Pswarai, Mr Chidziva, President Mugabe and myself. There was also Ben Mucheche. I was the youngest one. We got along very well,” he said.

“I used to get sweet potatoes, rabbits and milk at this farm. So was President Mugabe. He had a safari in Hwange and would bring us game meat, that’s how close we were.”

President Mnangagwa said Mr Chidziva was a celebrated tobacco farmer.

“He was an accomplished tobacco farmer, supported the Government. He would come to State House even during the time of President Mugabe, we would sit down, discuss several issues,” said President Mnangagwa.

One of his sons, Silas, thanked President Mnangagwa and the Government for joining them in mourning.

“You left your busy schedule to be with us. We would want to thank you heartily,” he said.

Barbra, described her father as a person who was family oriented.

“He valued education and family unit. He believed in hardwork, diligence. He made sure that all his children went to school because he valued education,” she said.

Mr Chidziva, who lived on his farm in Beatrice, passed on at Park Town Hospital, Waterfalls in Harare.

He was 89.

Mr Chidziva, who started out in retail in the 1960s, represents an older generation of successful and pioneering black business people. He invested in farming in Beatrice in the 1980s.

A nationalist at heart, the businessman contributed immensely to both the financial and material needs of the liberation struggle that ushered in Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980.

He owned the local Renault franchise (now Claas), Tanaka Power, commercial real estate that is on lease to OK Zimbabwe in some urban centres. He also had interests in safaris and tobacco processing and owned one of the most productive tobacco farms in the country in Beatrice.

He was a founding shareholder and director in Shearwater, a wildlife safari, and later founded Victoria Falls Hunters, Wintech windmills and ran a chain of supermarkets under the Chidziva Supermarkets brand.

He will be buried at Warren Hills this weekend.

Mourners are gathered at Chidziva estates, his farm in Beatrice.

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