Province seeks Chivende national hero status

Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
Zanu-PF Mashonaland West province has written to the Politburo requesting that former provincial governor Cde Mudhumeni Chivende (pictured right), who died on Saturday morning from prostate cancer, be declared a national hero. A party Central Committee member, Cde Chivende died in the early hours of Saturday at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital where he had been admitted for about two months.

He was 75.

Provincial secretary for administration Cde Simbarashe Ziyambi confirmed that the letter recommending Cde Chivende’s national hero status was forwarded to national secretary for administration Dr Ignatius Chombo on Saturday afternoon.

“We handed over a letter to our national secretary for administration Dr Chombo on Saturday recommending national hero status for the war liberation conduit, Cde Chivende,” he said. “We now await the decision of the Politburo to know the next move.”

Cde Chivende joined politics in the early 1960s when he became a member of the National Democratic Party led by the late Vice President Dr Joshua Nkomo and the Trade Union Congress. He was instrumental in bringing the two parties to Chinhoyi which was then known as Sinoia.

After NDP was banned, Cde Chivende joined ZAPU led by Cde Michael Mawema before he was arrested and brought to Chinhoyi for trial. Cde Chivende mobilised youths who converged at the court to disrupt proceedings and the matter was moved to Inkomo where it was held in the presence of soldiers.

He became youth wing organising secretary for ZAPU before it was banned and he joined the People’s Caretaker Council which was engaged in underground politics. When ZANU broke away from ZAPU in 1963, Cde Chivende was instrumental in its organisation in Chinhoyi.

He was arrested, detained and restricted on numerous occasions. Cde Chivende became chief coordinator for military groups in Chinhoyi, Chegutu, Rusape, Harare and Masvingo.

He communicated with the Chegutu Group of liberation fighters which coordinated and killed a white farmer at Navada Farm in the 1960s. This led to his arrest and torture together with the late Cd e Alex Nharara and Cde Bridget Mugabe.

These were early warning signs of agitation at the white colonialist occupation. In 1966, Cde Chivende and others organised to plunge the then Rhodesia into total darkness by acts of sabotage on the power lines from Kariba.

The plan was detected, leading to his arrest together with Cde Nharara. They were detained in cells in Chinhoyi for three months before they were sent to Harare Central Prison where they met the late national hero Cde Morris Nyagumbo. They were then moved to Goromonzi Confinement.

Later, they were to be moved to Harare Central Prison where they met veteran nationalists including President Mugabe, the late Vice President Simon Muzenda, Cdes Edison Zvobgo, Edison Sithole and Leopald Takawira.

In 1967, Cde Chivende was sent to Sikombela Restriction where he was to spend three years.

He went to Geneva for talks in 1976 and when he returned he was taken to Whawha restriction camp in 1977.

Cde Chivende was released to attend the Lancaster House Conference and after that helped in organising the landmark 1980 elections which were convincingly won by ZANU.

After Independence, Cde Chivende became Senator between 1982 and 1984, before becoming Mashonaland West provincial governor between 1985 and 1989. He once worked as a Deputy Minister for Local Government and was in Parliament for 15 years.

People are gathered at his Mwera Oyera Farm in Rafffingora.

Mashonaland West Minister of State Cde Faber Chidarikire visited the farm to pay his condolences yesterday.

He said the loss of Cde Chivende was for the whole country.