All set for Tekere burial

HARARE – Zanu PF as usual has not let off the opportunity to milk the death of veteran politician and founding member Edgar Tekere with party faithful lining up with messages of condolence and commentaries of a man who sacrificed his all for the liberation of Zimbabwe only to die a near destitute.

Announcing transport arrangements for the burial, Acting Harare Metropolitan Province Governor, Alfred Tome said 20 buses have been availed for Harare province at the usual pick up points,state controlled ZBC News reported on Saturday.

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10 buses have been set aside for Manicaland province while each province will get five buses.

The Secretary General for the Harare Province War Veterans’ Association, Claudius Mutero and Zanu PF Women’s League Deputy Secretary for Security, Margaret Sithole urged people to come in their numbers and give a befitting sendoff to a gallant freedom fighter.

Edgar Zivanayi Tekere, who is a founder member of ZANU passed away on Tuesday at Murambi garden clinic in Mutare at the age of 74 and was declared a national hero.

His death touched the hearts of many people he associated with.

For Ambuya Francesca Muchena of Mabvuku, the conferment of a national hero’s status to the late Edgar Tekere is a fulfilment of what he worked for his entire life in the struggle.

Mbuya Muchena, who worked as a svikiro, said his first encounter with the late national hero was in the 1970s in Chief Rekayi Tangwena’s area in Nyanga where she performed various traditional rituals for the protection of the comrades in the trenches.

Acting under Chief Tangwena’s instructions, Mbuya Muchena worked closely with the late national hero, whom he described as a staunch believer in the role of medium spirits in the struggle.

She emotionally chronicles her encounter with the revolutionary icon.

“I am a traditionalist and I worked with the late Tekere, who understood and cherished our role as svikiros in the struggle. He supported us fully but most of all he was candid, honesty and not corrupt. The fact that he was declared a national hero is clear testimony of his greatest contribution to the liberation struggle,” said Mbuya Muchena.

Even after independence, Mbuya Muchena said they interacted regularly and performed traditional dances at various occasions with Tekere being very supportive.

She remembers vividly the support she got from Tekere to fend for her 16 children.

“I have 16 children and he always wondered why I was having so many children but he always supported me,” she added.

Mbuya Magna Chanaiwa of Highfield, Harare says she first met the late national hero Edgar Tekere in the 1960s when they used to hold meetings at Cyril Jennings Hall with other early nationalists.

She said he was highly temperamental and focussed, and to her he is a hero of heroes.

Born on the 1st of April 1937, Tekere was among the founders of Zanu on the 8th of August 1963.

His contributions in the struggle and after independence have remained critical in Zimbabwe’s liberation war history.

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With a colourful political career that spanned over half a century, the late veteran politician Edgar Tekere’s death has been received with a deep sense of loss by early nationalists who worked with him. They say his departure has chirped off an important foundation stone from Zimbabwe’s liberation history.

Veteran nationalist, Nelson Mawema, says the passing on of Tekere should be an important reminder to all Zimbabweans that the late nationalist was a symbol of Zimbabwe’s revolution whose uncompromising attitude was a pre-requisite in the struggle.

Mawema recalled the work done by the late nationalist as he worked with other founders of Zimbabwe’s struggle who include Robert Mugabe, Enos Nkala, James Bassoppo-Moyo and Robert Marere, after being arrested in 1964 in Highfield.

“He was an uncompromising man and the story of his works should be told throughout Zimbabwe as it is an important reminder of where we come from,” added Mawema.

Another early nationalist, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, said all those that worked with Tekere will miss him deeply as they recall his promotion of Zanu PF ideology and his love for the Zimbabwean people that saw him devote his energy to the liberation of Zimbabwe.

He said, “I worked with him for over 50 years and he is one of those people I call the foundation stones of the liberation struggle.”

An icon of the struggle described as an “uncompromising soldier of the struggle”, Tekere will be laid to rest at the national shrine on Sunday.