Peter Matambanadzo Senior Reporter
Zanu-PF Politburo member and former Cabinet minister Cde Kumbirai Manyika Kangai, who died on Saturday, has been declared a national hero and will be buried at the National Heroes Acre on Saturday. He was 75. Zanu-PF Secretary for Security and out-going Minister of State Security, Cde Sydney Sekeramayi visited the Kangai family home in Glen Forest yesterday where he announced the hero status.
“I have been sent by Zanu-PF to announce to the Kangai family that he has been declared a national hero,” said Cde Sekeramayi, who was accompanied by Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo.
“The Politburo unanimously agreed that he deserved to be accorded that status.”
Cde Sekeramayi said the delegation was sent by President Mugabe to convey his deepest condolences to the Kangai family as he had left Harare for Victoria Falls where he officially opened the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly.
Family spokesperson Mr Reward Kangai thanked President Mugabe, Zanu-PF and the Politburo for according Cde Kangai the national hero status.
“On behalf of the Kangai family, we would like to thank the entire leadership of Zanu-PF, the Politburo, the President for finding it fit to give our father this hero status,” Mr Reward Kangai said.
“We believe that this is going to motivate our family towards fulfilling the objectives that he (Cde Kangai) fought for. We are grateful on this status that has been conferred.”
Mr Reward Kangai, who is also the NetOne managing director, said burial had been set for Saturday to ensure everyone in the family was present.
“Burial will be on Saturday at the National Heroes Acre to allow some family members to travel from outside the country,” he said.
When The Herald visited the Kangai family home yesterday, senior Government and Zanu-PF officials were conveying their condolences.
Those interviewed described the late revolutionary as a stalwart in Zimbabwean politics.
“He was a patriot, a gallant fighter, brave, resolute, nationalist who contributed enormously to the liberation of Zimbabwe as well as the development of Zimbabwe,” Cde Gumbo said.
“For me, I am personally devastated and he was a personal friend. We toiled together and we are very sorry.”
Zanu-PF central committee member Cde Esau Mupfumi described Cde Kangai as a humble leader.
“I worked with Cde Kangai for the past 20 years,” he said. “He was a down to earth person who was always humble and never bragged about his contribution to the country’s liberation.”
Zanu-PF National Assembly Member-elect for Nyanga North Cde Supa Mandiwanzira described Cde Kangai’s death as devastating and a huge loss to the nation.
“He was a stalwart of Zimbabwean politics,” he said. “His death is a huge loss, especially to us who are coming into politics as greenhorns. These are the people who were giving us advice on how to manoeuvre.”
Cde Kangai’s body is expected to be flown to his rural home in Buhera where it will lie in state ahead of burial.
A former Cabinet minister, Cde Kangai collapsed at his home on Saturday morning and was rushed to Corporate 24 Medical Clinic in Harare where he later died from a suspected heart attack.
Cde Kangai was one of Zanu’s founding members in 1963 and was a member of Dare ReChimurenga formed in the early 1970s to spearhead the armed struggle.
After independence, Cde Kangai held various posts in Government.
He was the first Minister of Labour and Social Services and went on to serve as the Minister of Industry and Commerce before being appointed Minister of Lands and Agriculture.
Cde Kangai is survived by his wife Miriam, 12 children and several grand children.
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