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MDC Activist, Veteran Journalist William Bango Dies

  • Thomas Chiripasi
  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

The late veteran journalist William Bango

The late veteran journalist William Bango

Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday at the home of former Movement for Democratic Change presidential spokesman and veteran journalist, William Bango, who died in a crash Tuesday evening along the Chitungwiza-Hwedza highway.

Friends and relatives gathered at the deceased's Marlborough home in Harare to pay their last respects to the journalist who died in a car crash near Dema Growth Point.

Following the accident, Bango was taken to Chitungwiza General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

A senior journalist who worked with the deceased, Conway Tutani, who was among the mourners at the veteran's journalist and media trainer's home, told Studio 7 Bango was a doyen of the journalism fraternity in Zimbabwe.

Another veteran journalist Desmond Kumbuka said the void left by Bango would be difficult to fill.

Tutani said despite joining the political fray in 2002 when he became Mr. Tsvangirai's spokesperson, Bango's writing prowess remained the talk in many newsrooms, adding that many journalists in the country benefitted from his training both at work and college.

During his journalism career, Bango became very influential and at one time became the president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.

He worked for media houses such as The Herald, Daily News and the Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News Agency.

A veteran of Zimbabwe's liberation war of the 1970s, Bango was one of the first few journalists to be trained in independent Zimbabwe along the like of Chris Chinaka of Reuter News Agency, Tapfuma Machakaire, the late Andrew Rusinga, Munyaradzi Chenje and Tarcey Munaku.

Popularly referred to by his totem, Nungu, Bango, a Harvard graduate, was also known for his humour and intelligence.

He joined politics in 2002 when he became Mr. Tsvangirai's spokesman and served in that capacity until 2008 when he was re-assigned to head the policy unit of the opposition party.

Bango was one of the MDC activists who were assaulted in police custody in 2007 at Machipisa Police Station in Harare's Highfields suburb together with Mr. Tsvangirai following their arrest on their way to a prayer meeting that had been organized by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.

A statement released by the MDC-T said Bango sustained permanent injuries that were affecting him until the time of his death.

He contested for a parliamentary seat in Chikomba East in 2008 under the MDC-T and lost by only 20 votes to a Zanu PF candidate.

Bango authored of Mr. Tsvangirai's book titled "At the deep end" that chronicles the former prime minister's trials and tribulations in his fight for democracy in Zimbabwe.

Bango is survived by his wife, Charity, who is a councilor for Marlborough in the Harare City Council, four children and several grandchildren.

Some of his relatives said the deceased is likely to be buried at his rural home in Chikomba on Friday although burial arrangements are yet to be finalized.

Mourners are gathered at house number 48 Adylin Road, Marlborough.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Union of Journalists Secretary-General Foster Dongozi who worked with the late Bango tells reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga the veteran journalist was a likeable character who did not mince his words.