Zanu PF’s supreme decision-making body, the politburo, has turned down a request by its Mashonaland Central provincial executive committee to declare the late Guruve South lawmaker and former Mines Minister Edward Takaruza Chindori Chininga a national hero following his death in a car crash last Wednesday.
The politburo met Monday to discuss the request and agreed Chininga be named a provincial hero. Chininga held the Guruve South parliamentary seat for 18 years.
Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa told journalists after the special politburo meeting that Chininga, whose death has generated a lot of debate on social networking sites, would not be declared a national hero. He did not give reasons. Most of the people writing on social networking sites say Chininga’s death is suspicious, especially as he was seen as a moderate in President Robert Mugabe’s party and championing transparency in the mining and marketing of gems from the rich alluvial Marange diamond fields.
Priviledge Musvanhiri, a Guruve South resident, told VOA the deceased deserved to be conferred national hero status given his contribution in government.
Chininga was one of the few Zanu PF legislators who have taken ministers to task over corruption allegations. In his capacity as chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on mines and energy, Chindori Chininga gave incumbent Mines Minister Obert Mpofu a tough time when he appeared before his committee to answer questions on activities in the Marange diamond fields.
Musvanhiri said one does not need to have participated in the liberation war for him or her to be declared a national icon.
“He deserved to be a national hero,” said Musvanhiri. “He did a lot as a servant of the people, bringing development to the people. One doesn’t need to have gone to the liberation war only to become a national hero. He deserved the honour.”
Chininga’s young brother, Victor, however said there was nothing his family could do except to accept the decision taken by the politburo.
“We accept what the party has decided, that is what we will go by. We accept their decision,” he said.
He said it was unclear where the remains of his brother would be interred, adding the family was still discussing the date and his final resting place.
Chindori Chininga was born on 14 March 1955 and was the minister of mines and mining development between 2000 and 2004. Before that, he was the deputy minister of mines, environment and tourism from 1995 to 2000.
He was the chairman of the parliamentary select committee on mines and energy and the chairman of the stakeholders committee of the parliamentary select committee on the new constitution.
He once served as the Zimbabwe Tourist Development Director (Southern Africa) and also worked as Zimbabwe Tourism Director in New York in the early 1990s.