Zimbabweans from across the political divide on Thursday expressed shock over the death of Guruve South lawmaker and former cabinet minister, Edward Chindori Chininga, who died Wednesday evening in a car accident in Mvurwi, Mashonaland Central.
Chininga (58) died instantly when his Jeep Cherokee allegedly failed to stop and hit a tree at a T-junction connecting Raffingora and Mvurwi roads.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper reports that Chininga’s body has been moved from Guruve to Harare. His damaged vehicle has been towed to a friend’s house at Guruve Centre.
Social networking sites were abuzz with Zimbabweans debating the death of the former mines minister which they see as suspicious.
Chininga chaired the parliamentary portfolio committee on mines and energy, which last week produced a damning reporting on missing diamond revenues generated by mining companies in Marange.
Among other portfolios, Chininga was the mines minister between 2000 and 2004. Before this appointment, he was the deputy minister of mines, environment and tourism from 1995 to 2000.
Zanu-PF parliamentary chief whip Joram Gumbo said his party and the Chininga family have lost a dedicated cadre and father.
“His death came to us as a shock, especially as we are preparing for general elections,” said Gumbo. “He was one of our candidates in Guruve and one of our senior MPs.”
Gumbo dismissed those saying the accident was suspicious and pointing fingers at Zanu-PF for causing Chininga’s death.
“I think it was an accident. An accident is an accident and I will take it to be an accident,” he said. “I know that when things happen to politicians somebody has got to be suspected of doing anything to cause the accident but I want to believe that it was an accident.”
Moses Mare, a lawmaker with the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and also a member of the mines committee, said it will be difficult to find anyone in the unity government to replace Chininga and the spirit of unity and patriotism he embodied.
The late Zanu-PF legislator escaped with serious injuries in the first accident last year.
“We have been robbed of a great man, a truly great man and I’m deeply shocked by the news,” said Mare. “When I say he’s a good man I’m not saying it just because he’s dead. I mean it. Across the political parties in parliament, there is and was no-one else like him. He was fair and always stood for the truth. He was very knowledgeable and taught all of us what we know now.”
Mare noted that “Edward has gone at a time when we badly needed him. He was a true colleague, a brother at work and an advisor to our committee. He did everything for Zimbabwe without fear or favour. He stood for the truth and led our committee on mines diligently to investigate issues to do with our diamonds without fear.”
Burial arrangements were still to be announced.