Former Zimbabwean legislator Mavis Chidzonga, a member of the ZANU-PF team in the late 1970s Lancaster House talks for independence, died on Sunday in her Borrowdale home at the age of 58. She had been diagnosed with malaria, sources said.
A member of the ZANU-PF national consultative assembly, Chidzonga as legislator for Mhondoro, Mashonaland West province, was known for her refusal to rubber-stamp laws tabled by the executive branch. In her career, Chidzonga held government positions in rural development, agriculture and rural electrification.
Chidzonga was to be buried on Wednesday in Gokwe.
ZANU-PF chief whip Joram Gumbo said Chidzonga's death had robbed the nation of a leader committed to rural development and unity. Didymus Mutasa, the party's secretary for administration, said Madzonga's death was a great loss to the country.
"She was really dynamic," Mutasa said. "She was the person who showed direction about the need for freedom for women."
Chidzonga established herself in the politics of the future Zimbabwe in 1973 while in the United Kingdom as ZANU-PF secretary for Britain and Western Europe, raising funds for freedom fighters during the struggle for black majority rule of the former Rhodesia.
A former teacher and academic, Chidzongo was a member of the ZANU-PF central committee and was the ZANU-PF Women’s League's national secretary for legal affairs and women’s rights. She was a member of the boards of the Cold Storage Company and the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company, or Zupco.
Chidzonga also served as a council member for the University of Zimbabwe, and was a member of organizations including the Women’s Multi-Million Roundtable, Zimbabwe Women in Politics, Zimbabwe Women’s Resources Center Network, the Bio-Diversity Network in Southern Africa and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.