PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s decision to appoint ailing former Mashonaland West provincial governor Mudhumeni Chivende into the Zanu PF Central Committee has set tongues wagging in the province.
BY NUNURAI JENA
Chivende is one of the 10 people that Mugabe appointed to the Central Committee at the recent Zanu PF 6th National People’s Congress. But the elevation of the ailing and long-forgotten Chivende has left people talking in Mashonaland West province.
Zanu PF officials who spoke to The Standard said Chivende’s appointment raised more questions than answers on whether Mugabe knows the condition of some of the members he appointed into the central committee.
Chivende is struggling to pay for his medication and other basic needs following what his wife Rosemary termed “neglect” by his erstwhile Zanu PF colleagues after leaving office.
In August Rosemary told our sister paper, NewsDay, just before Heroes Day commemorations that she was bitter as her husband was now virtually destitute.
“It’s surprising that no one is helping vaChivende, but I know they will be the first to come and give speeches at his funeral. They look after the dead more than the living,” Rosemary said.
Compounded with old age, since then, Chivende has never fully recovered.
Zanu PF central committee meets at least three times a year.
A Zanu PF official said Mugabe might have appointed Chivende to pacify him and his family over the failure by the ruling party to look after its own.
He said there were 50-50 chances that Chivende might fail to attend even a single central committee meeting due to ill-health.
Another Hurungwe central committee member Phone Madiro, who had to make the great trek to Nigeria to seek spiritual and physical deliverance from TB Joshua, was also recently elected into the central committee by his district despite poor health.
Chivende served as Mashonaland West’s first provincial governor at independence in 1980 and was one of the key facilitators of the Chinhoyi Battle of 1966 where seven gallant fighters died in a confrontation with Rhodesian forces. He left government after serving two five-year terms.
Credited for accommodating the first group of seven freedom fighters from Zambia who later perished during the famous Chinhoyi Battle, Chivende said he did not benefit from the land reform programme and government’s car schemes since he left office in 1990.
Chivende and Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya-Moyo could not be reached for comment yesterday.