President Robert Mugabe yesterday declared the late Victoria Chitepo a national heroine following her death on Friday.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Chitepo, the widow of Zanu PF chairman Herbert Chitepo, was found dead by her granddaughter at her Harare home. She had been due to attend a Zanu PF central committee meeting the same day.
“She was the mother of the party and as far as I am concerned, it is natural that she be declared a national heroine,” Mugabe said during a visit to the Chitepo family home.
[Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius] Chombo will make the formal announcement.
“To the children, you are not orphans as long as we are there, come to us if you have any problem”.
Meanwhile, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai led opposition parties in paying tribute to Chitepo.
Tsvangirai took to Twitter to mourn Chitepo, whom he described as a heroine.
“Amai Victoria Fikile Chitepo, is a true heroine of Zimbabwe who lived the straight and honest path. May her soul rest in eternal peace,” he posted.
MDC-T described her as a rare breed of women revolutionaries among them Ruth Chinamano, Sally Mugabe, the late Gogo Johanna Nkomo, Julia Zvobgo and Maud Muzenda.
“We salute the exemplary, selfless and heroic contribution by Amai Victoria Chitepo in ensuring that Zimbabwe attained independence from British colonial rule on April 18 1980,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
“Amai Victoria Chitepo was the epitome of fortitude, resilience and humility.
“After her late husband, Herbert Chitepo, was gruesomely assassinated in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1975, Amai Chitepo never lost her revolutionary zeal and drive to selflessly fight for our independence.
“She single-handedly raised her young family and managed to instil national pride in all her children”.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson Jacob Mafume said, his party was also saddened by Chitepo’s death.
“We are sad to hear that the national heroine has passed on. She was the wife to the president Zimbabwe never had,” he said.
“Zimbabwe can only wish she had become the First Lady [as] this country would have been better off.
“The PDP joins the nation and her family in this difficult time in mourning a gallant daughter of the soil” .
Zimbabwe People First spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, who spoke in his personal capacity indicating his party would issue an official statement, said Chitepo was a humble woman.
“She was ready to contribute to issues at every turn despite the fact that she cruely lost her husband in the struggle,” said Gumbo.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo said the ruling party had lost a dedicated member.
“We are aggrieved as a party; she was a very nice person, very humble, sociable and motherly,” he said. “She was a unifying figure.”