By Paul Nyathi|President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Sunday presided over the burial of national hero John Chimbandi with the nation taking very little concern on the burial. In fact much of the nation’s attention was taken away by a highly attended MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa rally which was being held at the same time in Chiredzi.
Chimbandi died at Arundel Clinic in Harare on June 2, after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and heart enlargement, which affected his breathing. He was declared a national hero by the ZANU PF politburo.
Celebrated as a workaholic who continued to serve the nation after suffering a stroke which partially paralysed the left side of his body, Chimbandi’s burial drew a low turnout of predominantly family members and ZANU PF supporters.
Proceedings began in the morning with people drawn from business, politics and academia thronging Stodart Hall in Mbare for a brief ceremony and body-viewing.
President Mnangagwa and First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa led the body-viewing session followed by Cabinet ministers, service chiefs and other dignitaries.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and his wife Marry Chiwenga, Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, Deputy Speaker Mabel Chinomona, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs Miriam Chikukwa and ZANU PF Politburo member Sydney Sekeramayi, attended the ceremony.
Chimbandi’s body was ferried to its final resting place at the national shrine on a gun carriage.
His daughter Annah said her father was a humble man.
“He was a man of few words and a humble person. “He was a protective father and very generous.”
Chimbandi was born on October 01, 1950 to Anna and Martin Chimbandi in Hwedza’s Zviyambe area.
He attended St Annes Mission, Goto and Ranch House College in Harare for secondary education from 1964 to 1969. Chimbandi obtained a Bachelor of Political Science degree from the University of Botswana between 1969 and 1971.He received his military training in Tanzania after joining the liberation struggle in 1972.
At independence Chimbandi joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Assistant Secretary for Africa and the Middle East. He later served in various capacities in the diplomatic circles until his retirement last year.