FORMER Manicaland Provincial Governor and Deputy Minister of Industry and International Trade, Cde Kenneth Vhundukai Manyonda (88) has died.
Cde Manyonda also served as Member of Parliament for Buhera North after defeating the late Movement for Democratic Change president, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai during the 2000 parliamentary elections.
He was the acting Chief Nerutanga at the time of his death.
Mutasa South Member of Parliament as well as the late veteran nationalist’s nephew, Cde Misheck Mugadza confirmed Cde Manyonda’s death.
“Yes, I can confirm the passing on of our father, grandfather, mentor and veteran politician, Cde Kenneth Manyonda. We are what we are today because of him as he was a fatherly figure. He motivated me to be a lawyer and for me to be a politician, I took it from him.
“Cde Manyonda died early this morning at Marlborough Clinic in Harare where he was admitted. He has been unwell for some time. For us, his death is a double blow as he was the acting Chief Nerutanga,” said Cde Mugadza.
Cde Manyonda was born in Buhera in 1934 and after completing his education he worked in various jobs in the industrial and commercial sector.
He became a member of the African National Congress of Rhodesia not long after its formation and then joined the National Democratic Party after the banning of the ANC, becoming the local branch secretary of the NDP in Gweru.
After a short period working in Livingstone, Zambia, Cde Manyonda returned to Gweru in 1962, where he was asked to become chairman of the Gweru branch of ZAPU.
Also at that time, Cde Manyonda first became involved in trade union activity.
He obtained a post as an accounts clerk for Charles W Hall Ltd, a hosiery manufacturing company, and when workers at the factory decided to form themselves into a branch of the Textile Workers’ Union of Rhodesia, Cde Manyonda was elected their chairman.
At a national meeting in Kadoma, the union’s name was changed to the United Textile Workers Union of Rhodesia and Cde Manyonda was elected president.
Following the split in ZAPU and the formation of ZANU in 1963, Cde Manyonda joined the latter organisation.
He became vice-chairman of the Gweru branch and was increasingly involved in both political and trade union activities.
In 1966 he was arrested and began what turned out to be over two years of detention.
On his release in 1968, he found himself unemployable in industry.
Instead, he obtained a full-time position with his union, first resigning his presidency which had continued during his detention.
Cde Manyonda organised the publication of a union newspaper, which led to his election as publicity secretary for the African Trade Unions Congress.
He left Rhodesia in 1970 after obtaining a British government grant to study industrial relations in the UK.
He came back after independence and worked in various Government departments until his appointment as Manicaland Provincial Governor.
He is survived by four children.
— Manica Post