THE late health advisor to the president and cabinet, Dr Timothy Stamps, will not be interred at the Heroes Acre in Harare despite being declared a national hero. According to the family, the decision was in line with the former health minister’s wishes.
“What I can tell you is that, according to his wishes, and because he loved this country so much, we are also as his sons. “He (Dr Stamps) had wished to stay in Zimbabwe; so, his remains will remain in Zimbabwe, although he is now in heaven,” said son Kenyon this Wednesday.
He was speaking at a memorial service held in Harare Wednesday for the widely respected national hero. Dr Stamps succumbed to lung infection about 10 days ago, a few days after his boss, former president Robert Mugabe resigned in a militarised power transition.
Health minister David Parirenyatwa said a plaque would be erected in honour of Stamps who fought against racial discrimination during the war of independence advocating for equality on access to social services.
“The plaque will be erected on a half grave. If you remember that is what happened with Edison Sithole (whose body was not found),” said Parirenyatwa responding to questions soon after the memorial service.
In the speech read on his behalf, Mnangagwa said Dr Stamps was a selfless man who endangered his life on several occasions for the benefit of others, particularly the marginalised and vulnerable.
“He joins a rare breed of a very few fellow citizens who have been bestowed the highest honour on our land who lie buried at the sacred shrine, the national shrine. “Indeed, the according of the national hero status to the late Dr Stamps attests to the role we all can play as Zimbabweans in developing our country regardless of ethnic origin.”
Dr Stamps was dismissed from his position as chief medical officer of Salisbury, now Harare, for working to improve health services for the marginalised blacks. He also established the Stamps foundation to alleviate the plight of people living with chronic illness and was passionate about disability issues.
Sons Telfan and Kenyon Stamps said paid tribute to former president Robert Mugabe for inviting their father to serve Zimbabwe in a sector he was passionate about.
“His excellency was the first president, if not the only one, who took my father and my father came more than willingly to go to the very furthest corners of Zimbabwe. “Together, they had a heart for the people in the remotest places to give them what they needed,” said Kenyon.
Dr Stamps widow, Cindy, also her late husband as a corruption-free person who was devoted to serve the public even when the reward was insignificant and his life was threatened.
WHO country director David Okello added, “We remember him as one of the longest serving minister of Health not just in Zimbabwe but in Africa, a mark of confidence and good work. “He played an invaluable role in demystifying HIV at a time no one wanted to associate with it.”
Among the high-profile figures who attended the memorial were Harare province minister of state Miriam Chikukwa, speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda, Sydney Sekeramayi, Sekai Holland, Zanu PF politician Goodwills Masimirembwa and former cabinet minister Tshinga Dube.