Nationalist Cde Mukudzei Mudzi (94) who died on Saturday, will be accorded a State-assisted funeral in recognition of his commitment to freeing the country from settler control, even during disagreements with Zanla leadership in the late 1970s.
Speaking at State House in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa described the nationalist as a hard-working man who dedicated his life to liberate Zimbabwe from the yoke of colonial bondage.
Until his death he and former Zanu PF Politburo member and Cabinet minister Cde Rugare Gumbo were the two surviving members of the Dare ReChimurenga, the war council constituted to execute the liberation struggle.
That Dare ReChimurenga was headed by the late chairman of Zanu, Cde Herbert Chitepo, with Cde Mudzi as Secretary for Administration.
Acting President Constantino Chiwenga had already consulted the President over the burial arrangement of the departed nationalist.
“This is why he has been given State-assisted funeral. The Acting President has already consulted me, and we agreed that we grant him a State-assisted funeral,” said the President.
President Mnangagwa chronicled how he met Cde Mudzi in 1972.
“In 1972, that’s when I met Cde Mukudzei Mudzi. As I said (earlier), the other nationalist, Cde Moton Dizzy Paul Malianga (91), we met him in 1963, but Mukudzei in 1972, when I came out of prison,” he said.
Dare ReChimurenga was the Zanu War Council, which spearheaded the prosecution of the war.
Other members that constituted Dare ReChimurenga included Cde Henry Hamadziripi as Treasurer, Cde Gumbo as Publicity and Information Secretary, Cde Noel Mukono as Secretary for Defence, and the late Zanu PF Politburo member and former Cabinet minister, Cde Kumbirai Kangai.
“I think he is one of the surviving members. Most of them have now passed on. He was one of the team that structured the armed struggle on the Zanu side, (leading to) the creation of Zanla. He was among the top leadership of the time under the chairmanship of Cde Herbert Chitepo,” said the President.
“Tongo (the late Josiah Tongogara) was Commander in Chief of the Defence.”
He also narrated how Cde Mudzi with other comrades deviated from the revolutionary ethos of Zanla which led to their suspension in the late 1970s.
“However, during the course of the struggle, we had our own conflicts in the struggle in Mozambique, I think in the late 1970s. We had them suspended because they were involved in some acts of non-compliance with the revolutionary ethos of Zanla.
“Then we suspended him. It was Cde Rugare Gumbo, it was Hamadziripi, it was Chrispen Mandizvidza. Initially they were six. The group included Richard Hove and Kumbirai Kangai.
“When we had our trial, R.C. Hove and Kangai were discharged and these (remainder) were convicted. So we put them aside and we went ahead with our revolution.”
After independence, President Mnangagwa said Cde Mudzi came back and rejoined the party and never deviated.
He was appointed as one of the deputy directors in the Registrar-General’s office under former Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede until he retired.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) chairman, Cde Chris Mutsvangwa, said Cde Mudzi was a great and committed cadre with his commitment and bravery shown by his membership of the original Dare ReChimurenga.
“The struggle is not linear; you cannot take it away from him. He was a committed cadre,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.