PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has mourned Zanu-PF Matabeleland South chairman Cde Rabelani Choeni, who died last Friday saying the country has lost a solid and principled war veteran who served with utmost loyalty and commitment.
Cde Choeni (71) died of Covid-19 related complications last Friday at his rural home in the Malusingani area in Beitbridge West constituency.
President Mnangagwa who is also the First Secretary of the ruling party, said Cde Choeni’s death saddened him as it was a great loss to the party and Zimbabwe.
“I learnt with great sadness and a deep sense of loss of the untimely death on Friday last week of Cde Rabelani Choeni, our Zanu-PF Provincial Chairman for Matabeleland South.
“The ruling Party and our Nation have lost a solid and principled veteran of the armed liberation struggle who served both with utmost loyalty and total commitment.
“As Provincial Party Chairman, Cde Choeni led the Party from the front, always championing its interests ahead of all else. He advocated peace, unity and development in Matabeleland South Province and in our Nation as a whole.
“That progressive stance won him the respect of the Province he led, and of us all. His departure is a great loss to the Party and our Nation,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the country and the party stand by the family during this difficult time.
“On behalf of the Party, Zanu-PF, Government, my family, and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the Choeni family, especially to his wife Lydia and the children, following the loss of a loving partner, father and mentor.
“May they be comforted to know that we stand with them during this dark period of grief. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” said the President.
The Zanu-PF leadership in Matabeleland South province have submitted an application for the conferment of national hero status on their late chairman.
Cde Choeni joined the liberation struggle under ZPRA in 1974 when he crossed to Zambia through Botswana.
He then travelled to Morogoro, Tanzania where he received military training.
In 1976, he operated at GCB Gokwe region which was later known as the Northern front.
During the same year, he was promoted to Zone Medical man and later the Zone Commander.
In 1978, he was elevated to the position of Deputy Regional Medical Man, a rank he held until the cease-fire period. He is survived by his wife Lydia, one child and five grandchildren.