Minister Oliver Chidawu who collapsed and died at his home declared national hero


MINISTER of State for Harare Metropolitan Province and Devolution who collapsed and died at his home on Tuesday at the age of 66, has been declared a national hero.

Speaking at the Chidawu family home in Harare last night President Mnangagwa said the ruling Zanu PF party had unanimously agreed to have Eng Chidawu interred at the sacred and revered National Heroes Acre at a date to be announced after consultations with the family.

“As the Zanu PF party leadership, we have unanimously declared him a national hero because of his commitment to serve the nation and party in different capacities. He was one of us. He will be buried at the National Heroes Acre because of his contributions towards the development of the country,” said President Mnangagwa.

Zimbabweans can pluck a leaf from the illustrious late Eng Chidawu who was unrelenting in his quest for black empowerment and ownership of the economy.

“People should be remembered by their work ethics and patriotism towards the development of the country,” said the President.

The President was accompanied by Vice President Chiwenga, Secretary for Security Cde Lovemore Matuke and his deputy Cde Tendai Chirau, Secretary for War Veterans Cde Douglas Mahiya, Committee Member in the Politburo Cde Omega Hungwe and Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde John Paradza.

Also present was Zanu PF Harare provincial chairperson Cde Godwills Masimirembwa and Cde Ratidzo Mukarati, Harare provincial women’s league chairperson among other provincial members.

President Mnangagwa chronicled the outstanding role that Eng Chidawu played as a pioneering entrepreneur and also the youngest ever mayor of the city of Harare.

“People like Chidawu are appointed to senior positions because of their hard work, commitment and dedication to the party,” said President Mnangagwa.

President Mnangagwa said appointing Eng Chidawu to a ministerial post was a mammoth task as he preferred to run his vast business empire. But eventually, he acquiesced to serve his country.

“It was not an easy task to convince him to become a minister where he will be earning a monthly salary. He was not that calibre. He was someone dedicated to his business. I convinced him to take the ministerial post.”

“I told him that if you are a committed Zanu PF cadre, I am appointing you as the Harare provincial minister and he agreed. I worked with him closely and he was committed to delivering for his country.

“He was bringing stability here in Harare, and he was also a Politburo member. I appointed him to the Politburo together with Cde Hungwe,” he said.

He said the party also elevated former acting Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Chirau to the Politburo to learn the ropes.

“We want him to become a leader tomorrow. We want him to learn from the party leadership. We are nurturing him,” said President Mnangagwa.

Cde Chidau worked with Dr Afaras Gwaradzimba, who is a chartered accountant and the late former Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) chief executive Mr Douglas Munatsi to establish a number of businesses in Zimbabwe and abroad.

As the Harare Metropolitan Province Minister, Eng Chidawu superintended over several towns and local boards.

A chartered engineer and entrepreneur, Eng Chidawu was chairman of African Banking Corporation Zimbabwe, non-executive chairman of Manders Group, and founder of Kuchi Group of Companies. He was also a major shareholder in Bitumen Construction Services and the founding shareholder and director of Heritage Investment Bank which merged with First Merchant

He was also a director at Starafrica Corporation and was once the chairman at Pelhams Ltd and Zimplow Ltd.

Earlier in his condolence to Eng Chidawu’s family, President Mnangagwa said the untimely death of Cde Chidau came as a great shock to him considering that, a day before his demise they had shared lighter moments with other dignitaries at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare.

President Mnangagwa said the nation has lost a very humble minister of Government, a strong revolutionary cadre of the Zanu PF party, who served both with utmost loyalty, commitment and dedication.

“He looked well and in happy spirits. It is, therefore, heartbreaking and difficult to accept that our dear departed comrade is gone forever. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace.

“A staunch believer in indigenisation, the late Cde Chidawu was among the earliest of our citizens who founded soon after Independence their own companies, in his case, a civil engineering outfit,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said Eng Chidawu anticipated the national bid to localise businesses and enlarge ownership of black Zimbabweans’ stake in the economy.

“We shall always remember him by the different roles he played in the service of his country and people, both during the liberation struggle and after Independence.

“On behalf of Zanu PF, Government, my family, and indeed on my behalf, I wish to express my deepest condolences to the Chidawu family, especially to his wife Spiwe and the children, who have lost a loving husband and great father,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said the Chidawu family should ever take comfort from the knowledge that the nation stands with them during their darkest hour of grief.

Family spokesperson Mr Louis Huni said the death of Cde Chidawu is a great loss to the family.

“He was a pillar of strength and unifier to the family,” said Mr Huni.

He thanked President Mnangagwa and the entire party leadership for declaring his uncle a national hero.

Burial arrangements would be announced in due course.

He is survived by his wife Spiwe and two children Dadirai and Ropafadzo.

— Chronicle

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