Zanu PF abandons hero's son

HARARE - One of Zimbabwe’s youngest detainees, son of national hero Josiah Chinamano and heroine Ruth risks a pauper’s burial after Zanu PF failed to help the family raise money to retrieve the body form  mortuary where it has been lying since Christmas Day.

Josiah Chinamano junior, 54, died at Parirenyatwa hospital on Tuesday from an undisclosed ailment.
His death brought to an end a life that loomed large in history but quietly faded after the death of the iconic parents — Josiah and Ruth.

By last night Zanu PF had not made a decision on whether to assist the Chinamano family with money to buy a coffin.

“I am not aware that our people have been chased from the funeral, but I am aware that Chinamano is dead,” said Claudius Mutero Zanu PF Harare province spokesperson.

Asked what the party was doing to assist the family, Mutero said he was not aware of “anything yet”.

 His name is inscribed in the annals of history as arguably the youngest political detainee who, at six years was incarcerated with his parents — who are both buried at the Heroes Acre.

Chinamano junior served 19 months in prison before he was flown to England where he spent his greater life.

Officially he was not known to have married or sired children.

The Daily News yesterday visited the Chinamano’s home in Old Highfield where relatives of the late veteran nationalist, fumed at the party’s leadership for failure to assist them.

 “Tell (Webster) Shamu (Zanu PF secretary for the commissariat) that we want to talk to Mugabe because they have not helped us in any way,” fumed an elderly woman who was talking to an unidentified person on her cell phone.

By 3pm yesterday the Chinamano family was still enquiring from funeral parlours for quotations as the late Josiah, died a pauper without a funeral policy.

This could have made Chinamano senior who died in 1984 after serving as minister of Transport, turn in his grave.

Friends and neighbours, who all wore long faces, told the Daily News of their sadness at the state of affairs at the funeral.

 The Chinamano residence which is in the same neighbourhood with the late father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo’s house is a ramshackle that shows signs of age and abandonment.

Few cars were parked outside while a makeshift tent which housed a handful mourners, was struggling to stand in the afternoon drizzle.

This was, according to neighbours and family friends, in contrast to the colour, pomp and fanfare which accompanied the launch of Tourism Township project in October.

A gazebo that was built at Chinamano’s home by the government contrasts sharply to the dilapidated house where the children of the late nationalist are living a hard life.

Mugabe’s home in Highfield was adorned in bright colours during the Township Tourism project and plans are in progress to have it declared a Tourism World Heritage site.

The struggle to bury Josiah Chinamano junior comes days after Mugabe admitted during the commemorations of another luminary Zimbabwe freedom fighter, Josiah Tongogara that the liberation war party is failing to adequately fend for children and widows of departed liberation war heroes.

“Truthfully, government programmes meant to fend for widows and children of our departed heroes, meant to give surviving veterans substantial wherewithal, have not gone far enough, have not met some of their needs,” said Mugabe.

Unlike his father who has a road named after him in the heart of Harare, Chinamano junior, who grew up in the United Kingdom, died an inglorious death.

Yet, aged six, in June 1965, his father Josiah Chinamano senior was placed under restriction for five years, two months after his release from a previous period of detention.

At the time mother, Ruth, was served with a five-year restriction order.

Sentenced to restriction without trial the Chinamano’s decided that Josiah junior was too young to be separated from them.

Josiah accompanied his mother and father to the Wha Wha detention centre.

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