Liberation war hero died a pauper

HARARE - Liberation war hero Peter Manyani (84) died a pauper, living in squalid conditions, with his family complaining that the ruling party had abandoned him.

An ex-member of Zanu’s High Command during the liberation struggle and who was also instrumental in setting up the Nyadzonya, and Chimoio camps, the 84 year-old passed away at Parirenyatwa Hospital on March 10.

Although he was declared a liberation war hero - after a lot of haggling - Manyani was finally buried at his rural Chihota home on Wednesday afternoon after confusion over his hero status and he had even struggled to pay his medical bills.

Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesman, admitted Manyani deserved more, but said the ruling party could not give him what he rightfully deserved.

“It is unfortunate, it happened that way,” Gumbo said. “The matter was supposed to have been handled by the secretary for administration (Didymus Mutasa) but he was unable to attend to it.

“As a party, we appreciate the role played by Comrade Manyani and we regard him highly.”

Apart from being a liberation hero, Manyani was also a spirit medium for the liberation war guerrillas during and after the war.

“They used him as their undertaker whenever they went to exhume bodies for reburial, he was the one leading the pack,” said one family member who declined to be named. “He was there in Chimoio and most recently at Chibondo, yet they decide to forget him in death.”

Manyani was ailing in his last days and could not even afford transport to hospital.

“We could not afford to take him for specialist treatment when he was ill. Banking on the support of party, he had not joined any funeral policy,” said another family member.

What is even more galling for the children of the “abandoned” hero was that notwithstanding his impeccable war credentials, the highest honour he got was to be conferred with a mere liberation war hero status by Zanu PF.

“Declaring him a liberation war hero is an insult to the family and friends who worked with him during wartime. As a family we never had time with him because he was always not there,” said one family member.

“We waited for nine days with the body in the mortuary,” fumed another family member.

Confusion swirled on his hero status.

Things were said to be tough even at the funeral, as the family had to carry a heavy burden to sustain three funerals, one in Chihota, his rural home, the other at the farm in Mt Darwin and the other one in Warren Park, said a family member.

Although Zanu PF had earlier promised to buy a decent coffin for the deceased, befitting his status, the family said they were shell-shocked when they were shown “a sub-standard coffin” they claimed was worth $300.

“We could not send off our father in such a coffin, so we decided to contribute and buy a decent coffin,” said another family member.

“While we are aware that the responsibility to bury our father lies with us, Zanu PF had promised to buy one. They should have told us last week, we could have buried him without their assistance.”

Comments (5)

That is ZanuPf for you. They can use you as a condom and get rid of you and say 'ah we are sorry ' we should have done better but its a done deal.

maita - 24 March 2014

If you thought they were lying when they said "Mu ZANU PF itamba wakachenjera or ZANU PF chiwororo" now you have seen it for yourselves.But what surprises us a lot is that no matter how some people are treated by this once majority party they will tell you that they will never quit the party and you wonder whether this party is now God. Many have been neglected and many have suffered the same way.In ZANU PF chefs are never asked even if they make wrong decisions. That is why the country is in serious free fall.Never trust a subordinate who never sees any wrong with his superior.

SHAVA - 24 March 2014

Rest in Peace comrade Peter Manyani. You played your part. We really appreciate what you did for Our mother land.We will all follow you.For we know that after the game both the king and the pawn go back in the box. You left a legacy and those who did not recognize were merely trying to hide from the truth.You are our HERO. Thank you once again

SHAVA - 24 March 2014

i BET HE WAS POSSIBLY NOT ZEZURU! Only zezuru heroes are hurriedly declared with no debate, whatsoever...even young ones like Boarder who never saw the war!

Tongogara weChachacha - 24 March 2014

If he is not Zebulun how could he come from Chihota? At his age, this man was a pensioner. Don't dtell me he did not access the war vet pension award. If it was the impression of war veg families that they would be catered for by the party until death. They don t understand that circumstances are not guaranteed every day. They is money shortage even for ZANU pf

Bachinche - 24 March 2014

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