HARARE - A high-level team comprising of Zanu PF Manicaland provincial leadership yesterday descended on the late Kumbirai Kangai’s Glen Forest Farm in Harare for his memorial service.
From chronicling his first interactions with the ex-Cabinet minister at Cold Comfort Farm in 1967 to narrating their second encounter in Britain in 1973, Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa described the late national hero as a “fearless and honest cadre” at both government, and party levels.
In exile, Mutasa who is the party’s secretary for administration also said he worked with Kangai in building the Birmingham chapter of the then liberation movement and later in Mozambique, and where they mobilised resources, especially from Sweden, for guerrillas operating in the eastern front.
“As a provincial chairman for Manicaland, he also proved to be a reliable and disciplined cadre (dedicated) to the developmental work of that (vast) province,” Mutasa said.
On the touchy senate-succession issue, the staunch President Robert Mugabe loyalist said they had chosen former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono to replace Kangai since “he fits the profile and had also served the nation well”.
Despite facing resistance, “spanners in the works” and some tough questions from Zanu PF factions on whether they were not dictating to the people of Buhera, Mutasa said the province “was resolute in its choice and would not be dissuaded in its nomination” — just as the people had to be guided in that process.
In his vote of thanks and tribute to the late Kangai, Gono said he was humbled to have been chosen senator-designate for the area, but would wait for the party and government to finish all necessary procedures before taking up the position.
Crucially, he implored the media to “report truthfully and not use the former Agriculture minister’s name in factionalism, and other divisive issues”.
“To those in the media, I urge you to report what you heard here and not let someone else (who was not here) write those stories for you. As you might have heard, the late Kangai was a good man and, so, please do not use his name in vain,” the ex-Central Bank boss said, adding “factionalism not only destroys the party, but it cripples the economy.”
Those in attendance included Manicaland provincial chairman John Mvundura, central committee member Idah Mashonganyika and major general Douglas Nyikayaramba.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF politburo member and spokesman Rugare Gumbo also extolled his friendship — dating back to the 60’s — to the late stalwart, saying Kangai was a principled cadre who had risen from their humble Zimuto days — through America and Zambia — to the Dare ReChimuchirenga.
The ex-Cabinet minister also attacked mafikozolos (newcomers) for using party resources to advance their own interests.