Top Mujuru ally dies

HARARE - War veteran, politician and retired military officer, Kudzai Sevious Mbudzi has died aged 54, after a short illness.

Mbudzi died on Sunday at West End Clinic where he had been taken ill last week. At the time of his death, the outspoken retired major was a senior official at the fledgling opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) led by Joice Mujuru, where he was the party’s deputy spokesperson.

He was also in the process of officially releasing a stinging book titled National Grievances which took a swipe at President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF government.

His friend Dzikamai Mavhaire said burial arrangements were yet to be made but mourners were gathering at his home in Rhodene, Masvingo.

ZPF spokesperson Jealous Mawarire yesterday said Mbudzi was a fearless freedom fighter who dedicated his life for the total emancipation of the people of Zimbabwe.

“Mbudzi will be solely missed in the party for his fearless candid and unwavering fight against dictatorship, a fight for justice which was so close to his heart. Mbudzi fought a good fight and we are privileged to have worked with him and shared good and bad memories together,” he said.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said Mbudzi should be remembered for his forthrightness when dealing with issues of democracy and good governance.

“Mbudzi called a spade a spade without any fear. He was one of the first and most outspoken former Zanu PF members who spoke of the party’s excesses and corruption. As the MDC, we would like to say Zimbabwe has lost a diligent fighter,” said Gutu.

“It is people like Mbudzi who inspired activists locally and in the Diaspora to step up and speak out against the misrule of Zanu PF.”

The outspoken Mbudzi was one of the fiercest critics of Mugabe’s rule since joining opposition politics — going against the grain in the military which has traditionally supported Zanu PF.

Mbudzi fought in the war front with the late General Solomon Mujuru and other senior commanders during the war to liberate Zimbabwe.

In February 2008, just a month before the watershed presidential poll, he led a rebellion against Mugabe and successfully shepherded former Zanu PF politburo member and Finance minister Simba Makoni to contest against him at the polls.

Mbudzi was one of the key Zanu PF members who led the campaigns against Mugabe, mainly because he felt the veteran former guerilla had outlived his usefulness in the party.

Makoni failed to defeat Mugabe and came a distant third in the 2008 poll which led to a run-off after Morgan Tsvangirai failed to garner an outright victory against the aged leader.

The results of the election, however, were withheld for five weeks sparking accusations that Tsvangirai had been ‘‘robbed’’ of victory because the inordinate delays ‘‘took away his votes”.

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