Stamps' family asks for privacy

HARARE – The family of the late former minister of Health Timothy Stamps who died on Sunday aged 81, has asked for privacy while they mourn their father.

Stamps died of a lung infection at Borrowdale Trauma Centre in Harare, and was subsequently declared a national hero.

Traditionally, national heroes have their funerals taken over by the State.

Usually, they are taken to their homes where they lie in state before being taken to Stodart Hall in Mbare on burial day en route to their final resting place at the national shrine in the capital.

But contrary to the ruling party’s tradition, the Stamps family is not departing from their mourning rites, which are quite distinct from African custom where mourners gather at the deceased home and mourn for days until the day of burial.

When the Daily News crew visited the family home to pay condolences and also inquire on burial arrangements, there was no sign of mourners in sight save for a police officer and an unidentified man who were manning the gate.

The two informed the Daily News crew that the family was at home but had apparently requested that everyone be turned away as they needed to mourn in privacy.

Asked on the burial arrangements for the late national hero, family spokesperson Kenyon Stamps said: “I cannot speak on that right now, there shall be an announcement by the State on the burial arrangements and dates but what I can tell you is that a memorial service will be held for him December 6, at the Celebration Centre in Harare”.

Unconfirmed reports indicated that the family wanted Stamps to be interred at the family plot in Goromonzi.

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, who was among the ruling party entourage that conveyed the message of hero status to the Stamps’, said the family was still consulting.

However, if he is buried at the National Heroes Acre, Stamps will become the third non-black national hero to be interred there after Guy Clutton-Brock and Joseph Culverwell.

The late 81-year-old Health advisor to the president and Cabinet, Stamps served as Health minister from 1986 to 2002 and for most of this period, was the only white member of the government.

Among other contributions to the health sector, he launched the Dr Timothy Stamps Trust for people living with chronic condition.

He founded the trust in 2004 after being touched by the plight of people living with chronic conditions.