Ex-minister Mathuthu dies

BULAWAYO - Liberation war stalwart and ex-Zanu PF’s Women’s League deputy secretary Thokozile Mathuthu has died.  She was 61.

According to her husband, Jonathan Mathuthu, the former Matabeleland North Provincial minister succumbed to cancer around 4:30am yesterday at their family home in Harare.

“She died at our home this morning. She has been suffering from cancer for over a year now,” Mathuthu told the Daily News.

“Her illness was worsened by her asthmatic condition.”

Home Affairs and Culture minister Obert Mpofu yesterday paid tribute to his long time party colleague in Matabeleland North Province.

“We have also received the sad news; I know she has not been well for some time. We are actually on our away there as politburo members,” Mpofu said.

Politiburo member Joshua Malinga also paid tribute to Mathuthu.

“I am very saddened by her death. Personally, I feel she is a national heroine,” Malinga said.

The emotion-filled obituaries gave the impression that Mathuthu was one of those rare breeds of Zimbabweans who played an inestimable role in the 1970s war of liberation that took away a lot of Zimbabwean treasure and blood.

Under the National Heroes Act, the President holds the discretion to declare national heroes and heroines.

If she is declared a national heroine, she will become one of the few liberation stalwarts interred there.

Most women buried at Heroes Acre are spouses of liberation war leaders.

It was unclear if the Zanu PF politburo was likely to declare Mathuthu a national heroine.

Mathuthu served in former president Robert Mugabe’s government as deputy minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services.

Her service was short lived as the military intervention which led to a soft coup against Mugabe in November last year ushered in Mnangagwa, who in his Cabinet appointments opted for Cain Mathema.

Mathuthu was seen as a close ally of Mugabe and part of the G40 faction.

The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (Zacras), which lobbies and advocates for liberalisation of the airwaves and enactment of media friendly laws and the creation of a media friendly environment, mourned the loss of Mathuthu. 

Zacras acting national coordinator Kudzai Kwangwari took to social media yesterday acknowledging the former Information deputy minister’s will to address the issue of licensing of community radio stations.

“She might have had limited political power in the scheme of things to execute certain policy issues but she was humble and receptive,” Kwangwari said.

“She was available. We now encourage those that remain in government especially manning the media and broadcasting portfolio to play ball and institute necessary broadcast media reforms.”

She is survived by four children and several grandchildren.

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