Columbus Mabika and Wallace Ruzvidzo
President Mnangagwa has described the late Head of Cabinet Secretariat in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr Francis Sonny Mapingire, as a dignified, humble and dedicated cadre.
Mr Mapingire succumbed to cancer of the colon at a private hospital in Harare on Christmas Day.
He was 57.
In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration and Finance in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr Martin Rushwaya during a funeral service at ZAOGA Braeside Christian Centre International, the President said he learnt of the untimely death of Mr Mapingire with a great sense of shock and sadness.
“Mr Mapingire was a regular and familiar face in the Cabinet where he dutifully and diligently carried out secretarial chores in a humble and dignified manner.
“He commanded respect from all of us in the Cabinet and his passing on leaves a yawning gap in the Secretariat which will be difficult to fill,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said Mr Mapingire’s death was painful considering he was taken away on a day when families get together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
“Sadly, the day turned out to be a dark Christmas for his family as Francis passed on later that day. Celebration turned to mourning,” he said.
President Mnangagwa encouraged the Mapingire family to derive comfort from the knowledge that Government shares in their deep grief and great loss.
His death follows that of his younger brother, Salatiel, on November 18.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, who worked with him on the weekly Cabinet briefings, said he was a true patriot who worked tirelessly to ensure the Cabinet system was efficient.
“I had the privilege to work with Mr Mapingire on the weekly Cabinet briefings, a governance innovation tool of the Second Republic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” she said.
“His attributes came out of a sharp and judicious intellect that helped the public follow, appreciate and understand the direction, challenges and achievements of Government at work.”
In his condolence message, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda described Mr Mapingire as one of the most dependable officers who worked tirelessly and diligently to make the Cabinet system efficient and productive.
“We had hoped that he was going to recover soon and join us back at work, but it was not so. His loss is not only to you but to all of us in the Office of the President and Cabinet and indeed the nation,” he said.
Mr Mapingire started his professional career as a teacher at Highfield High 1 from June to July 1987 before joining the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare as an Administration Officer in August of the same year.
In December 1989, he joined the Department of National Scholarships as a Senior Administration Officer and then moved to the Office of the President and Cabinet in 1994, rising through the ranks to become Head of Cabinet Secretariat in 2009.
At the time of his death, he was studying towards a Doctor of Philosophy Degree with the Midlands State University.
He is survived by his widow Josephine and two sons — Kudzwaishe (24) and Anozivaishe (19).
Mr Mapingire will be buried today at his rural home in Zaka, Masvingo.