Samuel Kadungure in Marange
Hundreds of people thronged Nyachityu Village in Marange to pay their last respects to former acting Chief Marange Mr Gilbert Chikwadombo, who died on Sunday and was buried at his homestead here yesterday.
He was 49.
Mr Chikwadombo, who is remembered for serving his area with distinction both as a traditionalist and politician, succumbed to suspected malaria.
Addressing mourners, Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Dr Chris Mushohwe said Mr Chikwadombo left a void difficult to fill.
Dr Mushohwe said Mr Chikwadombo dedicated his life to serving the people politically and traditionally, which justifies why President Mugabe accorded him liberation hero status.
He explained that such a status can only be accorded to true patriots, adding that even the likes of former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru will not get such recognition since she has sold out.
“I know him as someone who was both politically and traditionally correct and worked tirelessly to ensure development of the Marange area. He was shrewd, and a gift to both Government and Zanu-PF. He was a true leader, a humble and servant leader,” said Dr Mushohwe, adding that the departed treated all equally.
“I have never seen a traditional leader who was as humble as Gilbert. When you are a chief, you get surrounded by many people, but Gilbert loved all equally. He was a brave and articulate leader. He had a huge family (nine wives and 31 children) but loved them equally and made sure they co-existed,” said Dr Mushohwe.
Dr Mushohwe said: “We built many schools and clinics with him. We have six clinics that are at different levels towards completion, we have many schools that we started building with him. There was no development initiated in this area without his involvement. He was always at the forefront.”
The Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Cde Mandi Chimene, who was represented by the acting provincial administrator Mr Edgar Seenza said Mr Chikwadombo was revered for his hard work, and urged mourners to emulate his good exploits.
Family spokesman Mr Farai Marange said Mr Chikwadombo’s death was both shocking and unbelievable.
He was born on June 14, 1968, and did his primary education at Makomwe Primary School before enrolling at Nharira High.
He served as acting Chief Marange from 2006 to October 2016.
He joined Zanu-PF in 1989 as a branch chairman and the following year was elected the district youth chair. In 1990 he rose to become the secretary for administration in the then disbanded district coordinating committee. In 2013 he was elected into the Zanu-PF provincial executive and served as its secretary for gender and culture.
During his reign as acting chief, he was instrumental in the construction of St Noah primary and secondary schools as well as the establishment of the Marange Community Share Ownership Trust.