FORMER Mashonaland West provincial governor Mudhumeni Chivende has died.
Chivende, who was now living like a destitute, died at Chinhoyi hospital in the early hours of Saturday where he was admitted two weeks ago for an undisclosed ailment.
His wife Rosemary, at one point, disclosed the family was struggling to pay for his medication and other basic needs, following claims of neglect by his erstwhile Zanu PF colleagues after he left public office.
“It’s surprising that no one is helping vaChivende, but I know they will be the first to come and give speeches at his funeral. They [Zanu PF] look after the dead more than the living,” Rosemary said then.
Chivende, who served as Mashonaland West’s first provincial governor at independence in 1980 and was one of the key facilitators of the Chinhoyi Battle of 1966 where seven freedom fighters died in a fierce battle with Rhodesian forces, left government after serving two five-year terms.
The former governor, who is credited with accommodating the first group of seven freedom fighters from Zambia who later perished during the famous Chinhoyi Battle, last year revealed that he did not benefit from government’s land reform programme or car schemes since he left office in 1990.
Chivende is one of the 10 people that Mugabe appointed to the Central Committee at the December 2014 National People’s Congress. His elevation left people talking in Mashonaland West province.
Zanu PF officials who spoke to The Standard then said Chivende’s appointment raised more questions than answers on whether Mugabe knew the condition of some of the members he appointed into the central committee.
Former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson, Temba Mliswa on Saturday said he was shocked to hear of Chivende’s death and accused the ruling party of “neglecting its own”.
“Very soon they will declare him a national hero. It is the same thing they did to Nathan Shamuyarira. They never look after their own but want to wail hard at funerals. I helped Chivende and even offered to give him the car that I had received from Parliament, but Zanu PF would have none of it,” Mliswa said.
He added that “it is ironic that Chivende died a pauper in [Ignatius] Chombo’s [Zanu PF secretary for administration] constituency”.
Chombo yesterday confirmed Chivende’s death in Selous at a Zanu PF Youth Sports Festival.
Zanu PF Mashonaland West acting provincial chairperson Ephraim Chengeta said his executive would be writing to the ruling party’s leadership requesting national hero status for Chivende.
“He contributed immensely to the party, liberation struggle as well as a government official during his prime,” Chengeta said.
Asked if he had been aware of Chivende’s financial plight, Chengeta professed ignorance.
“I would not want to lie. I am not sure if his problems were to do with his health or finance, but I just know that he had a farm that he was running,” he said.
Chivende was virtually scrounging for food at his farm in Raffingora.standard