The Sunday Mail
Levi Mukarati Deputy News Editor
The deaths of Cdes George Rutanhire and Moudy Muzenda is a double tragedy for Zimbabwe, President Mugabe has said.
The President said the emotional loss had made tears well in his eyes. President Mugabe bared his soul at the National Heroes Acre yesterday as he interred national heroes Cde Rutanhire, and wife of the late Vice-President and Soul of the Nation Dr Simon Muzenda, Cde Moudy Muzenda.
Cde Rutanhire succumbed to renal failure on August 19 at Karanda Mission Hospital in Mount Darwin; and Cde Muzenda died last week at Avenues Clinic in Harare after a long illness. “… this is a double tragedy yatinayo pano,” said the President. “As I told you, ndichitarisa vaviri ava ndanzwa ndichizunzwa mwoyo wangu and my tears welling up kuti, have we done wrong or else?
“Ndazofunga, aah, they played their part. Tanzwa hurukuro, nenhorowondo dzatapihwa nevakamirira mhuri; mhuri yekwa Mai Muzenda nemhuri yekwa George Rutanhire, Peter Clever.
“Patafamba, tichiri kuHarare kuti tivawoneke nekuoona zviso zvavo, ndichibva kune vamwe ndichizopedzisa kunevamwe, ndanzwa ndichizunzwa mumoyo. Mundangariro mangu ndati, ko Mwari chiiko chavari kutioona chatirikutadza? Kubva vatipa mutoro wakadai pazuva ranhasi? Chiiko? Tirikukanganisa here magariro edu?
“Ko idzi inyanzvi ka idzi dzatiri kuviga nhasi, tine nhorowondo yekurwira rusunguko, kusimudzira vanhu vedu munyika kuti vatore nyika yavo yamakatipa imi Baba, kuti izova yedu ichibva mumaoko eva torwa, vakanga vaibvuta.
“Pachido chenyu Baba hatifunge kuti takatadza; nyika yamakatipa Baba yakange yakutorwa nevavengi. “Sevava vatinavo, nhasi, vatiri kuzofushira, takasadharira, vazhinji vamwe takavasiya mumasango nekuzvipra kwavakange vaita. Vamwe tikavauya navo, vamwe hongu vakaita zvirwere, tikavaradzika pano magamba emberi. Nhasi uno zvimwechetezvo.
“George Rutanhire mwana; Mai Moudy Muzenda ndaamai. Mai nemwana pamwechete apa. Ko mainge makatadza here, kupatsanura mazuva acho pane kuti vose, tizenge pazuva ranhasi, tichivabatanidza?” President Mugabe said Cde Muzenda stood strong even as he and Dr Muzenda faced trying times during Zimbabwe’s struggle for Independence.
President Mugabe said: “… takazoenda mujeri tese tikagara mujeri tese, muHarare munomu. Pakafa vaTakawira taive muHarare zvikatisuwisa zvikuru asi vaMuzenda vagara vachida kunzwa kuti vana vakadii kunze? Vari kuenda kuzvikoro here? Vane hupenyu hwakanaka here?
“Yaive nyaya huru kwavari iyoyo yemhuri vachiti aihwa ndina mai vavo Moudy Muzenda vatiri kuviga nhasi ava.
“Tinova truster nekuchengeta vana vachibatsira kuti vana vawana zvikoro varege kukura vari marombe.
“… Zvese izvi ndiri kukudzai kwete kuti tishungurudze VaMuzenda. Aiwa, zvese izvi VaMuzenda zvavaikwanisa kuita nesu, zvese zvavaikwanisa kuita, vaizvikwanisa nekuti kumusha, kumba, Mai Moudy Muzenda vakanga vakachengeta zvikuru-kuru vachiona kuti vana vese vakadzidza, vana vese vari kushanda here zvakanaka, vagere zvakanaka here.”
The President said Cde Muzenda endured being a widow twice – firstly when her husband was jailed during the struggle, and again when the Vice-President died.
“Vakambokusiyai pa struggle futi mukachengeta vana ndokubva vazokusiyai chose parufu. Mai ndivo vakanga vava this time a widow, not the first time she was not a widow then because vakanga vangosiiwa nemurume aenda kuhondo.”
President Mugabe said even during her time of illness, the late Cde Muzenda remained committed to serving the ruling Zanu-PF.
“… even when she was sick, vaitatarika ne wheelchair vachiuya ku meeting ndichiti ko, munodarirei? “Zvikanzi, ‘ahh ndati handingarovhe’.
“Ndikati, apa, apa pane munhu anepfungwa dzakadzama. That’s the mother you had: A mother full of love for her children; a mother committed to working with others in the associations she found herself.
“… We want the party to prosper, learn from your father; learn from your mother. Tesewo ngatifundewo zvinhu zvatinosungirwa kuti tiite, zvinangwa zvatinofanira kuramba tichiterera netsika dzemusangano dzatisingade kuti dzife.”
On Cde Rutanhire, President Mugabe said it was painful to accept that Zimbabwe had lost a dedicated ideologist. “Jaya redu, you look at his face mu coffin and you ask yourself are you really gone George? Are you gone, why?
“We got to know him quite early, a very dedicated man. Not much talk, but abundant action, full of real good thought, very principled very respectful, humble very friendly in a manner that surprised me. You never heard him talk ill of anyone else.
“When he spoke muCentral Committee or Politburo it was just a few word on principles; so we did not hesitate to appoint him to the various posts in Government and in the party, which he held.”
President Mugabe said it was through the likes of Cde Rutanhire that young men and women from Mashonaland Central province joined the liberation struggle.
“We were worried and still are worried about lack of ideological knowledge kuvanhu vedu. We say therefore to George, son of the soil, you played your part; played your part with utmost humility but with very strong ideological direction.
“We hope some of the youths you had occasion to lead will follow you. Even if they will not be the total number of those you managed to teach and lead, but if only a portion of them can carry forward your work and behave in the same way as you have behaved, with the same character … because our ideology was to build a force, a struggle, which was people-oriented, which put the people first.
“That is why we say the Zanu we have is not a Zanu that should work for individuals, but a Zanu that puts people interests first … Tinoda party inoramba yakanangana nekusimudzira vanhu.”
Cde Rutanhire was born Peter Clever Musanhu on April 15, 1949 at St Albert’s Hospital. He started revolutionary politics at St Albert’s Mission in 1965; and he joined the liberation struggle in 1972, getting military training at Mgagao Training Camp in Tanzania.
In 1973 he was recalled from the war front after he was shot in the leg. At one point he represented Zanu in Sweden where he met Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, Cdes Mayor Urimbo and Sally Mugabe, and Zanu representative in Sweden Cde Claudius Chokwenda.
In 1975, General Josiah Tongogara recalled Cde Rutanhire to help re-organise the war after Cde Herbert Chitepo’s death.
In June of the same year to September, he participated in the drafting of the Mgagao Declaration – together with Cdes Rex Nhongo, Constantino Chiwenga, Perrance Shiri, Mernad Muzariri and Paradzai Zimondi – which ended Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole’s leadership of Zanu, replacing him with President Mugabe.
At Independence in 1980, he was elected MP for Mashonaland Central and in 1981 was appointed Youth, Sport and Recreation Deputy Minister.
In 1981 he was elected to Zanu’s Central Committee and in 1985 became Government Chief Whip. He participated in the talks that led to the signing of the Unity Accord between Zanu-PF and Zapu in 1987. In 2010 Cde Rutanhire was appointed to Zanu-PF’s Politburo, a position he held until his death.
Cde Rutanhire is survived by his three wives – Susan Rutanhire, Safire Kutyauripo and Sofia Ishemunyoro – and eight children.
Joining the thousands of people at yesterday’s burials were First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko and Amai Mphoko, service chiefs, Cabinet ministers, senior Government and Zanu-PF officials, and members of the diplomatic community, among other dignitaries.