Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has sent a message of condolence to the family of the late Chief Khayisa Ndiweni who died on Wednesday.
In his condolence message, PM Tsvangirai said he had learnt the death of the paramount chief with great sadness.
“It was with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Chief Ndiweni yesterday. “Chief Ndiweni was an embodiment of natural leadership and an unwavering custodian of the values and virtues of our tradition,” he said. “He was eloquent, open-minded and true to his word and deeds and knew no political figures but Zimbabweans,” PM Tsvangirai said.
He said the loss was not only for the family but for the nation at large. PM Tsvangirai said the traditional leaders of whom Chief Ndiweni has been a prominent personality over several years, play an important role in nation building, promotion of cultural cohesion and stability.
“On behalf of the government of Zimbabwe and my own behalf, I join the Ndiweni family not in mourning but in celebrating a life of exemplary leadership well lived.”
Chief Ndiweni died in his sleep in the early hours of Wednesday morning at his homestead in Ntabazinduna, about 30km from Bulawayo.
His death came three days after celebrating his 97th birthday at his homestead. He became chief in 1939 at the age of 26 and served as a traditional leader for 71 years old.
A fierce critic of President Robert Mugabe’s rule and the unitary system of governance, Chief Ndiweni was a strong proponent of federalism.
He is the former leader of the United Federal Party and took part in the Lancaster House Conference in 1979 which led to the independence of this country.
He is survived by his wife, 11 children, 30 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and one great- great-grandchild. Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.