Angeline Tongogara, the wife of national hero General Josiah Magama Tongogara, on Tuesday met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai complaining about the government’s failure to look after her upkeep.
The widow of the former Zanla commander, who mysteriously died shortly before independence in 1980, met Tsvangirai on Tuesday morning at Munhumutapa Building amid reports she was seeking his intervention on the matter.
She refused to talk to journalists.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka would not say much, describing the meeting as private.
“The Prime Minister has met her and it was a private meeting,” Tamborinyoka said.
“It’s not the first time that she has requested to meet the PM.”
This comes at a time many widows of the former liberation fighters whose remains are interred at the Heroes’ Acre have indicated that government was not adequately looking after their welfare resulting in their children being thrown out of school for failing to pay fees.
As Mai Tongogara emerged from Tsvangirai’s office, the PM pleaded with the media not to accost her.
“Do not trouble the old lady,” he told photojournalists.
The 65-year-old widow became enraged telling the photojournalists: “Leave me alone. I have suffered a lot.
“My husband died 30 years ago.
Why did you not bother to find out how I am surviving?
“Do I not have a right to visit these offices?”
Insiders close to the widow last night said she wanted to highlight her plight to the Premier.
“The meeting was to do with her welfare,” said a source close to her.
“These widows have been neglected for a long time.”
Mai Tongogara has in the past lamented the government’s failure to adequately look after her welfare and that of her family despite her husband having played a critical role in the liberation of Zimbabwe.
“I now fend for my family working in the informal sector. Although the late General Tongogara’s contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe was extraordinarily phenomenal. I have lived a normal widow’s life,” she was quoted as saying a few years ago.
In 2006, the Tongogara family organised a memorial service for the national hero but did not invite top Zanu PF and government officials.
Mai Tongogara was then quoted as saying: “General Tongogara’s liberation war colleagues in Zanu PF and government were not invited to this occasion because we all felt that it should be a family affair this time around.”
Tongogara led the Zanla forces that successfully waged the war of liberation against the Rhodesian army. He played an active role during the Lancaster House negotiations which led to independence.
The struggle culminated in ceasefire negotiations which subsequently ended white minority rule.
Tongogara died in a mysterious car accident as he travelled from Mozambique to Zimbabwe in December 1979.
He was 41 when he died.