HomeLocal NewsPublic Service Minister Mukonoweshuro dies

Public Service Minister Mukonoweshuro dies

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The Minister of Public Service Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, a close confidante of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has died.

He was 58.

Mukonoweshuro, a former University of Zimbabwe lecturer, died yesterday morning in South Africa where he had gone for an operation.

In a condolence message, Tsvangirai described the late academic as “a gallant son of the soil and a national hero”.

“He proved to be a dedicated member of government, particularly on the issue of the salaries and welfare of civil servants, an issue that was very close to his heart,” said Tsvangirai.

When NewsDay visited the late professor’s home yesterday, relatives were still trickling in, shocked by the death of a man described by many as the architect behind Tsvangirai’s strategies in his bid to outwit veteran Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe.

“My father was a man of peace, justice and honour. He was a dedicated man of this country who deservedly earned his position as a Cabinet minister.

“Unfortunately he passed on before seeing most of his wishes turn to reality,” said his only son, Bradley.
Mukonoweshuro was believed to be part of Tsvangirai’s “kitchen cabinet”, a clique of the Prime Minister’s top advisers.

Born on June 22 1953 in Gutu, Mukonoweshuro rose to prominence as an articulate lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, where he later became Dean of Social Studies.

He joined the MDC on its formation in 1999 and became an adviser to party leader Tsvangirai.

In 2008, Mukonoweshuro contested and won the parliamentary seat for his home area, Gutu South. He was appointed Public Service Minister by Prime Minister Tsvangirai in the unity government which includes President Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the smaller MDC party, then led by Arthur Mutambara.

Mukonoweshuro was credited with commissioning an audit of the bloated civil service, which showed some 70 000 “ghost workers” on the government payroll. However, his reign was no stroll in the park as he constantly clashed with public sector unions over low civil servants’ salaries.

In his MDC-T party, Mukonoweshuro vied for the secretary-general’s position in April this year, but lost to incumbent Tendai Biti, the Finance minister, who outpolled him after amassing 2 850 votes to the late’s 764.

Last month in Masvingo, Mukonoweshuro was allegedly fingered as leading a faction loyal to ousted party organising secretary Elias Mudzuri. The friction in the province, an MDC-T stronghold, prompted Mudzuri’s successor Nelson Chamisa to read them the riot act, in a bid to bring sanity.

Mukonoweshuro is survived by his wife Tsepile and son Bradley. Mourners are gathered at Number 11 Woodgate Road in Northwood, Mount Pleasant.
Arrangements for the repatriation of his body and funeral are yet to be announced.

However, with Tsvangirai already describing him as “a national hero”, it’s that time again when the nation waits to see if Zanu PF will yield.

Who was Mukonoweshuro?

Born on June 22 1953 in Gutu, Mukonoweshuro rose to prominence as an articulate lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, where he later became Dean of Social Studies.

He joined the MDC on its formation in 1999 and became an adviser to party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

In 2008, Mukonoweshuro contested and won the parliamentary seat for his home area, Gutu South.

He was appointed Public Service Minister by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the unity government

Mukonoweshuro was credited with commissioning an audit of the bloated civil service, which showed some 70 000 “ghost workers” on the government payroll.

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