The family of the late Public Service Minister, Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, yesterday described their kindred as befitting national hero status because of his immense contribution towards nation building.
The family also announced the renowned academic and politician, who was also a member of the MDC-T national executive, would be buried at Warren Hills Cemetery this morning.
His burial coincides with the Heroes’ Day commemorations.
The Gutu South MP died in South Africa on Friday morning. His body arrived in the country yesterday afternoon and was immediately taken to a private funeral parlour in Harare.
His brother, Siyaniso Mukonoweshuro said: “He deserved national hero status if you look at the work he did. Even if you look at the civil service, a lot of people who matter came through his hands.”
Siyaniso said his younger brother joined political activism at an early age and was arrested while doing Advanced Level at Thekwane High School in Bulilima. He was also arrested while at university and detained for 14 months for demonstrating against the colonial regime.
“He was Zanu PF like everyone else, but he got disillusioned by the system resulting in him looking for an alternative,” said Siyaniso.
“He was also a liberal, and was (at) one time arrested by our government during strikes at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). He sympathised with what the students were demanding and it was believed he was mobilising them to riot.”
Siyaniso said his younger brother was constantly frustrated by the system and at one time declined the post of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe despite having the qualifications and having successfully gone through the interviews.
At one time Mukonoweshuro was Dean of Social Studies at UZ.
He was a “very sharp, incisive and disciplined man who was also very humble”.
Public Service deputy minister Andrew Langa, said: “He was more like a brother and he shared information with me. We advised each other on things to do with the ministry. He was above party politics and knew how to delegate duties.”
The MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube said Mukonoweshuro’s death was a loss to the entire nation.
“It is unfortunate that he passed away when he was expected to act on the report of the ghost workers,” said party spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube.
“The nation will miss not only his intellectual prowess, but his contribution in the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe.”