ZANU PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday revealed that Kumbirai Kangai died a day after some politburo members had informally proposed that he be considered for the post of deputy president of the Senate in recognition of the pivotal role he played during the armed struggle.
REPORT BY STAFF REPORTER
Kangai collapsed and died at his Borrowdale home in Harare on Saturday, 24 hours after the politburo met and nominated Beitbridge Senator Tambudzani Mohadi for the post despite recommendations for his nomination.
“It wasn’t a formal proposal as such. People (politburo members) made the suggestion though the suggestion was not discussed formally,” Gumbo told NewsDay yesterday. He said he first met Kangai in Zimuto communal areas, Masvingo, in 1960 where the late nationalist was a temporary teacher.
“I was doing Form Three and he was a temporary teacher when we met. Our friendship strengthened when we reunited in the United States a few years later as he studied to be a medical technician. We demonstrated against UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) at the United Nations headquarters in New York in 1965 and this marked the beginning of our long political journey,” said Gumbo.
He said they both returned to Zimbabwe in 1973 and crossed into Zambia where they underwent military training before being elected into the Dare ReChimurenga (War Council) chaired by the late Herbert Chitepo. After independence, Gumbo cited Kangai’s fierce opposition to Britain’s refusal to compensate white commercial farmers when he was Agriculture minister at the turn of the millenium and his push for the land reform programme as his major milestones.
Kangai is to be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre on Saturday.