Family disgruntled, as State denies Mutambanengwe hero status

The family of the late former High Court judge, Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe, is not happy that the government and Zanu PF declined to declare him a national hero, despite his contribution to the country before and after independence in 1980.


The late former Supreme Court judge and Namibia's former Chief Justice Simpson Mtambanengwe
The late former Supreme Court judge and Namibia’s former Chief Justice Simpson Mtambanengwe

Mutambanengwe will be buried today at his rural home in Mutare after the government denied him hero’s status.

Mutambanengwe, who died last week in Namibia, where he was working as a judge of the Supreme Court and at times as acting Chief Justice, was one of the founding members of Zanu PF in 1964 and was a key pillar in the armed struggle, where he held various posts and carried out different assignments.

Speaking at a church service for the late top jurist yesterday, a family spokesperson and close friend of the late judge, Cornelius Sanyanga, said they were baffled why the late war veteran was denied hero’s status, but they had declared him as such, as his works were enough for the honour.

“It’s not about being declared what or what; he is a hero to us. His contribution to Zimbabwe speaks volumes of him. He is our hero,” Sanyanga said.

Speakers at the church service held in honour of the late judge, spoke glowingly about his contributions during and post the armed struggle. Former MDC-T top official, Sekai Holland said Mutambanengwe’s legacy would not be erased by failure to honour him today, as his deeds were indelible.

Top human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa also heaped praise on the late judge, saying despite his high position in the judiciary, he remained humble.

“He is one of judges we had confidence in. Whenever there were issues he knew would compromise his name, he would recuse himself. He never took a political stance,” she said.

The funeral service was attended by Judge President George Chiweshe and war veterans’ chairperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa together with his wife, Monica.

Mutambanengwe, a pioneering Zanu cadre following the split with Zapu in 1963, was the party’s first external affairs secretary.

He became a member of the Revolutionary Council, the predecessor to the Dare reChimurenga, a committee mandated with prosecuting the liberation struggle and chaired by the late Zanu founding national chairperson, Herbert Chitepo.

Mutambanengwe was appointed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, but left office under a cloud amid reports that hawks in the ruling party were “uncomfortable” with his “open-mindedness” ahead of the 2013 general elections won controversially by Mugabe.

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  1. Therefor Mutambanengwe shld b buried at the national heroes acre,he has bn sincerely a founding member of the liberation struggle.Just like Sthole the founding president of zanu he has bn denied heroeship status over Mugabe’s whims which might b revoked after Mugabe has left power,when correct& fair principles& laws will b instituted then

  2. What family is disgruntled? Just last week the son was saying they had not even thought about their father being made a national hero and that they had made plans for him to be buried at his rural home where he had said he wanted to be buried. So what are they disgruntled about now?

  3. Who really cares about being buried at Heroes Acre, the dead or those left behind?

    1. @CeeJay, there are benefits to the family if you are declared national hero. For example, there is no estate duty on your estate and the family gets a pension for life etc. The whole thing is a scandal if you ask me.

  4. There’s a wise saying that you can easily tell the backwardness of a country or society by the way the people deify or revere top government officials for no apparent reason.

    Frankly, I do not see anything spectacular about a black person being in government. It is untrue to say people like Simpson “liberated the country”. There was never a nation-state before whites came in 1890. The country or nation-state was created by whites.
    Most black people living in this land are migrants from Zululand and cannot claim the land is theirs. Why do the politicians and their adherents lie to the young generation? The original inhabitants of this land are the San (bushmen) and the Arabs who built the Zimbabwe Ruins.

    1. You are confused.. Mutambanengwe contributed to the liberation of the country post the 18 hundreds . We are are talking about the here and now and not pre colonial times.
      Also not all Africans in Zimbabwe trace their roots to Zululand.

  5. I have no grudge against Simpson Mtambanengwe – he was a thoroughly decent individual but what the press is writing is nauseating. I am against this hero tosh. He never said he wanted to be declared a North Korea -style or Mugabe-style hero.

  6. Where has this ageing nincompoop who calls himself Musona been hiding? I remember him from the days of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, circa 1979. He was an ardent supporter the Internal Settlement and a key member of the Dzakutsaku party of Tendekayi Muzorewa. Silly old man, aren’t you?

    1. @Makhosi – prize idiot. You have been brainwashed you idiot. The Tendekayi Muzorewa you are talking about was actually invited by Zapu and Zanu members to lead a political party of sorts when Zanu and Zapu had been proscribed by the Rhodesian government and the leaders like Nkomo and Ndabaningi Sithole were in detention. Nationalists like Edisn Sithole who were not in detention were members of Muzorewa’s party for your information you fool.

  7. Muzorewa was a creation of both Zanu and Zapu. He got too popular and more powerful than the leaders of Zanu and Zapu and they decided to sideline him. Almost all the people you now call war veterans were sent to Mozambique under Muzorewa’s party. They did not know who Ndabaningi Sithole was or who Joshua Nkomo were. But when they got to Mozambique they were told the only parties which mattered were Zanu and Zapu.
    This whole thing had nothing to do with “liberating” but all to do with power struggle among the nationalists themselves.
    I detest nationalist parties and never been a member. I know it is all about power and nothing at all to do with making lives better for the citizens.

  8. Chief Zimunya

    A point of corrrection to the writer Xosilani Ncube, the late Mutambanengwe’s homestead is located in my area as Chief Zimunya.
    There is a proof of written documents by the late himself, declaring that he needs to be buried just next to his parents.
    If he was to be declared the national hero status the family was to contest in defending the Cde Simpson’s will.
    Gather all information before you print Mr Writer.

  9. I was there at the funeral and the and the church service,what thrigard all this was the speech that was done buy MANDI CHIMENE to me it was very unnecsary for her to even talk about the Hearos statues of the late justice.A hero will always be a HERO weather decleard or not.he still is writeen in the history of Zimbabwe and without his name that history is not complite

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