Chidawu estate row: Sister fights bid to exhume brother’s body

Chidawu collapsed at his home in July last year, leaving a sprawling business empire with a footprint in agriculture, construction and insurance.

THE daughter of Zimbabwe’s construction tycoon, the late Oliver Chidawu, has objected to her mother’s bid to exhume her brother’s body from a family farm in Chinhoyi.

Ropafadzo Sibusiso Chidawu last week  approached the Curator of Cemeteries in Chinhoyi to block her mother, saying she had not consulted the family.

This was after Chidawu’s widow, Spiwe published a notice in the Government Gazette early this month, spelling out her plan to rebury the body at Glen Forest Memorial Park.

But it emerged this week the family, which is also entangled in a wrangle over the sale of the farm, was divided over the exhumation of Isheunesu, who died in 2017 aged 35.

“A person, who has died must be treated with respect, and the privacy of their family must be protected,” Ropafadzo said in her letter dated September 21.

“The curator must, therefore, arrive at his decision with circumspection. While, the deceased’s death certificate states Stafford Estate as the place of burial, this is not the accurate location for his grave.

“His place of burial is in fact located at the at Oliver Chidawu (Private) Limited/Ferungwe Farm. As a result of the error in identifying the location of the grave, the notice…is in any event, null, void and of no legal cause and effect.

“This application for exhumation has, therefore, come as a shock to us as a family, more particularly because the applicant has failed and/or neglected to notify us or seek our consent,” she added.

The Zimbabwe Independent reported last week that a dispute had also erupted between the former minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs and Devolution’s widow and Heritage Insurance over the same farm.

Heritage, a firm in which the late mogul once held interests, said in court papers and documents filed with the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) on July 28, 2023 that the farm was one of its assets.

Spiwe has denied wrong doing.

Chidawu collapsed at his home in July last year, leaving a sprawling business empire with a footprint in agriculture, construction and insurance.

He was at one time the mayor of Harare. One of his most recognised businesses was Kuchi Construction, which employed hundreds of workers in the 1990s.

The case spilled to the LSZ after Heritage accused Harare law firm, Hogwe Nyengedza Attorneys of helping Chidawu’s widow in the transaction without consulting Heritage.

Heritage wants the LSZ to act on the law firm.

In the July 28-dated letter to LSZ, Heritage Life claimed the former minister no longer had interest in the business and his widow had no right to sell the asset.

“We write to you from Heritage Life Limited following up on our previous complaint against Hogwe Nyengedza Attorneys dated March 14 2023, following which we received a letter from Hogwe Nyengedza Attorneys stating that they acted on behalf of Dadirai M Chidawu (Private) Limited in the disposal of the farm, a farm which is owned by Heritage Life and is not part of the late OM Chidawu’s estate,” Heritage said

“We have consulted with the board of directors, and they are unaware of the disposal and confirmed that at no point did they engage Hogwe to act on their behalf.”

It said Chidawu was neither a director nor a shareholder in Heritage Life.

“The late OM Chidawu had resigned from his involvement in the affairs of our company, which he was only involved in through him being a director of Broadway Investments,” Heritage said.

“As per his resignation letter, Broadway Investments is one of our shareholders. We are quite startled that he would have been involved with the disposal of one of our assets, Dadirai Chidawu (Private) Limited. Mischeck Hogwe was fully aware of this resignation.”


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