Conrad Mupesa Mashonaland West Bureau
The late former police Senior Assistant Commissioner Bothwell Gift Mugariri, who was declared a provincial liberation war hero on Saturday, was buried at his Haighton Farm in Banket yesterday.
Cde Mugariri, whose Chimurenga name was Muchina Hondo, died at the farm last week aged 62.
He retired from the police force in 2008 on medical grounds after he was involved in a serious car accident in 2007, which left him wheelchair bound.
Speaking at the burial ceremony, the Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Mary Mliswa-Chikoka described the late Cde Mugariri as a humble and resilient cadre who remained patriotic after fighting in the liberation struggle.
“Cde Mugariri joined the liberation struggle at the height of the struggle in December 1977. He crossed to Mozambique where he was trained at Chimoio.
“He then went to Syria for further training and trained as a commando before he was seconded to (the then) Yugoslavia where he was trained in the use of chemical and biological weapons. He was also taught general police duties,” she said.
After the war, Cde Mugariri was demobilised at Ratiga Army Camp in Mutoko in 1980 and joined the police force the same year after undergoing an initial recruit training at Tomlinson Police Training Depot.
Minister Mliswa-Chikoka said after his retirement, the late Cde Mugariri remained a loyal cadre of the ruling party and excelled in commercial farming, contributing to the food self-sufficiency and security of the country in line with Vision 2030.
In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Commissioner General (Human Resources) Lorraine Chipato, police Commissioner General, Godwin Matanga said the late Mugariri possessed fine qualities of a visionary leader.
“He displayed great expertise with a fair mixture of dedication, loyalty and work experience that persuaded the police command to accord him responsibilities to occupy strategic key posts that include Officer Commanding Harare Province and Matebeleland North Province among others.
“During his service in the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Cde Mugariri scooped several accolades namely; Bronze Liberation Medal; Service Medal; Police Long and Exemplary Service Medal; First Bar to Police Long, Exemplary Service Medal; Second Bar to Police Long and Exemplary Service Medal and a plethora of good commendations,” he said.
Provincial war veterans chairperson, Cde Cornelius Muwoni said the late Cde Mugariri was one of the leading figures behind the land reform process in Mashonaland West in 2004.
Family spokesperson and son to the late provincial hero, Simbarashe, thanked the ruling party and Government for conferring the late Cde Mugariri with provincial hero status.
Cde Mugariri is survived by his wife Hillary, three children and several grandchildren.