Blessings Chidakwa-Herald Reporter
Zanu PF Mashonaland Central war veterans league has mourned the death of one of the most senior war veterans in the province, Cde Michael Chakabva, whose liberation struggle name was Cde Vhu D Masuko.
The provincial war veterans league secretary for information and publicity Cde Bruce Mugadzaweta said Cde Chakabva, who was a member of the Zanla High Command, and at one time commander of the Gaza province, died on July 6 after a long illness.
Cde Chakabva was born in 1943.
Said Cde Mugadzaweta: “He set for work at an early age and worked as a tea boy at Lewis Construction Company in Harare, formerly Salisbury. This was in 1959.
“The company constructed Cranborne, New Canaan and Duly’s Garage in Harare. In 1961, he went to Kariba and worked at the Kariba Dam till 1962. He then moved to Zambia and started working in Lusaka for Lewis Construction.”
In 1963, he moved to Kitwe under the same company where he was promoted to become a driver.
He was then recruited by Cde Mangena and Joseph Khumalo to go and train under ZAPU in Morogoro, Tanzania.
After training he went to rest at Shai Shai, in Limpopo, for three months.
Cde Mugadzaweta said when Cde Chakabva heard about ZANU, he escaped to join them under Ndabaningi Sithole.
“He was accompanied by 14 other comrades that included Rex Nhongo, James Bond and Badza at Mugagao camp. He met Cde Josiah Tongogara, Shebah Gava, Mayor Urimbo, Josiah Tungamirai, Kenny Ridzai and Cde Mnangagwa, now President and others,” he said.
From Mugagao, the team was sent to open Chifombo Base Camp with other comrades like Fazo Chimurenga, Makanjera, Digden, Ziso, Hicky, John Gurupira, Masamba, Tsanangura, Mukusonano, Gwindingwi, Mabhunu Muchapera and others.
They then started moving arms into Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1965.
Added Cde Mugadzaweta: “The struggle was moving in till 1968 when he tasted the first battle at Chifombo in conjunction with Frelimo forces against the Portuguese.
“In 1969, he crossed Zambezi to shift arms from Mozambique into Zimbabwe into the Mavhuradonha Mountains till 1971 to 1972.
Cde Mugadzaweta said in 1973, the war begun and Musengezi camp was formed and the war went on and he recruited and fought on the Nehanda sector.
“He also recruited Mai (Joice) Mujuru. He was then sent to open Tembwe base and then to Chimoio and proceeded to Gaza to take Makasha post since he had been injured,” he said.
He was further injured together with a group of 65 women and 400 men.
He then left for Maputo to be treated since the injuries were getting serious.
Cde Mugadzawetu said the late Cde Chakabva came back after cease fire but could not work due to injuries.
Burial arrangements will be announced in due course as the province has requested for national hero status. He is survived by his wife, Esther Chakabva, four children and eight grandchildren.