The Zanu PF leadership in Matabeleland South province has applied to the national leadership to confer national hero status to their provincial chairman Cde Rabelani Choeni.
Cde Choeni (71) succumbed to Covid-19 related complications on Friday at his rural home in the Malusingani area under Beitbridge West Constituency.
Zanu PF’s provincial political commissar Cde Japhet Dube last night said they had sent all the necessary documentation to their national party office.
“His passing on is a huge blow to the party and the people of Matabeleland South,” he said.
“We have since sent our request to the national party leadership for him to be conferred with the national hero status. Our hope is that we will get feedback tomorrow (today)”.
Family spokesperson Mrs Mbongeleni Muleya said although they were waiting for the Zanu PF leadership to confirm the heroes’ status on their brother, they had set his burial for Tuesday.
“We are waiting to hear from the Zanu PF leadership on issues concerning his hero status. However, we have set Tuesday as the tentative day for his burial in the Malusungani area,” she said.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association Matabeleland South chairman Cde Section Ncube said on Saturday that the province will be poorer without Cde Choeni, who was also the ZNLWVA provincial secretary for health.
“Matabeleland South has been robbed, it’s a painful experience that Covid-19 is wreaking havoc. I was with him in 1975 at Morogoro in Tanzania and we trained together.
“We are hoping that our senior leadership will look into his case and the work he did for the nation and accord him befitting hero status. We will also make recommendations in that regard,” said Cde Ncube.
Cde Choeni joined the liberation struggle under Zipra in 1974 when he crossed to Zambia through Botswana.
He then travelled to Morogoro, Tanzania, where he received military training and was appointed a medical man.
In 1976, he operated at GCB Gokwe region which was later known as the Northern front.
During the same year, he was promoted to Zone Medical man and later the Zone Commander.
In 1978, he was elevated to the position of Deputy Regional Medical Man, a rank he held until the cease-fire period.
He is survived by wife Lydia, one child, and five grandchildren.
Meanwhile, two more senior citizens Mr Ndidzulafhi John Netsianda (79) and Daniel Mabonga (58), also succumbed to Covid-19 related compilations in Beitbridge district yesterday.
Mr Netsianda was a businessman who was involved in the business of trading in vehicles accessories and spares, while Mr Mabonga is former head of the ZRP Border Control Unit.
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