THE body of the late national hero Brigadier-General Ruphus Chigudu arrived in Harare from his Gweru home yesterday morning and was taken to Charles Gumbo Barracks (formerly One Commando Barracks), where it was handed over to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage by his family and the Zimbabwe National Army.
Chief of Staff Administration Major General Paul Chima handed the body over to the Director Finance in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Mr Xavier Chisoko, who was representing the Permanent Secretary, Mr Aaron Nhepera
The body, which was accompanied by his widow, Vimbai, his mother Neriah Karingi and his uncle former Manicaland Governor Cde Tinaye Chigudu, will lie in state at the Zimbabwe Defence Forces funeral parlour awaiting the announcement of burial arrangements.
Brigadier-General Chigudu, who died on September 24 at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals aged 64, was declared a national hero on Thursday.
Speaking during the handover, Major-General Chima said the Government was taking over the burial arrangements in accordance with rules on funerals involving national heroes.
“To the family of the late national hero, we are now handing over the body to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. The Government is now in charge of burial arrangements,” said Major-General Chima.
Family representative, Cde Tinaye Chigudu commended the Government and Zanu PF for according his nephew national hero status. “As a family, we are grateful for the national hero status conferred on my nephew. We really appreciate it,” said Cde Chigudu.
He described the late national hero as a unifier in the family. The late Brigadier-General Chigudu, whose Chimurenga name was Promise Chombo, grew up at Chigudu village in Chiendambuya communal area under Chief Makoni.
He went to Chigudu Primary School from 1962 to 1969 from Sub A to Standard 6.
He then did his secondary education at Bernard Mizeki College in Marondera from 1970 up to 1973.
It was during this time in 1972 where his political seeds were sown after he was arrested in Marondera for demonstrating against the brutal Rhodesian Government after the death of a senior nationalist party official while in detention. On his release he continued with his education.
After O’Level, he went to Bulawayo and secured a job as a plant operator in the carbonation plant at Rhodox Private Limited in 1974.
He decided to leave his job to join the war after he was further exposed to the blatant racist policies by the management at the company.
In 1976, he teamed up with his fellow friends and left Bulawayo for Harare en-route to joining the liberation struggle in Mozambique by crossing the border in August of the same year through Nyakomba in Nyanga.
He briefly stayed at Guru where they were administered by Frelimo before being referred to Chimoio and subsequently to Doroi.
At Doroi, he was exposed to various diseases like “matekenya”, but survived the biological warfare by the Rhodesians, which was claiming almost 20 comrades every day.
The national hero soldiered until he was transferred to Chindunduma School where he was responsible for teaching young cadres.
In February 1977, he was transferred to Tete where he underwent rigorous basic military training at Tembwe Base.
In July of the same year he was deployed to Tete Province, Chaminuka sector, where he operated under the command of Cde Muchinerepi Mabhunu who was the detachment commander.
Because of his acts of gallantry, he rose to the rank of platoon commander.
In December 1977, he was withdrawn from the front and tasked to lead a contingent of 150 men to Maputo en-route to Romania to train in field artillery.
In February in 1978, he received his field artillery training at Cincu Training Camp and stayed on until 1979 as an instructor.
When Zimbabwe obtained independence in 1980, he was moved to Sibiu Artillery School where he underwent a field artillery young officers’ course up to February 1981. He then returned and was at Zengeza 4 assembly point where he stayed up to the end of March 1981.
He was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army on April 1, 1981 and was given several responsibilities in the military including army inspections, research and development.
He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General on June 11 this year.
He is survived by his wife Vimbai and three children.