BY NHAU MANGIRAZI
Retired Colonel Patrick Tawona Maponga was found dead at his home in Magunje on Tuesday morning.
He was 60. The late Maponga lost his wife early this year.
A former freedom fighter, joined the liberation struggle at a tender age and was trained in Tanzania. He rose through the ranks to become an instructor in Mozambique before independence.
Maponga was integrated into the Zimbabwe National Army soon after independence. He was among the soldiers deployed in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo as an instructor. At one time, he was deployed at Magunje 2.3 Infantry Battalion before he voluntarily retired in 1997.
He was a farmer who was first allocated a plot at the Nassau Farm near Karoi in 2001, but later moved to Mshowe Pools in Hurungwe East constituency in 2003. A Hurungwe war veteran member, Don Nxele said the late Maponga was among freedom fighters who took the land reform seriously.
‘‘I remember that he was among few freedom fighters who took farming as business. In 2004, he hosted African senior army officers who wanted to understand how the land reform was benefitting indigenous people at Mshowe Pools Farm. Some came from Egypt, South Africa, Namibia and other Southern Africa countries. By then, he was into wheat and maize production,’’ Nxele said.
‘‘Of late, Maponga had ventured into cattle rearing, horticulture, poultry and crocodile farming,” he said.
In a statement, the liberation war veterans said: “Cde Maponga, whose pseudonym was Cde Mazuva, lost his wife a few months ago and was still grieving, but death took him as well.”
Burial arrangements are still yet to be announced.
He is survived by eight children.