Good men depart quietly – James Chitauro tribute

via Good men depart quietly – James Chitauro tribute April 10, 2014 by Moses Chamboko

News of former academic and top civil servant James Chitauro’s departure was not accompanied with the usual hullabaloo that we have become accustomed to whenever some political thug passes on. Chenjerai Hunzvi, Border Gezi, Elliot Manyika and a raft of other hoodlums and murderers undeservedly lying at our national shrine as well as provincial heroes’ acres across the country caused a lot of “noise” when they departed mother earth to meet their creator and answer for their unforgivable sins.

On Monday 7th April 2014, a decent man, a true gentleman, a fatherly figure, intelligent, articulate and well-meaning, James Chitauro, passed on at St Anne’s Hospital in Harare. Curiously, it took The Herald almost four days to make a very short and blurred report on his death.

Some of us who knew James Chitauro personally, while concerned, were not at all surprised by this well-calculated silence on his death. Dr Chitauro departed the way he lived his life; decently and quietly. I met him on at least two occasions in New Zealand and had the privilege of having long conversations with him then. He was a father, an educator and in every sense, a very wise and genuine man. He had a human heart.

In October 2005, the Zimbabwean community in New Zealand organised a farewell function for the Chitauros as they came to the end of their tour of duty in Australasia. Together with his wife, Florence Chitauro, outgoing Ambassador, he came to a community farewell soccer match in Wellington after which we flocked into a hall to listen to him and his wife delivering their farewell speeches. I was privileged to introduce our special guests. One thing he said that has stuck in my mind, almost ten years later was “My children try and live your full lives while you’re in the Diaspora. You never know when you will return to Zimbabwe. Mai Chitauro and I spent twenty years in the UK during the liberation war. Each year, we thought we would be returning home soon. We were like people at a train or bus station, waiting to depart. Twenty years later, we found ourselves in that same situation”.

Then, these words did not make much sense as most of us had just migrated to this distant country. Nearly ten years later, as he passes on, his words ring even louder in my mind. It was that speech in Wellington that partly changed my perception of life in the Diaspora. Most of us were of the view that we would make a few dollars, return home, buy properties and live comfortably thereafter. But Chitauro had seen well beyond this and was generous enough to share the story of his life with the community.

At some point when James Chiatauro was still permanent secretary, President Mugabe gave a pubic appraisal of his secretaries. I vividly recall him singling out James Chitauro, Charles Utete and Willard Chiwewe as the most outstanding. According to him, Chiwewe was top of the pack. As the nation quietly farewells James Chitauro, we also remember how Chiwewe fell from grace. When he was relieved of his permanent secretary status, he was deployed to his home province of Masvingo where he went down in history as the province’s shortest servicing governor. As we speak, he lives the life of a semi-pauper in Masvingo despite the fact that he was the most academically qualified governor Masvingo has ever had.

In controversial circumstances, he was replaced with a T1 primary school teacher, Titus Maluleke. Before that, there was another ordinary primary school teacher, Josiah Hungwe, who also succeeded yet another primary school teacher, Dzikamai Mavhaire. Today, another primary school teacher and a village boy from Mwenezi, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, is the de facto governor with a new title of Minister for Provincial Affairs. Though very small in stature, he is a master of violence. What wrong have people of Masvingo done to deserve this? But I digress.

As we unceremoniously farewell Dr James Chitauro whose remains join ordinary citizens at Warren Hills, one thing ZANU PF has confirmed to us is that good men and women not tainted with corruption, whose hands don’t drip with innocent blood, men and women who have served their country effectively, diligently and honourably, are not newsworthy. Rest in eternal peace Dr Chitauro. We shall remember what you taught us.

Moses Chamboko is the Interim Secretary General for Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE). He writes in his personal capacity. You may visit ZUNDE at or email



  • comment-avatar
    Intergrity 8 years ago

    This is a moving tribute & very honest assessment of the man. Thanks to the author, my perception for ZUNDE has changed significantly!!!

  • comment-avatar

    I didn’t know who James Chituro is or was before I read this article
    and I still don’t know who he is after reading the article. A very shallow eulogy meant to be an authoritative account of a man, perhaps a good man, but from the contents of this piece largely remains unknown to me.

  • comment-avatar
    Dendera 8 years ago

    Pati, you don’t have to display your ignorance publicly!!

    • comment-avatar
      Hatidzokeko 8 years ago

      Pati is actually correct. The writer goes on to waste two long paragraphs denigrate the Chiwewes, Hungwes, Malulekes and primary school teachers in an article meant to be a eulogy of James Chitauro. What a poorly written eulogy.

      • comment-avatar
        Parangeta 8 years ago

        He doesn’t denigrate these people,
        he merely compares their meager
        qualifications against Chitauro’s vast
        experience and training in the field.

        Get your facts right before you make a
        fool of yourself!

        The ‘Eulogy’ was very well written, M’Garbage
        will never get one like that, the thief!

        • comment-avatar
          wensil 8 years ago

          But seriously Parangata what’s the basis of that comparison? Wasn’t Robert Mugabe merely a school teacher too? He never held another job beyond that until he became Prime Minister.

  • comment-avatar
    Stanley Modesto 8 years ago

    Almost every diasporan you meet tells you that he/she is preparing to go back home to Zimbabwe, or saying as soon as my contract comes to an end, I am going. Years have passed, contracts have been renewed and renewed, but the same people have remained where they are, or relocated to another destination. Chitauro’s advice to Diasporans is up to the point. Go well intellectual Father and Counsellor. We diasporans continue to be in anguish-“To be or not to be in Zimbabwe?”- That’s the painful question. As is well known, it is not out of choice that children of the motherland, scattered all over, including in war-torn Afghanistan, do not remain there out of choice. What next?

  • comment-avatar
    Mike Nyathi 8 years ago

    If they were such good people why did they break bread with the devil and stay with the evil party until the end?

  • comment-avatar
    Nyarai 8 years ago

    Mike Nyathi, you don’t need to be ZANU PF to be a permanent secretary. Not all nurses, teachers, soldiers and police officers are ZANU PF. They are called civil servants. James Chitauro NEVER held a ZANU PF office. Don’t confuse Florence with James. Does that help? Also, not everyone in ZANU PF is a devil just as not everyone in the opposition is an angel, this is simple really.

    • comment-avatar
      Parangeta 8 years ago

      To be a member of ZANU-PF means you
      support M’Garbage, dis-Grace, Chinamasa,
      and the evil machine that the party has become.

      A ZANU-PF member agrees with their policies,
      land grabbing, bloated salaries, hidden diamond
      deals, destroying peoples homes and livelihoods.
      Torture, intimidation and Election fraud!

      Yes, ZANU-PF is the Party of the Devil, for sure!

    • comment-avatar
      wensil 8 years ago

      Nyarai, show me a permanent secretary who is not a Zanu PF supporter. I can tell you now that there is none. Its different with nurses, teachers etc and please don’t make that unnecessary comparison. Mugabe has no control over who becomes an ordinary soldier, teacher, nurse etc.

      Yes, James may never have ‘held’ a Zanu PF office but he was a supporter. That’s a fact. That however, doesn’t necessarily mean that he was a bad person and I agree with you there.

  • comment-avatar
    easily fooled 8 years ago

    The article should have done justice to readers by telling us about the man, where was he born, educated, political association and contributions to Zimbabwe. Otherwise the herald article appears even better. That is Zunde for you; writing in his own capacity

  • comment-avatar
    Isu-zvedu 8 years ago

    The writer is not writing for competition, sir “easily fooled”. You seem to get fooled easily too. He wrote his feelings about the man he knew and whom he valued. Whatever he missed or included is not for you to start making comparisons with herald reports.

    R.I.P. James Chitauro.

  • comment-avatar
    mbizvo 8 years ago

    My children try and live your full lives while you’re in the Diaspora. You never know when you will return to Zimbabwe. Mai Chitauro and I spent twenty years in the UK during the liberation war. Each year, we thought we would be returning home soon. We were like people at a train or bus station, waiting to depart. Twenty years later, we found ourselves in that same situation”.

  • comment-avatar

    Pati’s comments above are correct, very correct. I know not the dead man personally (RIP), but i know thst years ago he was ‘retrenched’ by the city of Harare so that he could go with his wife to Australia. He got a very generous package, but was it a real retrenchment? Corruption had many sheds….

  • comment-avatar
    Dadirai 8 years ago

    Easily fooled, in your foolish mind any eulogy is about where a person was born, what qualifications he had etc, am sure you’re confusing this with a resume, the two are DIFFERENT.