Cletus Mushanawani, News Editor
THE late liberation war stalwart, Cde John Munodawafa Gwitira (73) who died on Tuesday has been described as an unwavering cadre who executed his duties with distinction.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association national political commissar and Buhera South legislator, Cde Joseph Chinotimba said Cde Gwitira whose Chimurenga name was Cde Kenneth Gwindingwi was one of the pioneers of the Second Chimurenga.
“We have lost one of the unsung heroes of the Second Chimurenga war who executed his duties with distinction.
“His exploits, both during and after the liberation struggle, dwarf most of us. So many cadres passed through his hands and his death is a great loss to the nation. In short, he was one of the pillars of the liberation struggle and never wavered.
“As war veterans, we are calling for the rewarding of his efforts through the conferment of a national hero’s status for our late commander.
“The ruling party, ZANU PF and war veterans in Manicaland should work together in according the late Cde Kenneth Gwindingwi a send-off befitting someone of his stature,” said Cde Chinotimba.
He went on to call for the celebration of heroes’ legacies while they are still alive.
“As an association, we have been found wanting when it comes to recognising the legacy of our living heroes and heroines. We should have their exploits documented for the benefit of future generations. Very few people in the country know that Cde Gwitira was a very senior guy during the liberation struggle. History should not be allowed to die with the person.
“As the founding chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, Cde Gwitira championed for the improvement of the welfare of the veterans of the struggle, resulting in most of us receiving our gratuities in 1997,” said Cde Chinotimba.
Cde Gwitira’s wife, Mrs Monica Gwitira, said her husband had been unwell for some time.
“Cde Gwitira died at Murambi Garden Clinic in Mutare around midnight on Tuesday night. “He has been unwell for some time after being operated on in 2015. Mourners are gathered at Lovestock Farm near Old Mutare Mission in Mutasa District. Funeral arrangements will be advised in due course,” said Mrs Gwitira.
Cde Gwitira, who served as the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association from 1989 to 1997, is survived by his wife, six daughters and three grandchildren.
Cde Gwitira was born on October 17, 1949 in Nyanyadzi, Chimanimani District.
He went to Nyanyadzi Primary School up to Standard Four before proceeding to Mutambara Mission, also in Chimanimani District, for his Standard Five and Six.
Cde Gwitira then went to Mt Selinda Mission in Chipinge to do Form One and Two.
In 1964, his father was arrested and put under restriction at Whawha Prison where the young John got his first political orientation during visits to see his father.
After causing political havoc during his secondary school days in Chipinge and later at Chibero Agricultural College where he had enrolled for his tertiary education, Cde Gwitira was expelled.
He decided to join the liberation struggle in 1970.During training at Mgagao in Tanzania, Cde Gwitira became a detachment commander.
He also became a member of the General Staff.
On deployment, Cde Gwitira became the first provincial commander for the Chaminuka Sector, while the late national hero and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Solomon Mujuru was the commander for the Nehanda Sector.
Cde Gwitira was one of the first blacks to train as a pilot in Pakistan in the late 1970s.
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Article Source: The Chronicle