Zimbabwe’s former finance minister Chris Kuruneri dies aged 73

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s former finance minister Christopher Tichaona Kuruneri has died.

He was 73.

Kuruneri, who had a very public battle with diabetes, died on Saturday, May 28, his family announced.

In a statement, the family said it was “gratefully overwhelmed by the flood of heart-warning messages of condolence, support and love.”

Kuruneri, who studied economic in the United States and Canada, was made deputy minister of finance by the late former President Robert Mugabe in 1999.

His elevation to finance minister in 2014 would be short-lived after he was arrested months later and accused of “externalising” US$1.1 million of his own money, this after South African media reported that he was building a R30 million mansion in the exclusive suburb of Llandudno in Cape Town.

Kuruneri argued that he earned the money he used to buy the properties from consultancy work for Mobile Systems International and Felipe Solano, but prosecutors maintained that if one earns any money while resident in Zimbabwe, that money must be brought into the country.

It also emerged that Kuruneri had two passports, one a Canadian one and at the time dual citizenship was prohibited in Zimbabwe

After more than a year in remand prison and after 10 appeals for bail, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku released him on bail and he was later acquitted by the High Court in 2007.

During his incarceration, his lawyers revealed he was losing his battle with diabetes and his eyesight had been affected.

Despite his ordeal, Kuruneri remained loyal to Zanu PF and bounced back as MP for Mt Darwin East in 2013.

He collapsed in parliament in 2016, it is suspected from his battles with diabetes.

His first wife Titi Violet Palesa Mohapi, a Lesotho national he met in Toronto, Canada, died in 2014.

He later remarried and is believed to be survived by nine children.

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