President Tsvangirai today paid his condolences to the Chavunduka family at their Mt Pleasant home in Harare, following the death of senior MDC official, Professor Gordon Chavunduka.
Prof Chavunduka was 81 and died on Thursday at the Avenues Clinic after battling with cancer of the throat for the past two years. Prof Chavunduka is a founder member of the MDC and was the chairperson of the MDC Guardian Council.
President Tsvangirai described Prof Chavunduka as a pillar in the party. He added that the Guardian Council chairman was always available to give advice to the party leadership and ordinary members. "He was a man full of political wisdom and it is not only the Chavunduka family that is saddened by the death of Prof Chavunduka but the MDC family and the people of Zimbabwe as a whole," said President Tsvangirai.
The president said Prof Chavunduka's death is a blow to the party as it comes barely weeks after that of the MDC Secretary for Elections, Hon. Seiso Moyo who died last December. He said it was disheartening to note that cancer was killing thousands of people in the country.
"That is why as government we have decided to establish cancer centers in Harare and Bulawayo," said President Tsvangirai who is also the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
President Tsvangirai was accompanied by several senior MDC officials, ministers, MPs and councillors who included the National Organising Secretary; Hon. Nelson Chamisa, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Hon. Jameson Timba, the deputy minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Senator Obert Gutu, the deputy minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Gift Chimanikire and Harare provincial chairperson, Hon. Paul Madzore.
Prof Chavunduka was born on 16 August 1931 at St Augustines Mission in Penhalonga, Manicaland. He did his primary education at St Faith Mission in Makoni and Inanda Primary School in Durban, South Africa. He later went to Goromonzi High School before he enrolled at Alvord School of Agriculture in Chipinge to study agriculture.
After working for some years as an agricultural supervisor in Musengezi farming area, he resigned and joined the University of Rhodesia and Nyasaland where he worked under Professor Mitchell in the sociology department. He then did his "A" Levels through correspondence with the University of London. After completing his "A" Levels, Professor Chavunduka went to study for a degree in sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA in 1964.
He moved on to Manchester University in the United Kingdom for his Masters in Sociology in 1966 and between 1968 and 1972 he started working on his doctorate.
Prof Chavunduka later joined the University of Rhodesia as a lecturer in sociology, was a member of the University of Zimbabwe Senate, president of the UZ Lecturers' Union and a member of the Institute of Herbal Medicine of Southern Africa and served as the chairperson and dean of the Department of Sociology. He was also the president of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association.
Between 1992 and 1996 he was the Vice Chancellor of the UZ. After leaving the UZ he became a board member of several organisations in both industry and commerce including being a commissioner in the Public Service Commission and the Chairperson of the commercial sector affiliated to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
He joined active politics in June 1969 when he was elected President of the National People's Congress at Rusape Hall. The party was formed because there was a vacuum in politics which had been created when Zanu and Zapu were banned in 1964 and most of the political leaders arrested by the Smith regime. In 1977 Prof Chavunduka was arrested in Marondera on charges of making subversive statements at a rally.
He leaves behind a wife, Rachel and five children, Davis Themba, Gladys Tsitsi, Allyson, Michael Solomon and Thandiwe.
Prof Chavunduka will be buried on Tuesday at 2 pm at number 14 Farm in Dowa, Rusape.
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