16 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Prof Chavunduka Laid to Rest

press release

The late Professor Gordon Chavunduka, the chairperson of the MDC Guardian Council was laid to rest at Number 14 Farm in Dowa, Makoni, Rusape yesterday. He was 81.

Addressing mourners at the burial, President Tsvangirai said the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe have lost a person who was always available to give guidance. "As the MDC we had reached a stage where we decided to form the Guardian Council that would give advice to the young members in the organisation and Prof Chavunduka was appointed its chairperson," said President Tsvangirai.

He said the late Prof Chavunduka played an instrumental role in engaging traditional leaders including spirit mediums on behalf of the party. Prof Chavunduka was the President and founder member of the Zimbabwe Traditional Healers' Association (Zinatha).

He was one of the founder members of the MDC, which was formed in 1999. After that, he held several positions including Secretary for National Healing and Reconciliation and Secretary for Traditional Leaders in the National Executive Committee.

In 2011, he was appointed the chairperson of the MDC Guardian Council.

Hon. Theresa Makone, the MDC Women's Assembly chairperson, who at one time was a student of the late Prof Chavunduka at the then University of Rhodesia, told mourners that the late Prof Chavunduka assisted her to flee from the country after the Smith regime wanted to arrest her for being one of the leaders in a students' strike over racial discrimination.

Prof Chavunduka facilitated a place for Hon. Makone at a university in the United Kingdom. The late Prof Chavunduka joined the then University of Rhodesia in 1966 after completing his Masters degree in Sociology at the University of Manchester in the UK. Between 1968 and 1972, he studied for his doctorate.

He rose through the ranks at the University of Zimbabwe culminating in his appointment as the Vice Chancellor between 1992 and 1996.

Prof Chavunduka is survived by his wife Rachel and five children, Davis Themba, Gladys Tsisti, Alice, Michael Solomon and Thandiwe.

President Tsvangirai was accompanied by the senior MDC leadership and government officials who included the MDC Vice President, Hon. Thokozani Khupe, national organising secretary, Hon. Nelson Chamisa, Mai Makone, the deputy minister of Media, Information and Communication, Hon. Murisi Zwizwai, the deputy minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Hon. Sessel Zvidzai.

Also present was the Chief for Makoni area; the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Japhet Moyo, Simba Makoni, senior officials from the UZ, academics, civic society and trade unions.

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