THE body of national hero Cde Kumbirai Kangai, who died in Harare last week, was flown back to the capital yesterday after being taken to his rural home in Buhera and the Manicaland provincial capital, Mutare, for his kith and kin to bid him farewell.The former Cabinet minister, who died at the age of 75, is expected to be buried at the National Heroes Acre today, bringing to three the number of national heroes interred at the national shrine this week.
Other national heroes buried this week are Cde Mike Karakadzai, who died in a car accident, and Cde Enos Nkala who succumbed to an ailment that affected his heart and kidneys.
In Buhera, mourners described Cde Kangai as an upright politician whose liberation credentials were beyond reproach.
Zanu-PF Manicaland provincial chairperson Ambassador John Mvundura said Cde Kangai sacrificed his life to liberate Zimbabwe from colonial bondage.
"We were together during the struggle and he sacrificed his life to liberate the country.
"We should draw comfort from the rich work of sacrifice left by Cde Kangai. He has completed his job and it is now left to us to carry out his legacy."
Ambassador Mvundura thanked the people of Buhera for voting resoundingly for the revolutionary party in the harmonised election on July 31.
"(Cde) Kangai was a leader of Zimbabwe," said Ambassador Mvundura.
"At the time of his death, he was a Politburo member and that is why I am saying he completed his job."
Manicaland Governor and Resident Minister Cde Chris Mushohwe said Cde Kangai was a pillar of the liberation struggle.
"He was a member of the Dare reChimurenga, but despite all that history, Cde Kangai was a humble person and a unifier," he said.
"The people of Buhera and Manicaland are privileged to have had a member of the Dare reChimurenga coming from this side."
Cde Kangai's body was welcomed with befitting honour by senior party officials at Ndyarima Primary School, where party supporters sang in his praise.
The body was then taken to his homestead near the school for the body viewing ceremony.
In Mutare, a sombre mood engulfed Mutare Hall yesterday afternoon when the body of Cde Kangai arrived in the afternoon from Buhera.
Addressing party supporters before body viewing, speakers described Cde Kangai as a humble leader.
Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Munacho Mutezo, who spoke on behalf of secretary for administration Cde Dydimus Mutasa, said Cde Kangai practised servant leadership.
"One thing that I loved most about Cde Kangai was that he was a truly humble leader," he said. "He actually practised what some might call servant leadership. He was a loving cadre."
Zanu-PF secretary for Women Affairs Cde Oppah Muchinguri said Cde Kangai was unlike today's "Young Turks" who have no respect for authority and protocol.
"We want to thank Cde Kangai for living an exemplary life," she said. "He remained steadfast to the principles of the party and respected the leadership of President Mugabe.
"I really want to thank Cde Kangai's wife for being there for her husband throughout the period her husband was not feeling well. She stood by her husband."
Cde Mvundura thanked the party leadership for conferring Cde Kangai with the national hero status.
"Until last Saturday, he was one of the living three members of the Dare reChimurenga," he said. "No wonder he was a source of political history knowledge for most of us."
Those present included Cde Kangai's elder brother Thomas, his widow Miriam, senior party officials from the province and service chiefs.
Cde Kangai's body arrived in Harare in the evening and was taken to his Glen Forest home in preparation for burial today.
Retired Major General Gibson Mashingaidze and other senior army officers led scores of Government officials, relatives, friends and Zanu-PF supporters to welcome the body at One Commando Barracks.
They broke into song and dance as Cde Kangai's body was being taken from a helicopter into a Doves Funeral Services hearse.
Cde Kangai was one of Zanu's founding members in 1963 and after independence he held various posts in Government.
He is survived by his wife Miriam, 12 children and several grand children.