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Chief who presided over Mbuya Nehanda statue unveiling dies, buried in Hurungwe 2 weeks after death

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

CHIEF Mudzimu, who died a fortnight ago and his passing on kept a closely guarded secret, was buried Thursday in Mudzimu area of Hurungwe in line with traditional burial customs.

The late chief is infamous for participating in the installation of the controversial Mbuya Nehanda statue in central Harare where he chanted incantations while on his knees.

Chief Mudzimu (83), born Joseph Mudzimu, died on July 2 after a short illness.

The late traditional leader has been described as a doyen of knowledge and wisdom in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa banked on for advise.

Chief Mudzimu was reportedly a regular visitor at State House where he interacted with the presidium, including Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.

Addressing mourners at the late chief’s burial in Hurungwe, Local Government minister, July Moyo said the chief’s passing left a void on the advisory council to the country’s presidency.

“Chief Mudzimu was a regular visitor at State House, he was one such chief who would meet the President on short notice, and we wouldn’t bother asking what the agenda was. He gave wise counsel to the President as well as Vice President. We have lost an advisor,” said Moyo.

Chief Mudzimu featured in the national trio of traditional leaders whose role was to coordinate cultural and traditional practices and championing both tangible and intangible heritage in Zimbabwe.

The trio comprised of Chief Mazungunye of Bikita and Chief Nyahuye waSvosve of Wedza, and the late Chief Mudzimu.

The Mudzimu chieftainship was restored in 2018 by Mnangagwa, 63 years after it was relegated to headmanship by the white minority regime.

Recommendations to upgrade Headman Mudzimu to chief were made following findings by a commission which found out that chief had previously presided over Chirundu and areas along the Zambezi Valley before being demoted for insubordination.

Mudzimu is one of the nine chieftainships in Hurungwe with others being; Chanetsa, Chundu, Dandawa, Dendera, Kazangarare, Mujinga, Nematombo and Nyamhunga.

The late Chief Mudzimu survived by two wives, nine children and eight grandchildren.